By Treye Green
Walt Disney predicts it will lose between $160 million and $190 million on the theatrical flop "The Lone Ranger."
"The Lone Ranger," released July 3, managed to earn only $29 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales during its first weekend. The film's total budget was reported to be $215 million. On Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said in a conference call that the loss will be recorded for the quarter ending in September, Reuters reports.
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) still managed to outperform Wall Street predictions for its quarterly profits Tuesday, reporting a small gain. "The Lone Ranger" was released on July 3, pulling in only $29 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales during its first weekend. The film's total budget was $215 million, reports Digital Spy.
"There has been a lot said, I know, about the risk of basically high-cost, tentpole films," Disney CEO Bob Iger said, "and we certainly can attest to that given what happened with 'Lone Ranger.'"
"We still think the tentpole strategy is a good strategy," he said. "That one way to rise above the din and the competition is with a big film, not just big budget, but big story, big cast, big marketing behind it."
Actor Johnny Depp blamed movie critics for tainting viewers expectations for the film.
"I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film," Depp told Yahoo Movies UK. "I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinski, director] and Jerry [Bruckheimer, producer] and me were going to do 'The Lone Ranger.' They had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I didn't have any expectations of that. I never do."
Operating income at Disney's film studio decreased by 36 percent for the quarter ending in June. But overall, net income for the quarter increased by 1 percent to $1.85 billion. Increases in operating income were also seen at Disney's theme parks and the company's media networks division.
The 8 percent increase in income to $2.3 million at the media networks division was aided by a rise in fees and advertising revenue at ESPN.
The company posted quarterly earnings of $1.03 a share over an expected earning of $1.01 a share. During the same period last year, Disney earned $1.01 earnings per share on $11.1 billion revenue, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Disney shares fell to $65.78, down 1.9 percent, in after-hours trading Tuesday.