Is there anything more 21st century than playing the blame game? With Disney's The Lone Ranger, that of the confusing mish-mash of genres and ponderous budget, completely bombing in theaters, everyone involved is scrambling to point the finger at those responsible for the failure. And, as it so often happens, no one is pointing at himself.
Such is the case with the main stars and helmers of the colossal bomb, with already having jabbed at critics of the film in previous interviews:
I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore (Verbinski) and Jerry (Bruckheimer) 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.
I'll say now what I said the first time I wrote about this: Oh, please. You don't make a movie with a $250 million dollar budget and not have expectations it should (and desperately needs to) do well.
But now that Hollywood big gun Depp has spoken out, co-star has been feeling emboldened enough to jump on the blame train, too, according to Variety:
This is the deal with American critics: they've been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time [due to budget concerns]. That's when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews.
They tried to do the same thing with 'World War Z'. It didn't work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie.
Oh, Armie, Armie, Armie. I know you are just coming off your first starring role and you're feeling like you can wear the big boy pants now, but you want to tread lightly. The film you were expected to carry with Depp was a monumental flop, and you're not at the point yet in your career where you're untouchable. Until you can command the kind of money that your co-star does, you haven't arrived, and you're not impervious to building up a bad rep in Hollywood that can dog you.
But it wasn't just the stars who have spoken out to blame critics. In a recent interview with Yahoo U.K.-Ireland, producer also pointed a finger at critics who supposedly wanted the movie to fail:
I think they were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie. The audience doesn't care what the budget is — they pay the same amount if it costs a dollar or 20 million dollars.
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.
Here's the thing: They can blame the critics all the want for the film's failure, but Hammer's own words underscore the fallacy at the heart of their argument: He's right. World War Z also got the same pre-release beat-down from critics, yet it went on to gross a respectable amount domestically and basically make its budget back, with the big haul it made internationally just icing on the cake. Why? Because, despite a weak third act, the movie was excellent at points and solid throughout the rest. It generated good buzz after its release and got great word-of-mouth reviews, prompting more moviegoers to see it.
The Lone Ranger, on the other hand, had no such positive reviews. The stars' blame of the critics somewhat insults the public: We could see with our own eyeballs from the very first trailer that, well, it just didn't seem to be that good. Was it a comedy? Was it action? Oh, look, Johnny Depp in more black and white face paint, playing a wacky character; haven't we seen this before? And who the hell cared about The Lone Ranger as a character, anyway?
Just once, I'd really like someone involved with a film to come right out and say, "You know what? You're right. This was a complete disaster, and that's my/our fault. Sorry, guys. I promise to tweak things and do better next time." That would really be a conversation worth having. Until then, it's situation normal in Tinsel Town.
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