Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thor 2, the Phineas & Ferb movie and Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger get new release dates...

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Now that The Lone Ranger has finally settled its budget issues, Disney has given it a prime release date of the 31st of May 2013. Thor 2 will become the first Marvel Studios’ film to open outside of summer with a new release date of the 15th of November; and the Phineas & Ferb movie takes over Thor 2’s original release date of the 26th of July.

Moving Thor 2 away from the summer could be seen as  a bit of a risk as the overwhelming majority of these films have had summer releases. Whilst Thor was a bigger hit internationally than in North America (earning $267m of its $448m ‘abroad’) Marvel / Disney will be expecting / hoping that The Avengers makes the character even more popular and would be expecting significant increases in gross for the sequel.

Phineas and Ferb is an enormously successful animated show on Disney XD. A special TV movie, ‘Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension’ had a 7.6 million viewer average when it aired in America this year. That made it the most watched cable movie of the year as well as the 3rd highest rated movie of all time for The Disney Channel. The show is currently in its third season, with a spin-off show on the way.

Johnny Depp’s cherished Lone Ranger film has been creeping its way towards a full green light for months now. With Westerns notoriously poor travellers overseas, in the modern era, the expected $250m - $275m budget was much higher than Disney was prepared to risk; even on a Johnny Depp staring, Jerry Bruckheimer produced and Gore Verbinski directed film. Remember Pirate movies were seen as poison when the same trio brought Pirates of The Caribbean to $654,264,015       in 2003. The second and third films earned even more taking just over and just under $1b each. However the very real, example of Cowboys & Aliens and even True Grit added weight to the “expensive Westerns are a very big risk’ argument. Only $79.8m of True Grits impressive $250m total came from outside North America; whilst Cowboys & Aliens would have hoped to make at least 60% of its total from the international market, but has only managed 40% and that only amounts to $66m so far. A change in the way Depp, Verbinski & Bruckheimer (a very expensive trio) will get paid (allegedly related to profit) has helped trim the budget down to $215m. Depp will play Tonto, the partner (side-kick) to Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger.

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