Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have spoken out for the first time since mega-budget Western “The Lone Ranger” crumbled at the global box office, blaming U.S. critics for one of the biggest Hollywood trainwrecks of the year.
“I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film,” Depp proclaims in a new interview.
Disney’s costly feature, which could lose as much as $190 million, never stood a chance of succeeding because of overtly negative press, according to the Oscar-nominated actor.
“I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore (Verbinski) and Jerry (Bruckheimer) and me were going to do ‘The Lone Ranger’,” Depp said. “They had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I didn’t have any expectations of that. I never do.”
Bruckheimer, who made millions off the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise with Depp, agreed when it came to the press’ coverage.
“I think they were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie, ” Bruckheimer told Yahoo U.K.-Ireland. “The audience doesn’t care what the budget is — they pay the same amount if it costs a dollar or 20 million dollars.”
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“It’s unfortunate because the movie is a terrific movie, it’s a great epic film. It has lots of humor. Its one of those movies that whatever critics missed in it this time, they’ll review it in a few years and see that they made a mistake.”
Depp’s co-star, Armie Hammer, who played the title character in the $250 million film, echoed their sentiments.
“This is the deal with American critics: they’ve been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time,” Hammer said, “That’s when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews.”
The 26 year-old actor was referring the summer of 2011 when Disney, just weeks before the film was supposed to originally shoot, pulled the plug in order to trim the movie’s steep budget. The studio ultimately greenlit “Lone Ranger” after the three principals, Depp, Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, agreed to take a pay cut.
“They tried to do the same thing with ‘World War Z’,” Hammer said of the critical backlash.”It didn’t work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie.”
As of Aug. 3, “The Lone Ranger” has grossed $86 million at the U.S. box office with a 28% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.
“The Lone Ranger” opens in the U.K. on Friday.