Disney says loss on Johnny Depp western could reach $190m; total company revenue up 4%.
Disney has projected between $160m-$190m loss on summer tentpole The Lone Ranger.
The loss will be recorded for the quarter ending September 2013, chief financial officer Jay Rasulo said on a conference call with analysts after Disney announced quarterly results.
The Gore Verbinski-directed western, starring Johnny Depp, opened in the US and Canada on July 3 to a first weekend of only $29 million.
“There has been a lot said, I know, about the risk of basically high cost, tent pole films,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told reporters, “and we certainly can attest to that given what happened with Lone Ranger.”
“We still think the tentpole strategy is a good strategy,” he said. “That one way to rise above the din and the competition is with a big film, not just big budget, but big story, big cast, big marketing behind it.”
The news comes as Disney announced its quarterly results to the end of June.
They showed earnings almost unchanged but revenue up 4%, thanks to its theme parks and cable networks, such as ESPN.
Disney said Iron Man 3, which was released in late spring, had fared worse than The Avengers which was out a year earlier, but that Pixar title Monsters University was doing better than Brave did one year ago.
The media giant earned $1.85bn in the quarter to the end of June, up from $1.83bn last year.
Revenue at its theme parks and resorts grew by 7% to $3.7bn while cable network revenue was up by 8%.
Iger said he was happy with the results and added: “We are confident that our strategy of creating high-quality branded content positions us well for the future.”