March, 2011. Mars Needs Moms flops so hard that Disney shuts down its motion capture division.
March, 2012. John Carter (which was “of Mars”, until see previous note) tanks so badly that it costs the company over $100 million.
July, 2013. Well, it’s a different month, but the news is just as bad. The Lone Ranger is doing as badly as John Carter did. Over the five-day holiday weekend, the expensive blockbuster took in under $50 million, while cartoon competition sequel Despicable Me 2 took in over $140 million (which was the biggest five-day animated opening ever). Lone Ranger cost at least $375 million when you add together production and marketing costs, and that’s after it shut down during filming to restructure and reduce expenses.
Why did it crash? Everyone has their favorite explanation, whether it’s bad reviews (although viewers liked it more than critics), conflicting tone within the film, little interest in a 1930s Western property, too much crazy Johnny Depp with a bird on his head, audiences tired of Jerry Bruckheimer productions… with so many problems, maybe that explains the failure.
At least Disney has the acquired Star Wars properties, the Muppets, Pixar, and all the mighty Marvel heroes to drive sales. And let’s not forget the princesses! Those are home-grown (although stemming from stories by others).