ox-office results for Disney's The Lone Ranger were not only bad -- as predicted -- they were downright despicable. The film, which analysts had figured would earn around $70 million over the five-day Fourth of July holiday, wound up with an estimated $49 million, while Despicable Me 2 hauled in around $142.1 million. (Final results for all films are due to be released later today, Monday.) It is not as if Disney hadn't seen it coming. The studio had halted production on the film a year ago, around the time that another one of its megabudget undertakings, John Carter, performed so poorly that the company was forced to take a $200-million write-down on it (and fire studio chairman Rich Ross). But such box-office disasters-in-the-making appear to develop juggernaut strength, and studio executives often seem powerless to restrain them. Last year Disney was saved by potent results for The Avengers, which helped offset its loss on Carter. Thus far this year, the studio does not appear to have a similar winning card to conjure up from its deck. The Lone Ranger failure also represents a blow to the eccentric, albeit illustrious, career of Johnny Depp, who reportedly was instrumental in the quirky reinterpretation of the Lone Ranger's faithful companion Tonto. The film marks the second big flop in a row for Depp after last year's Dark Shadows, which reportedly cost $150 million to make and wound up with only $80 million in ticket sales. It was a totally different story for Universal and its animation partner, Illumination Entertainment. The estimated $142.1-million haul for Despicable Me 2 represents the studio's biggest five-day gross ever, and its $82.5 million gross between Friday and Sunday ranks second only to this year's Fast and Furious 6. In five days, the 3D animated film has already earned twice what it cost to produce. Together with results from a handful of overseas markets where it initially opened two weeks ago, it has earned nearly $300 million worldwide, not including markets in which it expanded this weekend.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Despicable Me 2 $82.5 million; 2. The Lone Ranger $29.4 million; 3. The Heat $25 million; 4. Monsters University $19.6 million; 5. World War Z $18.2 million; 6. White House Down $13.5 million; 7. Man of Steel $11.4 million; 8. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain $10.1 million; 9. This Is The End $5.8 million; 10. Now You See Me $2.8 million.