Produced for nearly $250 million, the film grossed just $29.4 million in its first three-day weekend. Since the Johnny Depp movie premiered July 3, it has earned $48.9 million.
Westerns typically have a limited audience in the box office, and reviewers warned parents not to take their children because of violence in the film. Depp cast himself as Tonto, and has been accused of "race-bending" to fit the Cherokee role. Another critic said "The Lone Ranger" portrays Christians as "hateful or flat-out hypocritically evil." The film also had few trailers and limited marketing.
The odds were stacked against it, and the movie has been a flop. Reviewers have said they thought Disney was pushing for a variation on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, which was a risk 10 years ago when the last one came out.
But "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" cost $140 million in 2003 -- expensive for the time, but still less money than Disney invested in "The Lone Ranger."
One of the few critics that like the film -- out of only 25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes -- said "The Lone Ranger" failed because the producers wasted money.
"There’s a clinical term that describes people who keep on making the same mistakes and expecting different results, right? Oh yeah, it’s 'crazy,'" said Salon's Andrew O'Hehir.
The film has a chance to make up a little more of the cost overseas, but is unlikely to recoup the money spent to produce it.