Walt Disney Studios is having a tough year. With the $250 million dollar bomb called The Lone Ranger sitting on its books, that is a lot of red ink to sort through. Now, you could look on the bright side and say that the movie grossed $230 million worldwide. And sure, that mitigates some of the loss, but once marketing, and pony tours, and ranch visits for the press and everything else is accounted for, you're still looking at a write-down loss of over $100 million dollars.
In a day and age when the stock market tanks simply because of what it thinks investors might do, the bean counters at the Mouse House cannot be happy. At all. Sadly, this might not be the only huge flop it has to contend with in coming months.
On August 1st of 2014, it will be releasing Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, this is a Marvel property, so it at least has somewhat of a buffer wedged in front of it. On the surface, people seem to like superhero movies. In fact, all of this Man of Steel 2 business, with the 'should or shouldn't Ben Affleck play Batman' talk, seems to have brought interest in these sorts of films to a fever pitch. However, unlike a lot of other successful superhero movies, the characters in Guardians are not household names. By a long shot. Sure it's got a solid cast with the likes of Zoe Saldana, Benicio Del Toro and John C. Reilly, but none of them guarantees a big opening weekend or a lengthy run. Worst of all, it faces the exact same kind of challenges John Carter did, both marketing and audience wise. The fanboys can scream as loudly and as long as they want about how awesome the Comic-Con footage was. People in middle America don't care about those hazelnuts. John Carter was a substantial flop, and that doesn't bode well for our heroes this time out.
Also, August 2014 is still a year away...
In today's market, movies live and die by what they do during their initial 72 hours of release. Disney is known for releasing films that get people into the theaters. Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this company has been a veritable cash cow. Sure, there have been ups and downs, but in today's market, with so many factors to contend with (marketing, the internet, weather conditions, scandals, etc.) a great movie can be somewhat successful and still fail miserably at the box office. Marking it as a bomb forever.
With all these factors in mind, and such a storied history behind it, we decided to look at "The Top Five Biggest Disney Flops" of the past few summers. Maybe we can rally around these movies, figure out what went wrong, and save Guardians of the Galaxy from the same sort of fate!
1The Lone Ranger (2013) (Cost $215m)
Domestic: $88m, International: $142m
This movie looked like a sure thing. Johnny Depp teaming up with Gore Verbinski again, the same team behind the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise, successfully launched in 2003? That's a slam dunk, right? The thinking seemed to be that, perhaps, they could do for the western what they had done for the pirate movie (each one of those grossed a billion or close to it, right?). Sadly this was not to be the case, as The Lone Ranger movie never caught on with audiences. Making only $87 million in the United States it fared a bit better overseas with a haul of $142 million. Let us not forget that perhaps a lot of this films "sins" can be glossed over with a healthy home video run. That market may be fragmented, but with the proliferation of Smart TVs and home theater systems, it stands to reason that The Lone Ranger could make back a bit more coin. The big question is how much can it afford to spend more money in order to do so? The simple fact of the matter is, people aren't in the mood for Westerns. Its a niche market better served by low budget affairs. Like Disney's 2003 classic Open Range.
Did we miss any? What other flops would you like us to write about it? Do you ever wonder how these companies keep making films after losing so much money? Let us know!