MOTW: What Will Make "The Lone Ranger" a Standout at the Box Office?

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
July 2nd, 2013

MOTW: What Will Make "The Lone Ranger" a Standout at the Box Office?

Although numerous films are scheduled to hit theaters just in time for the summer blockbuster season, "The Lone Ranger" will stand out in stark contrast to the competition in a variety of ways. Although westerns were once a popular genre, they have since faded quietly into the night. When Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp ride onto the silver screen portraying the beloved characters of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, moviegoers will be treated to a film that takes a significant break from the current popular genres lighting up screens this summer. With its release date of July 3, 2013, this film will mark the first time a film has featured the well-known Lone Ranger character in more than three decades.

The Lone Ranger was first introduced in a radio serial program in 1933. It quickly became so popular that it spawned a series of books and later a television program. The original television series first aired in 1949 and ran until 1957, although it remained on the air in the form of reruns for many years. During its original run, few people, either real or fictional, were admired more than the Lone Ranger. Even after the show ended, the Lone Ranger character remained an enduring American icon. Although other attempts have been made to revive the Lone Ranger character and the western film genre over the years, "The Lone Ranger" could easily be the first introduction many young audiences today have to a western.

Backed by the power of Walt Disney Studios, "The Lone Ranger" is also likely to stand out from previous remake attempts to bring back the mystery and excitement of the beloved Lone Ranger character while infusing new life into the western film genre. This latest attempt to bring the masked hero back to life will reframe the beloved classic using a more modern approach. "The Lone Ranger" has a production budget to the tune of more than $200 million, so expectations are running high. With music from Jack White, direction from Gore Verbinski, and production from Jerry Bruckheimer, this new attempt at an action-adventure western film certainly has all of the key components for success.

Although it is competing with a slate of summer films that tend to lean heavily on action and adventure, if the newest Lone Ranger film sticks closely to the original premise, it will also have two other elements in its favor that are certain to make it a standout: nostalgia and a genuinely virtuous protagonist. As fans of the hit television show already know, each episode ended with some well-meaning townsperson turning to thank the Lone Ranger, only to find that he had already ridden away on his loyal steed, Silver.

"The Lone Ranger" is also likely to be notable in that it presents a very good opportunity for Arnie Hammer to make the transition from supporting actor to household name much in the same way that the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" film did for Johnny Depp, his now-famous costar. Many of the other films hitting the box office this summer are replete with A-list names filling the leading roles. Prior to "The Lone Ranger," Hammer has been best known for his roles in "The Social Network" as the Winklevoss twins and his costarring role in "J. Edgar." In his latest role, Hammer will certainly have big shoes to fill has he attempts to provide a credible lead performance.

While Depp has easily become one of the most famous actors in the world and is frequently associated with leading roles, he will be filling a slightly different part in "The Lone Ranger," in which he takes on the role of the title character's sidekick, Tonto. Lesser-known Armie Hammer will portray the role of John Reid, an attorney and former Texas Ranger who is recruited by Tonto to bring justice to the culprits responsible for decimating his tribe's villages.

Although it will be competing with a female buddy cop film and an entire host of action-adventure flicks, "The Lone Ranger" will offer audiences the opportunity to relive fond childhood memories or discover a new hero.