Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer are placing the blame for The Lone Ranger's poor box office performance directly on U.S. movie critics. After the Disney action filmed earned less that $30 million in its opening weekend in July, the stars have been defending their flick as it opens internationally. In an new interview with Yahoo U.K., Depp, Hammer and producer Jerry Bruckheimer explain at length why they feel critics had it in for the movie before they even saw it.
"I think the reviews were probably written when they heard that [director] Gore [Verbinski] and Jerry and I were going to do The Lone Ranger," said Depp, 50, who plays Tonto in the film. "Their expectations of it that it must be a blockbuster, this and that . . . I didn't have any expectations of that. I never do, why would I? The expectations of the American press . . . I think the reviews were written seven or eight months even before we ever released the film."
Hammer gave a slight hesitation to share his "delightful" opinion on the subject -- for fear that his publicist would be angry with him -- but decided to go ahead anyway.
"This is the deal with American critics, they've been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time. And I think that's probably when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews," explained Hammer, 26, who stars as the Lone Ranger. "If you go back and read a lot of the negative reviews, most of them don't actually have anything to do with the content of the movie but more what's behind it. It's gotten to an unfortunate place with American critics where if you're not as smart as Plato, you're stupid. And that seems like a very sad way to have to live your life."
(The Lone Ranger was temporarily halted in August 2011 for two months while the budget was reduced.)
And Bruckheimer believes that critics were focusing too much on the estimated $250 million production cost. "I think they were reviewing the budget and not reviewing the movie," the producer argued. "The audience doesn't care what the budget is. They pay the same amount to see the movie whether it costs $1 or $20 million, so I don't think that matters."