Johnny Depp's 'Lone Ranger' and Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' will face off in December 2012


Image Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Juan Naharro Gim

Yesterday, Paramount announced that World War Z, their thriller starring Brad Pitt, would be released on Dec. 21, 2012, the same date as Disney’s upcoming Johnny Depp vehicle, Lone Ranger. The two A-listers have never debuted movies on the same weekend before, but even this far in advance, it’s not hard to see that this match-up will be a holiday box office showdown.

In one corner, we have World War Z, an adaptation of Max Brooks’ bestselling book, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Back in December 2007, Warner Brothers released a zombie blockbuster starring Will Smith, I Am Legend, and it earned a tremendous $256.4 million. I’m guessing Paramount is hoping that a similarly huge crowd will turn out to see Pitt (who has never been quite the box office star that Smith is) fight off the brain-eaters. Pitt’s last big-budget studio film, Inglourious Basterds, earned a nice $120.5 million, and other successful releases like Oceans Eleven ($183.4 million), Mr. and Mrs. Smith ($186.3 million), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5 million), prove that he can attract big audiences when paired with broadly appealing stories.

In the other corner, we have Lone Ranger, a film adaptation of an old TV and radio show that followed a Texan hero (played by Armie Hammer) and his Native American comrade, Tonto (Depp). Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the super-duo who teamed up with Johnny Depp in the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Lone Ranger will likely be a visual spectacle with huge appeal for popcorn munchers. Still, westerns can be a tough sell at the box office. True Grit hit big ($171.1 million), but Cowboys and Aliens ($69.1 million) has underperformed so far. Depp appeared in a relatively successful animated western, Rango ($123.3 million) this year, but only time will tell if the star can pull in audiences as a live-action frontier fellow.

In all reality, these late December releases mean that studios are aiming for big holiday box office numbers, as kids will be out of school and many adults off of work, and there’s probably room for both films to succeed financially, but I’m curious: Which do you think will do better business?

Follow Grady on Twitter: @BoxOfficeJunkie

Comments (36 total) Add your comment
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  • Ronnie

    Who Cares?? Isn’t the Hobbit coming out Dec 2012 everything else will be an afterthought….

    • LM

      Came here to say this. Any film opening in December 2012 after The Hobbit is going to have a hard battle at the box office, just like previous films did against the original LOTR films. The question of this article should really be: can any December 2012 film survive The Hobbit?

    • Rachel

      well World war Z is an excellent book. its the oral history of a catastrophic event all over the world and their experiences. and the event is zombies. but they take it very seriously.

  • LOL

    Will this be another Johnny Depp movie where he is in drag?

    • depphead

      depp is the best actor of all time ..anyone who speaks ill of him is an @@#@@@@@

      • ed

        Please. Depp needs to go back to making original films and not these easy money grabs.

      • Miranda


      • craig

        playing ridiculous characters in stupid disney movies does not qualify him to be a good actor but rather an appealing actor for people who like unorthodox characters and think that being different is super cool

      • Fazley

        goose2goose2 on February 20, 2011 there is a free one in 30 ft of water in Dutch Harbor broke into a thousands eepcis and blew into the ocean..but it’s free it you want it.

  • Greed

    Dec 2012 will be awesome because of The Hobbit, it would have been better if Superman had come out then too, but then I saw the guy they picked and his costume and heard Zack Snyder is directing, so no thanks – BRANDON ROUTH IS SUPERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!

    • cj

      Christopher Reeve is Superman.
      Brandon Routh, while good, pales in comparison.

      • Greed

        You are correct sir, what I meant to say was Brandon Routh is the Superman of my generation as far as I am concerned. I would have also been content with Tom Welling – he put in his dues – both fit the mold of Superman/Clark – I think Brandon did it better. However, Henry Cavil is short, has curly hair, looked Italian in the promo shot the studio released – in short he does not look like Superman, I sincerely hope this new one fails and by that time Chris Nolan will be free entirely and can hire Brandon Routh to be Superman again and do a proper Superman with Brainiac

      • JBL


        RIP Superman

  • jasmine

    lone ranger ftw! it has johnny depp and armie hammer! i’d rather watch that than world war z

  • Avi

    “Lone Ranger”. Johnny Depp has HUGE box office appeal in Disney’s fantasy-adventure films (three billion dollars movies!!)

  • Nick T

    I’ll definitely be seeing World War Z. Pitt is awesome and that sounds way more interesting than Lone Ranger. Though i do like Depp and Hammer, it can wait

    • Sohan

      If Philosykos is able to spray a lot, then L’ombre must be less spray, for it is too snortg, and the taste of the crowd can be very complex. nbsp;Structure is very simple, not complex commercial lines, but to make perfume overhangs. L’ombre dans l’eau taste, I think a lot of people do not accept this, although it introduces is the main fragrant rose, but really is not roses. Because the reasons for the addition of black currant, jam making perfume has a taste, very snortg line, about to be distributed in order to feel its tone. How should I say black currant, and it is really difficult to describe in words. It is the common name black currant, you should be able to feel it, a very fragrant smell of butter, a little sweet and honest, not a business line that sweet, a very thick and greasy all the sweet watered down. The main theme of the rose species have seven eight elements of the halo. But used to be addicted. I suggest you use this perfume before, go home BAIES candles with it, get used to it , then perfume, big love. Because it’s warm, it’s soulful, it gives a kind of happiness for the good seduce, lingering aftertaste that can not extricate themselves. nbsp;

  • renton

    How many of those “kids” Lone Ranger expects to attract have any memory of that show?

    • swthompson

      Probably as many that recall Dark Shadows when that film comes out.

  • SquarePeg

    Since I am zombie and depp-phobic this is one battle I’ll be sitting out.

  • Clete

    Actually, according to all the “End of the World” shows shown over and over again on the History Channel, the world is going to end on that day. I may go to an early the first showing, don’t want to miss the end of the world.

    • Person

      Ya I was just thinking that. Do you happen to know what time of the day the world is scheduled to end? Maybe I can sneak in seeing one of this before the end of the world, but I was also planning on going out to lunch, and my son has a soccer game at 4:30. It’ll be a busy day, but I’ll try to make it work.

  • Tom

    “Back in December 2007, Warner Brothers released a zombie blockbuster starring Will Smith, I Am Legend, and it earned a tremendous $256.4 million. I’m guessing Paramount is hoping that a similarly huge crowd will turn out to see Pitt (who has never been quite the box office star that Smith is) fight off the brain-eaters. ” I hate to break it to Grady, but that wasn’t a zombie movie… I mean, if you are going to write a column about it, at least research the topic?

    • jen

      “I hate to break it to Grady, but that wasn’t a zombie movie” – thank you!

  • Laura W

    The world’s not gonna end on Dec 21 2012, that’s just a myth were all beileving cause times are rough at the moment, use your head!! Lone Ranger sounds cool!!

    • Clete

      Guess irony is a little beyond you.

  • Jean

    Zombies all the way! Love them lol.

  • mkw

    johnny will never lose as long as i get a vote

    • Ashok

      I love her oufitt. I have to smile when I look at Johnny’s pictures. I watched the video last week when he was on Letterman and it is not an act, he is really uncomfortable in the spotlight. I am sure that both Angie and Johnny are thinking, oh boy just let me get through these appearances and then we can rest. Is it true that the last time we saw any of the children was in France shopping with Angie? Maybe someone from either Brad’s or Angie’s family is staying with the children in France. It would be very hard packing all of them up for these very short stops in Berlin, Rome and Madrid.

  • Kyle

    Lets see.
    Go see Johnny Depp in drag, or watch Brad Pitt ‘Stain’ fail on what should’ve been a good zombie movie. YAWN!
    I’d rather see the World End, cause its free, I get Front Row, and won’t have to wear those awful 3D glasses to see how awesome it’ll be.

  • Katie

    Ummm … this won’t be Mr. Depp’s first live action western. He did Dead Man with Alfred Molina, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Robert Mitchum and Iggy Pop (yes, Iggy Pop) back in 1995. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Very good film.

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