Disney is still slowly regaining the streaming rights to its various movies as Disney+ continues to rack up subscribers. Many of their recent films are tied up in a deal with Starz, but those options are slowly but surely expiring. One of those films is The Lone Ranger, the 2013 movie starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. The picture, which is based on the classic Western character that Fran Striker and George W. Trendle created in 1933, will be leaving Starz on Nov. 30, per DejaViewstream. That date could likely signal a December arrival for the Western.
On paper, it'd seem like a no-brainer for Disney+ to add the title to its service. It's a high-budget blockbuster with A-List actors that was released in the last decade. Although it was a box office disappointment based on its $215-250 million budget, it still raked in a whopping $260.5 million in theaters, meaning there is likely sizeable interest in the movie. However, The Lone Ranger notably wreaks of controversy eight years out from its release.
The primary issue with the movie was a hot topic of conversation around its release. Depp portrays Tonto, a Native American character. Depp is a White man (although he believes he might have some sort of Native American heritage). Regardless, it has not aged well due to the increased public awareness of cultural appropriation.
Depp's personal life also cloud's the film, as will all the actor's work in hindsight. His ex-wife, Amber Heard, has accused him of domestic abuse, a claim he denies. (He also claims he was the victim and Heard actually abused him.) Depp is still fighting the allegations, but most of Hollywood and a large portion of the general public has sided against him. Pair that entire situation with allegations of on-set outbursts, and Depp's reputation is at an all-time low.
Furthermore, Disney might want to continue to distance itself from Depp's co-star Hammer, who plays the titular role in The Lone Ranger. Multiple women have accused Hammer of sexual abuse, with police formally investigating at least one rape accusation. Hammer has denied the claims, but, like Depp, he has been largely blacklisted by Hollywood and has seemingly lost in the court of public opinion. Could all these controversies keep The Lone Ranger off Disney+? We'll have to wait until later this year to see what Disney wants to do with it. For now, you can stream it via Starz.