Are Westerns Truly Done and Dusted?

cowboys

With all the talk of the flop that is ‘The Lone Ranger’ people began to wonder if the western movie is truly good and dead. It is true, like most film genres the western has seen some highs and lows, but can we truly count it done and dusted?

Lets take a look at the numbers, of the top 25 top grossing westerns, 13 are from before 2000 and only 6 were released after 2005. The downward trend in traditional western films (I do not consider ‘Back to the Future III‘, ‘Cowboys & Aliens‘ or ‘Brokeback Mountain‘ traditional western films) seems to suggest that the audience for westerns is diminishing.

However ‘The Lone Ranger’ seems to be handling well among its peers, it is currently number 16 in the top 25 westerns ever made. Just beating out ‘Young Guns‘ and ‘Young Guns II

#1 Dances with Wolves (1990) $184,208,848
#2 True Grit (2010) $171,243,005
#3 Django Unchained (2012) $162,805,434
#4 Rango (2011) $123,477,607
#5 Wild Wild West (1999) $113,804,681
#6 Maverick (1994) $101,631,272
#7 Unforgiven (1992) $101,157,447
#8 Cowboys & Aliens (2011) $100,240,551
#9 Back to the Future III (1990) $87,727,583
#10 Brokeback Mountain (2005) $83,043,761
#11 Open Range (2003) $58,331,254
#12 Shanghai Noon (2000) $56,937,502
#13 Tombstone (1993) $56,505,065
#14 3:10 to Yuma (2007) $53,606,916
#15 Home On The Range (2004) $50,030,461
#16 The Lone Ranger (2013) $48,715,010
#17 Young Guns (1988) $45,661,556
#18 Young Guns II (1990) $44,143,410
#19 Pale Rider (1985) $41,410,568
#20 Silverado (1985) $32,192,570
#21 The Missing (2003) $27,011,180
#22 Wyatt Earp (1994) $25,052,000
#23 The Alamo (2004) $22,414,961
#24 An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) $22,166,041
#25 Quigley Down Under (1990) $21,413,105

The 1990 Kevin Costner hit ‘Dances with Wolves‘ made about $346,972,400 if we adjust for inflation. It was in the theatres for 29 weeks meaning on average in took in $11,964,565.52 a week (adjusted). At its peak theatre count it was in 1,636 making an estimated $3,246 per theatre.

By comparison ‘The Lone Ranger’ is currently in 3,904 theatres and took in $19,504,161 during the week for an average of $4,996. Those numbers do not seem that bad, and even considering the mixed reviews and perhaps lackluster marketing campaign, ‘The Lone Ranger’ appears to be, at least for now, still in his saddle.

About the Author: Michael Regina has spent over a decade deep within the internet fanboy zeitgeist. Directors such as Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labrynth, Hellboy) rely on him to reach out to their fan base and be their mouthpiece in order to relay news and quash rumors. The fans flock to his scoop filled websites (TheOneRing.net, KongisKing.net) for behind the scenes goodies and spoiler filled stories. Straddling the line between ultimate geek and Hollywood insider, Michael has effectively brought A-List access to everyone’s computer screen.

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