In a summer riddled with pricey Hollywood flops, Disney's "The Lone Ranger" may be the most infamous, and the film's stars and crew think they know the reason why: The critics. 

“I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film," star Johnny Depp said in an interview with yahoo Movies U.K., where it opens this Friday.

"I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinski, director] and Jerry [Bruckheimer, producer] and me were going to do ‘The Lone Ranger’," he added. "They had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I didn’t have any expectations of that. I never do. Why would I?"

The delayed "Ranger" cost somewhere north of $200 million (depending on who you ask), and will likely lose the studio as much as $150 million.

Co-star Armie Hammer, Verbinski and producer Bruckheimer agree that early critical speculation sabotaged the film's chances. 

"I think they were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie," Bruckheimer postulated. "The audience doesn’t care what the budget is — they pay the same amount if it costs a dollar or 20 million dollars."

Bruckheimer, who also teamed with Depp and Verbinski on the lucrative "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.
 
"It’s unfortunate because the movie is a terrific movie, it’s a great epic film," Bruckheimer said of their latest film together. "It has lots of humor." Depp likewise called the film "brave" and the film's action and special effects "incredible."

Verbinski adds that the film may not have fit in with other recent tentpoles. "Our movie is not a sequel and it doesn't have giant robots and the Lone Ranger can't fly," he explained. "I think we're counter-programming. If you want to see something different, come see our movie. It's odd to be given a lashing because of that." 
 
Hammer elaborated on the conspiracy. "It's gotten to an unfortunate place with American critics where if you're not as smart as Plato, you're stupid," he explained. "That seems like a very sad way to live your life."

Luckily, Brad Pitt's more favorably reviewed "World War Z" escaped similar press unscathed. 
 
"They tried to do the same thing with ‘World War Z,'" Hammer contended. "It didn’t work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie."

As for "Ranger," Bruckheimer believes that the will be kind to the film's legacy. "Its one of those movies that whatever critics missed in it this time, they’ll review it in a few years and see that they made a mistake," he concluded.

Watch the interviews here: