Where'd the BOMB come from?
It was marketing:
The previews set it up for failure by showing the fantastical stuff (horse jumping off a train car - in a tree - etc). People interested in Westerns were turned off and those not interested thought it looked stupid. Once the movie got to those scenes I thought it worked though.
Another problem is this INSANE idea that Tonto HAS to be played by an Indian. It was a genuine turn off for people and as much as I'd like to see someone like Jay Tavre play Tonto, Depp is still the better casting choice. And did the American Indian voice, look, and essence so well. Also, the crow thing: it somehow became a big deal because it was different. Even with historical evidence of medicine men wearing birds like that, people couldn't get over it and judged it as a bad film because Depp was so clearly hamming it up. Turns out, not only is there the historical evidence, it is also a strongly motivated character piece and something that worked VERY well in the film's world.
If people don't go see a movie, it really has nothing to do with it being a bad movie....BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T SEE IT. And box office bombs are judged as such well before word of mouth has a chance to spread. Not enough people saw this opening weekend to kill the film by the time it did through word of mouth.
But what DOES kill a movie in the second weekend, every time? The critics, and the box office numbers. For some reason, audiences (who weren't excited about it in opening weekend) will read box office numbers from the first weekend like a score card, and judge the movie by that. Reviews of the film won't always keep people away, but when you add that to "no one saw the movie opening weekend" ... they tend to believe it's not worth their time.
It's very strange, this idea: "Well if no one saw it, I'm not going either." Or the fact that a movie will be advertised on TV with a preview and "The number one movie of the weekend" and it be based on the fact that everyone has seen it. And that ACTUALLY influences people to go to the film.
You want to see a terrible summer blockbuster? Go rent Battleship. I stopped talking to a girl after she texted "I saw Battleship yesterday, it was the best movie I've seen this year". You want to see a terribly acted, written, and directed film that people showed up for? See a real trainwreck, Transformers 3.
Here's a good review of The Lone Ranger, since they are so few and far between: http://okc.net/2013/07/09/review-lone-ranger/