The Lone Ranger (2013 film)
|The Lone Ranger|
North American release poster
|Directed by||Gore Verbinski|
|Produced by||Jerry Bruckheimer
|Screenplay by||Justin Haythe
|Story by||Ted Elliott
|Based on||Lone Ranger
James Badge Dale
Helena Bonham Carter
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Editing by||James Haygood
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Running time||149 minutes|
The Lone Ranger is a 2013 American western action film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films and directed by Gore Verbinski. Based on the radio series of the same name, the film stars Johnny Depp as Tonto, the narrator of the events, and Armie Hammer as John Reid (The Lone Ranger). It relates Tonto's memories of the duo's earliest efforts to subdue the immoral actions of the corrupt and bring justice in the American Old West. William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, Ruth Wilson, James Badge Dale, Tom Wilkinson and Helena Bonham Carter also are featured in supporting roles. The film marks the first theatrical film featuring the Lone Ranger and Tonto characters in more than 32 years.
Filming was plagued with production problems and budgetary concerns, which at one point led to the film's premature cancellation. The Lone Ranger was released theatrically in the United States on July 3, 2013. The film received mixed to negative reviews and was a commercial failure, grossing $260 million worldwide against an estimated $225 million production budget plus an additional $150 million marketing budget.
At a sideshow in a San Francisco fair in 1933, a boy, Will, who idolizes a legend known as the Lone Ranger, encounters Tonto, an elderly Comanche Native American Indian, who proceeds to recount his experiences with the Old West adventurer.
In Colby, Texas on March 18, 1869, lawyer John Reid returns home via the uncompleted Transcontinental Railroad, managed by railroad tycoon Latham Cole. Unknown to Reid, the train is also carrying Tonto and outlaw Butch Cavendish, who is being transported for his hanging after being captured by Dan Reid, John's Texas Ranger brother. Cavendish's gang rescues Butch and derails the train. Tonto is jailed and Dan deputizes John as a Texas Ranger, and with six others, they go after the Cavendish gang.
Cavendish's men ambush and kill their pursuers in a canyon and Cavendish cuts out and eats Dan's heart. Tonto, who has escaped from jail, comes across the dead men and buries them. However, a white spirit horse awakens John as a "spirit walker", and Tonto explains John cannot be killed in battle. Tonto also tells him Collins, one of the Rangers, betrayed Dan and is working with Cavendish, whom Tonto believes is a "wendigo". As John is thought to be dead, he wears a mask to protect his identity from his enemies. Tonto gives John a silver bullet made from the fallen Rangers' badges and tells him to use it on Cavendish.
At a brothel Collins recently visited, Red Harrington informs them about Dan and Collins' fight over a cursed silver rock. Meanwhile, Cavendish's men, disguised as Comanches, raid frontier settlements. John and Tonto arrive after raiders abduct Dan's widow and son, Rebecca and Danny. Regretting his earlier actions, Collins attempts to help Rebecca and Danny escape but is shot dead by Cole, who rescues them. Claiming the raiders are hostile Comanches, Cole announces the continued construction of the railroad and dispatches United States Cavalry Captain Jay Fuller to exterminate the Comanche.
A Comanche tribe captures John and Tonto soon after the pair finds railroad tracks in Indian territory. The tribe leader tells John of Tonto's past: As a boy, Tonto had rescued Cavendish and Cole from near-death and showed them the location of a silver mine, in exchange for a pocket watch. The men murdered the tribe to keep the mine a secret, leaving Tonto with great guilt making himself believe that the men were possessed by evil spirits within the silver and vowed to find and kill them both.
Tonto and John escape as the cavalry attack the Comanche. At the silver mine, they capture Cavendish after killing his men. Tonto demands that John use the silver bullet to kill Cavendish, but John refuses and tells Tonto what the Comanche chief told him. Tonto attempts to kill Cavendish, but John knocks him unconscious and brings in Cavendish alive. Upon returning Cavendish to Cole and Fuller's custody, Cole's role in the silver mining operation is revealed. Fearing that if his actions are publicly revealed he'll be charged as a war criminal, Fuller sides with Cole. Rebecca and Danny are held hostage, and John is taken back to the silver mine to be executed. However, Tonto rescues him and the two flee as the Comanche attack and are massacred by the cavalry. Realizing that Cole is too powerful to be taken down lawfully, John dons the mask again.
At the site of the union of the Transcontinental Railroad, Cole reveals his true plan; to take complete control of the railroad company and use the mined silver to gain more power. John and Tonto rob a bank to steal nitroglycerin and use it to destroy a railroad bridge. With Red's help, Tonto steals the train with the silver, and Cole, Cavendish and Fuller pursue him in a second train on which Rebecca and Danny are being held captive. Riding the horse, John pursues both trains. After a furious chase and fights on both trains, Cavendish is killed while Fuller jumps off the train and Rebecca and Danny are rescued. Tonto confronts Cole and reveals himself by returning the watch he traded years ago, leaving Cole to drown buried beneath the silver ore after the train plunges off the severed bridge into the river below.
The town and railroad enterprise recognize John (whose identity is still unknown to them) as a hero and offer him a law-enforcement position. John declines and rides off with Tonto. Back in 1933, Will questions the truth of the tale. Before departing, Tonto gives him a silver bullet and tells him to decide for himself. Will puts his mask on and glances back toward the tent where Tonto stood, only to see a crow fly there.
A credits scene shows an elderly Tonto wearing a suit and carrying a suitcase walking through a canyon.
- Johnny Depp as Tonto, the aged narrator of the events of his life as a Comanche Indian who recruited John Reid to bring justice to those responsible for massacring his tribe during his childhood, and terrorizing frontier Texas settlements during the 1800s. The character wears black-and-white face paint and a deceased crow on his head.
- Joseph E. Foy portrays Tonto as a child.
- Armie Hammer as John Reid, originally a morally scrupulous lawyer, later deputized a Texas Ranger, who protects his identity as "The Lone Ranger", a masked vigilante who seeks the perpetrators responsible for his brother's death.
- William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish, a ruthless and cannibalistic outlaw, who Tonto believes is a wendigo. Travis Hammer portrays the younger Butch seen in flashbacks.
- Tom Wilkinson as Latham Cole, a burly and unscruplous railroad tycoon. Steve Corona portrays the younger Cole seen in flashbacks.
- Ruth Wilson as Rebecca Reid, Dan's wife (later widow) and John's love interest/sister-in-law.
- Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington, an ivory-legged brothel madam who assists Reid and Tonto.
- James Badge Dale as Dan Reid, John's older brother who is killed by Cavendish.
- Bryant Prince as Danny Reid, Rebecca and Dan's son, John's nephew.
- Barry Pepper as Captain Jay Fuller, a corrupted United States Cavalry officer.
- Mason Cook as Will, a young boy living in 1930s San Francisco.
- J D Cullum as Wendell.
- Saginaw Grant as Chief Big Bear, leader of the Comanche.
- Harry Treadaway as Frank, a member of Butch's gang.
- James Frain as Barret, one of Cole's industry foremen.
- Joaquín Cosío as Jesús, another member of Butch's gang.
- Damon Herriman as Ray, another member of Butch's gang.
- Lew Temple as Hollis, a Deputy Ranger.
- Leon Rippy as Collins, a traitorous Deputy Ranger secretly working with Butch.
- Stephen Root as Habberman, president of the Transcontinental Railroad Company.
In January 2007, The Weinstein Company and its home-video division Genius Products planned to partner with the UK-based Entertainment Rights on a deal for home-video, digital, and video-game distribution of properties from Classic Media, which Entertainment Rights had just announced a deal to acquire. Under the plan, Genius would distribute six to twelve Entertainment Rights / Classic Media properties annually on home media. The Lone Ranger was among those Classic Media properties. Instead, in April 2009, Boomerang Media bought out Entertainment Rights' holdings, including Classic Media, which was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed as DreamWorks Classics.
While ownership of the Lone Ranger property was shifting ambiguously, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Entertainment Rights by May 2007 had set the film up at Walt Disney Pictures as Lone Ranger, under the leadership of then studio chairman Dick Cook. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who had worked with Bruckheimer and Disney on the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, were being considered to write the script, and entered final negotiation in March 2008. Disney then announced in September 2008 that Johnny Depp would be portraying Tonto.
The Elliot/Rossio script had a supernatural tone, including a plot element involving werewolves, and subsequently was rewritten by Justin Haythe. In May 2009, Mike Newell, who was then directing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for Bruckheimer and Disney, entered negotiations to direct Lone Ranger. However, Bruckheimer explained the following June that he wanted to wait before hiring a director, until Newell completed Prince of Persia, and until Depp finished filming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. "The priority is most definitely Pirates 4," Bruckheimer commented. "They are going to cast the title role once they get a director and Disney greenlights. We don't have a director yet." In September of 2010, Gore Verbinski was hired to direct. Verbinski had suggested giving the role of Tonto to Depp while filming the second Pirates of the Caribbean film. Filming was slated to begin after Depp finished work on Dark Shadows. Actor Armie Hammer was selected to play the Lone Ranger, a role that Bruckheimer described as being written for "a young Jimmy Stewart character".
On August 12, 2011, Disney announced that production on The Lone Ranger would be delayed due to budget concerns expressed by CEO Bob Iger and then studio chairman Rich Ross. The studio and production team constrained the film's allocated budget, with Verbinski, Bruckheimer, Depp, and Hammer, equally deferring 20% of their salaries to minimize the overall cost. After addressing the project's production problems in October 2011, Disney confirmed that the film was back on track after the budget was reworked to give the studio a chance to recoup its costs. Initially, filming was reported to begin on February 6, 2012, for a projected release date of May 31, 2013, which subsequently was moved to the Fourth of July weekend of that same year.
Principal photography began on March 8, 2012, and soon after the first photograph of Depp as Tonto and Hammer as the Lone Ranger was released. Filming locations extended throughout six states: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California. Some filming occurred specifically near Creede, Colorado, in June 2012; Moab, Utah, in July 2012; and Cimarron Canyon State Park in August. Second unit (stunt and blue screen) work commenced in late September 2012 in the parking lot of Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia, California.
The film was shot in the anamorphic format, with cinematographer Bojan Bazelli using Panavision C- and G-Series lenses. Daytime exteriors—about 70 percent of the film—were shot on Kodak VISION3 50D 5203 35 mm film with Panavision Panaflex Platinum and Arriflex 435 cameras; interiors and nighttime exteriors were shot digitally with Arri Alexa Studio cameras.
The shoot met with several problems including inclement weather, wildfires, a chickenpox outbreak, and the death of crew member Michael Andrew Bridger on September 21, 2012. Bridger, a water safety expert, died while working inside a large water tank. Several cast members had to receive formal training on horseback riding, gunslinging, and lassoing.
In April 2012, it was announced that Jack White was hired to compose the score for the film. White later declined to work on the film's music, however, citing scheduling conflicts and he was replaced with Hans Zimmer in December 2012. In March 2013, Michael Einziger tweeted that he was working with Zimmer on the score.
As a result of the production setbacks, The Lone Ranger faced numerous shifts in release dates. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures initially scheduled the film for a mid-2011 release date, but Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides replaced it, because the latter was considered a priority for the studio and, because The Lone Ranger did not have a director. After Gore Verbinski signed for director, The Lone Ranger's release date was moved to December 21, 2012. Budget concerns and negotiations resulted in a production delay, however, so the release date was pushed to May 31, 2013. By mid-2012, DreamWorks' Robopocalypse was facing its own production delays and could not meet its July 3, 2013 release date. Therefore, Disney had The Lone Ranger assume its place for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The first trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con and theatrically on October 3, 2012. Television promotions for the film aired during Super Bowl XLVII. Disney used the film's production connection to the Pirates of the Caribbean series as the main tagline in the film's marketing, as well as featuring the film's two main characters in promotional materials for Disney Infinity.
The Lone Ranger was selected as the closing film for the Taormina Film Festival. Its world premiere was held on June 22 at the Hyperion Theater in the Hollywood Land district of Disney California Adventure, with proceeds being donated to the American Indian College Fund.
The film grossed $89,302,115 in the United States and $171,200,000 in other countries for a worldwide total of $260,502,115.
Preliminary reports had the film tracking for a $60–$70 million debut in North America. The film earned $2 million from late showings on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 and $9.67 million on its opening day, July 4. During its opening weekend, the film debuted in second place with $29.3 million over three days and $48.9 million over the five-day frame.
After under-performing during its opening weekend, the film was characterized by numerous media sources as a box office flop with many observers comparing it unfavorably to John Carter, a big-budgeted Disney film that failed commercially the year before. The New York Times estimated that the film cost $375 million to produce and market, and would need to earn an estimated $650 million worldwide to break even, after accounting for revenue splits with theater owners. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the losses from the film could surpass $150 million, with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures vice-president Dave Hollis calling these results "very disappointing".
Compared to Despicable Me 2, a film that opened the same weekend to $142.1 million on a $76 million budget, The Wall Street Journal noted that The Lone Ranger made just under a third of that ($48.9 million) and had more than three times the budget ($215 million).
In what may turn out to be the sign of a marketing misjudgment, according to Disney's own numbers, 68% of ticket buyers were over 25 years old and nearly 25% over 50 years old, a much higher percentage than is typical for the studio. Disney viewed the film's international performance ($24.3 million from 24 markets), including that of Russia and Australia, as "softer than we would have liked."
The New York Times and USA Today noted that The Lone Ranger joined a string of high-concept Western films that failed at the box office, including 1999's Wild Wild West, which cost $170 million but grossed $114 million, 2011's Cowboys & Aliens, which cost $160 million, but grossed $100 million, and 2010's Jonah Hex, which earned less than $11 million on a budget of $47 million. Phil Contrino, chief analyst for Boxoffice described the film's box office performance as "the kind of bomb that people discuss for years to come" due to its use of otherwise successful director, producer, and stars. Alan Horn, current Walt Disney Studios chairman, has admitted the financial risk the studio faced with the film. Jay Rasulo, Disney CFO, expects to attribute a loss of $160–190 million in the company's Studio Entertainment division during the fourth fiscal quarter.
The Lone Ranger has received mixed to negative reviews from critics in the United States, with a 31% rating on the film-critic aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 214 reviews. The site's consensus says, "Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp make for an appealing pair of leads, but they're not enough to make up for The Lone Ranger's bland script, bloated length, and blaring action overkill." The film holds a score of 37 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 45 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle called it "a jumbled botch that is so confused in its purpose and so charmless in its effect that it must be seen to be believed, but better yet, no. Don't see it, don't believe it." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post was equally scathing, calling it a "bloated, misshapen mess, a stillborn franchise loaded with metaphors for its feeble attempts to amuse, excite and entertain." Charlie McCollum of the San Jose Mercury News said, "In the end, The Lone Ranger is one hot mess—an entertaining one, to be sure, but still a mess." Tim Walker of The Independent gave a mixed review, praising Gore Verbinski for "employ[ing] the Old West to good effect, with gorgeous widescreen vistas that owe everything to Sergio Leone and John Ford." However, he added, "it takes a full hour for Reid to don his mask, and then there’s another 80 unremarkable minutes to go."
Among some of the positive reviews, James Verniere of the Boston Herald said, "The film, part spoof, part pastiche, is chockablock with violent incident, spectacular settings, Buster Keaton-esque action and colorful characters out of spaghetti Westerns of yore." Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com called it "an ambitious and inventive film that’s always trying to tweak formula and play with audience expectations. If anything, it’s overstuffed with imagination and ideas...." Jon Niccum of the Kansas City Star states, "The movie takes a more old-fashioned approach to thrills. It appears to showcase as many stuntmen as it does digital compositors." Mark Hughes of Forbes, analyzing what he felt was a "flop-hungry" press desiring to "control the narrative and render the outcome they insisted was unavoidable" for a highly expensive movie with much-publicized production troubles, found the film "about a hundred times better than you think it is ... [a] well-written, well-acted, superbly directed adventure story. It's a wonderful movie!"
Outside the U.S., the film received mixed to positive reviews. Angie Errigo of the British film magazine Empire gave it four of five stars, finding "[r]eal storytelling, well thought-out and beautifully, at times insanely, executed, with excitement, laughs and fun to make you feel seven years old again." Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph gave the film three stars out of five saying, "Verbinski shows more ambition here than he did in Pirates of the Caribbean." He added, "[I]n a sane world this would never have been made, although I’m really rather glad someone did." A second critic for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab said the film was "not as bad as American critics suggest." He also gave the film three stars and added, "Helena Bonham Carter is good value as a brothel madam." However he adds that it is filled with "too many stunts and leaden moments of slapstick", but it "occasionally takes wing". Frank Lovece, writing for Film Journal International, addressed critics' concerns over the film's tone by pointing out, "[T]he movie is told in flashback from the perspective of a wizened, quite eccentric character — the working definition of the film-school trope 'the unreliable narrator.' ... Whatever really happened out on the frontier, this is the story as Tonto remembers it, animist mysticism and all."
Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, Armie Hammer, and Johnny Depp have openly criticized American film critics for their reviews on The Lone Ranger in an interview with Yahoo Movies UK, with Depp saying "the reviews were written 7-8 months before we released the film." Bruckheimer felt that the film was overlooked and that critics "were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie." Hammer stated; "[T]hey've been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time, that's when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews." He also added that, "If you go back and read the negative reviews, most of them aren't about the content of the movie, but more what's behind it. They tried to do the same thing with to World War Z, it didn't work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie." 
Besides negative reviews, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has named the film as one of the ten best he has seen, so far, this year. He explained why to defend his decision from naysayers: "The first forty-five minutes are excellent…the next forty-five minutes are a little soporific. It was a bad idea to split the bad guys in two groups; it takes hours to explain and nobody cares. Then comes the train scene—incredible! When I saw it, I kept thinking, ‘What, that’s the film that everybody says is crap? Seriously?’"
Despite the producers citing the presence of an adviser from the Comanche Nation, some debated the advisability of casting of Depp as a Native American and whether the film would present a positive and accurate representation of the Comanche. Depp has stated he believes he has Native American ancestry, possibly from a great-grandmother. He has said that he considered the role a personal attempt "to try to right the wrongs of the past", in reference to portrayals of Native American culture in the media.
Todd McDaniels, a linguist at the Comanche Nation College, commented favorably on Depp's attempts to speak the Comanche language, which has 25 to 30 living native speakers. “The words were there, the pronunciation was shaky, but adequate."
|2013||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Chemistry||Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer||Nominated|
|Choice Summer Movie Star: Male||Johnny Depp||Nominated|
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