The Lone Ranger

There’s no question at this point that The Lone Ranger was a big fat flop, but why it failed so badly remains up for debate. Were audiences turned off by the cultural insensitivity? Does Johnny Depp need to put down the white makeup? Was the movie just not very good?

According to director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and stars Depp and Armie Hammer, the answer is none of the above. Instead, the team pegs the film’s poor box office performance on film critics, whom they believe were “gunning for” the movie due to its production troubles. Cue every single movie reviewer I know: If only we had that kind of power. Hit the jump to watch them complain.

Yahoo! Movies UK & Ireland put together this three-minute compilation of the quartet complaining about critics.

To be fair, there’s not much these guys can say in response to the question. They can’t admit the movie sucks, even if they think it does, since it’s literally their job right now to promote it. Moreover, while the quartet seems more than happy to rail against critics, it appears to be the interviewer who brings up the topic in the first place.

But their comments are patently ridiculous. It’s true that reviews can harm or hurt a film, but their influence tends to be severely limited. If critics had the power to sink a movie, Grown Ups would be one of the worst performers of Adam Sandler’s career instead of a $271 million smash hit. Nor have reports of on-set trouble stopped World War Z, which opened two weeks before The Lone Ranger, from earning a 67% score on Rotten Tomatoes and $488 million in global box office receipts.

To Hammer, though, that’s just the exception. It’s not that movie journalists don’t have nefarious plans, but that the jerks don’t always succeed in pulling them off. ”They tried to do the same thing to World War Z,” he said. “It didn’t work, they weren’t successful, and they instead decided to slit the jugular with our movie.”

I don’t know if Hammer and his colleagues honestly believe the stuff they’re saying. It seems more likely that this is just their latest tactic for selling the movie. After all, we’ve seen plenty of filmmakers and actors crow about how “critics don’t matter” after a panned movie goes on to make tons of money. I bet they would’ve done the same if The Lone Ranger had performed better.

But if they want to paint movie journalists and critics as all-powerful Bond villains who plot to make movies flop and cackle with glee every time they do, I’m totally okay with that. It’s much more exciting than the unglamorous reality of my movie blogger job, anyway.

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