Under siege by movie critics (with a cringe-inducing 25 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), Disney's "The Lone Ranger" is facing yet another denouncement from animal rights activists over its treatment of stunt horses.
“During filming, a horse almost drowned after being forced to swim across the rain-swollen Colorado River and being swept downstream," PETA writes. "The horse was saved only because a production crew was in a pontoon boat downriver and someone was able to throw a lasso around the animal’s head and pull the horse ashore. Making a movie with horses can be dangerous for humans, too. During the filming of another scene, Depp fell off his horse and was trampled."
Referencing HBO's "Luck" as a recent prime example of horse abuse (the series was canceled after three animals died during filming), PETA goes on to say that horses are the animal most often killed or injured on TV and movie sets.
"Horses' high casualty rate is attributable to several factors," they add. "While horses are domesticated and therefore more easily trained than exotic animals, many people involved in the film industry are unfamiliar with their behavior and needs and therefore make demands on them that are stressful, uncomfortable, and downright dangerous."
According to the group, one horse trainer was fired from the set after refusing to cooperate with producers over the dangerous Colorado River scene.
Nevertheless, it appears that PETA's wish to see "The Lone Ranger" disappear into the sunset will happen regardless. Due to poor reviews and tough competition at the box office, industry analysts are already predicting that Disney will need to swallow a roughly $100 million loss on the film. That would make it the biggest flop for the studio since "John Carter."
"Unless you want to pay full admission to a movie for only the last 20 minutes, there's no way 'The Lone Ranger' can be recommended for anything other than the oddity that it is," writes Mike Ryan for HuffPo. "And in an era of sterile, test-marketed-to-a-tee blockbusters, I do appreciate that 'The Lone Ranger' is at least different — but it's impossible to call it good."
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