3

'Lone Ranger' is just one of summer's busts

Rider and Horse attends the UK Premiere of 'The Lone Ranger' at Odeon Leicester Square on July 21, 2013 in London, England.

Studios were mostly disappointed with their box office draw this past weekend.

But could all this low turnout be blamed on audience fatigue?

“We are finally maybe getting fat on these high-calorie, high-cholesterol summer movies and we sort of are reaching for the less fattening version of a summer movie," says Wesley Morris, film critic at Grantland. "That’s how 'The Conjuring' winds up being your number one box office hit this weekend.”

“The Conjuring” is a horror film that grossed over $47 million on its opening weekend. Morris says horror films have always been popular “but it’s rare that a horror movie opens in the middle of summer and it’s rare that it make more money” than movies with bigger budgets and a bigger marketing push.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Log in to post3 Comments

I will agree with the other two commentators as well as Kai's guest and I will add this: Movie studios aren't helping themselves very much.

For the past decade at least, Hollywood has had an obsession in creating franchises, not compelling dramas, thought-provoking documentaries, or genuine artful cinema. What's more - they tend to copy each other. It's almost like one studio sees success in a particular genre - then everyone else has to follow suit. No one is willing to create something different. That's why we see so many superhero movies - from Batman and Superman to X-Men, Iron Man, SpiderMan, Transformers, even Hellboy got a feature film. (let's be honest, The Lone Ranger would have NEVER been made if these other hero movies flopped). I love live-action superhero films but even I'm tapped out.

So, yea, the movies do all look like because they are. My favorite movie I've watched recently was Argo. Loved it, but most marketing dollars went to the high-budget films.

I do feel that movies this summer are "variations on a theme." You add in netflix, redbox, and the bigger and better TV's out there and people would just rather stay home.

So I have listened to this film critic on several of your episodes now, and I think he is missing a great deal of the fundementals of the movie going audience as well as romanticizing the movie past. 1) it is EXPENSIVE to go to the movies now. I live in New York, and even going into Westchester or New Jersey, it still can cost nearly $30 for 2 adults to goto the movies, not to mention concessions or a meal to go with the night out, we now wait for most movies to come out on dvd/iTunes. 2) He has cheered movies with no central stars, but teams/buddy pairs, or animated stars. Well this by no means is new, X-Men franchise which started around a decade ago, the Lethal Weapon series, showcased budies and group casts but it extends to more than those. Admitedly the animated "stars" like in Transformers are only now of a quality worth watching, but the acting in the series, and especially in Pacific Rim have been dreadful. 3) There has been a long history of overhyped summer movies that have flopped, we have a short memory, and remember the great successes (See Bathman and Robin from 1997). We have known the costs of movies, but that has failed to drive people to the theaters, it has been about getting a story and characters viewers want to watch. The Lone Ranger, it should be pointed out, has terrible reviews mixed with an offensive depiction of native americans, it's hard to see why it could be a blockbuster. 4) finally, with the growth of mobile devices and new means of watching movies/television shows, going to the theater is expensive and requires a lot of work, but digital copies of movies on an ipad/tablet/smartphone have made viewing a different experience.

With Generous Support From...