The outlook for The Lone Ranger remained grim on Friday as the Johnny Depp-Armie Hammer Western grossed roughly $10.6 million for a projected five-day debut in the $50 million range, far from enough to make up for the movie's hefty production budget.
Conversely, Universal and Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me 2 continued its dazzling run, grossing $30.2 million for an expected five-day opening north of $140 million -- one of the best showings ever for an animated film and on par with what Toy Story 3 earned in its first five days. It's also helping to fuel one of the best July 4th holiday stretches on record in terms of overall box office revenue.
Overseas, Despicable 2 is also looking like a mega hit, grossing $18.7 million from 45 markets on Friday for an early international total of $94.4M through Friday and worldwide total of $184.2 million. The family film will fly by the $200 million mark sometime today.
Lone Ranger -- costing at least $250 million to produce -- marks the summer's third major disappointment after Will Smith tentpole After Earth and Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum's White House Down, both Sony pics, and is almost certain to pose a major financial headache for Disney.
With Lone Ranger, Disney had hoped to whip up the same magic that producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and Depp created with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In this latest film, Depp applies his penchant for playing quirky characters to the role of Tonto (Depp says he is part Native American), while Hammer plays the Lone Ranger.
At one point, before Verbinski began shooting, the plug was almost pulled on Lone Ranger because of budget concerns. The filmmakers agreed to bring the budget down to $215 million, but the price tag steadily rose once shooting began (all the stunts are real). Another issue is the film's lengthy running time of 149 minutes.
Despicable 2 is easily walking away with the glory, both domestically and internationally, where it has already earned north of $75 million.
It's also smashing a number of records. In North America, the movie also scored the second-highest Thursday gross in history behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($29.1 million). (That doesn't include films that opened on Thursday.) And on Wednesday, Universal's sequel scored the third-highest opening day for an animated feature behind Toy Story 3 and Shrek the Third (both those films opened on a Friday).
In the toon, Steve Carell returns to voice the role of Gru, master of the minions, while Kristen Wiig voices the role of Agent Lucy Wilde.
The third new entry of the July Fourth holiday frame is Summit Entertainment's stand-up comedy film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, which is turning in a solid performance, grossing $3.7 million on Friday for a five-day cume of $17.4 million (it's only playing in 876 theaters). Summit is hoping to provide counter-programming for African-American audiences as well as comedy fans. The film, from Codeblack Films and HartBeat Productions, was shot live at New York's Madison Square Garden.
At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight's The Way, Way Back opened in 19 theaters in select theaters on Friday, grossing $175,862 for a location average of $92,56. The coming-of-age dramedy, produced by OddLot Entertainment, was directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, and stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alison Janney and Sam Rockwell.