Today, the Walt Disney Co. Monday acknowledged in a statement that the movie’s poor performance at the box office will more than likely force Disney to take a $200 million loss. The company said it expects that its studio divison will post an operating loss of as much as $120 million in the second fiscal quarter of 2012.
“John Carter” cost about $250 million to make, marketing costs were another $100 million on top of that, but the film grossed a mere $30.2 million domestically during its first weekend of release, taking in $13.5 million its second weekend.
Things looked a little brighter overseas, where the movie grossed approximately $126 million abroad in the 10 days since its release on March 9.
“In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31,” the company said in a prepared statement. “As a result, our current expectation is that the studio segment will have an operating loss of between $80 and $120 million for the second quarter.”
The writedown means “John Carter” is one of the biggest flops in history.
It’s right up there with “Mars Needs Moms“, last year’s film which cost about $150 million to make and grossed $39 million worldwide. It’s also now in the same league as 1987′s “Ishtar”, the disastrous movie that cost $55 million to produce and grossed $14 million domestically.
Interestingly enough, Hollywood labeled “John Carter” a bomb even before it arrived in theaters. Early on, there were rumors that the sci-fi epic had gone way over budget and needed several expensive reshoots.
Those reshoots, lack of a recognizable star, the director’s inexperience with live-action (“John Carter” is director Andrew Stanton’s first live-action film), and Disney’s marketing only made matters worse.
Disney’s former head of marketing, M.T. Carney, left a couple of months prior to the movie’s release, leaving it to incoming marketing head Ricky Strauss to bring the film into theaters.
“John Carter” stars Taylor Kitsch as a Confederate soldier who gets transported to Mars, where he becomes involved in an alien war. Several different filmmakers had claimed that the movie was unfilmable before Stanton got his hands on the project.
Still, the studio is looking forward to other upcoming movies with brighter futures.
“As we look forward to the second half of the year, we are excited about the upcoming releases of ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Brave’, which we believe have tremendous potential to drive value for the Studio and the rest of the company,” Disney said.
- Disney expects $200 mil ‘John Carter’ loss (variety.com)
- Disney says ‘John Carter’ to lose $200 million (sfgate.com)
- Cramer: Disney Will Survive John Carter (thestreet.com)