Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” has been overwhelmingly panned by critics from the moment the movie review embargo was lifted. The Rotten Tomatoes website displays a 25% rating from critic reviews, with an even more disheartening 10% when results are filtered to include “top critics” only. Yet, the audience anticipation rating is 96%. So, where is the disconnect?
Some who disliked the film have made clever jokes about the plot being under water, or the movie being all wet. And while many would summarize “The Lone Ranger” as “Pirates of the Caribbean” on horses, that’s a comparison that should be doled out as a compliment. Johnny Depp has made a living off quirky characters like Jack Sparrow, of which “The Lone Ranger’s” Tonto is undeniably reminsicent. On top of that, the “Pirates” formula propagated by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski has been overwhelmingly successful for Disney — to the tune of billions of dollars grossed worldwide.
Some reviewers have taken specific issue with Verbinski’s depiction of Native Americans and Depp’s portrayal of Tonto, going so far as to call the film racist. But Depp and his co-star, Armie Hammer, along with others involved in the production eagerly refute the racism claims.
Critics were less than kind to Disney’s last theatrical release, Pixar’s “Monsters University,” but the “Monsters, Inc.” prequel blew the roof off the box office — holding on to the No. 1 position it’s first two weeks out, and leaving the likes of “World War Z” and “White House Down” in the dust.
The bottom line is, film critics can say what they want, but it’s moviegoers who determine the success of a theatrical release. And the competition at the holiday box office is not exactly stiff. Opening Wednesday (July 3) opposite “The Lone Ranger” is the animated sequel “Despicable Me 2” (Universal) and the not so kid-friendly “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” (Summit). The weekend will see releases of indie darling “The Way, Way Back” (Fox Searchlight) and the dramedy “Stuck in Love” (Millenium), starring Kristen Bell and Lily Collins.
So, will negative reviews keep movie fans away from “The Lone Ranger” on Independence Day? You probably shouldn’t bet on it. Tell us: Which movie will you be seeing this holiday weekend?