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After 'Lone Ranger,' Disney may not be willing to take risks

July 09, 2013

As Walt Disney Studio's "The Lone Ranger" limps off into the sunset after a bruising box-office encounter with the minions of "Despicable Me 2," it could be years before the studio gambles on a character unfamiliar to young moviegoers.

The new take on the masked lawman and his sidekick Tonto, which cost Disney more than $225 million to produce, brought in just $48.7 million at the box office over the five-day holiday weekend and could result in a write-down of $100-$190 million for the studio, according to analysts.

Though it is hardly the first expensive star-driven film to bomb this moviegoing season — Will Smith's "After Earth" and Channing Tatum's "White House Down" both preceded it down that path — the Johnny Depp western offers a cautionary tale about what happens when costs rise as an audience's interest wanes.


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