Disney to make $200m loss from John Carter

In a statement today Disney announced that due to the under-performance of John Carter the studio expects to make a $200m loss. Some box office analysts expected a loss of around $100-$160m, so the number is worse than expected.

The movie has taken $184m at the global box office but due to the reported $250m budget and marketing costs a total north of $600m would be needed for the movie to be profitable. There were a lot of problems here, with the budget being the main one. It didn’t need to cost that much. Then there was the marketing which failed to impress anyone until a few weeks before the film was due for release, by which time it was too late. To appeal to as many people as possible (mainly females) Disney dropped Of Mars from the title, but perhaps it would have been better to keep the sci-fi element in the title and shift the marketing to focus more on the love story between Carter and Dejah Thoris.

A March release worked well for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland back in 2010, but maybe a summer release date would have worked better for John Carter.

Some blame will have to fall at the feed of director Andrew Stanton who apparently had control over the marketing and, while it was a group effort, he failed to make a movie that lived up to his previous Pixar efforts such as Wall-E and Finding Nemo. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is that “While John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization.” A better movie may have generated better word of mouth, but even so it would unlikely have become the event movie Disney were hoping for.

As Disney is a big studio one flop won’t impact them that badly. They have The Avengers and Pixar’s Brave set for release during the summer, and i’m sure Pirates of the Caribbean 5 will be getting the green-light soon. Hopefully lessons will be learned about spending too much and subpar marketing (although probably not).

Why do you think John Carter failed at the box office?

  • Btmcclure1

    Why can’t you deliver all the news. You deliver news very well. Impartial and you give us the facts. Not the opinions.

  • Ithyphallic

    The film is pretty good. It’s doing good business worldwide. It’s the problem with your domestic market. They made it a box-office flop. Otherwise, a winner.

  • DareDevil

    Dude that was one hell of a it was really good it was the bad publicity buzzing around it before the release is the main problem & the biggest surprise was from Disney even after   the negative publicity was going around they didn’t even try to get it corrected …. such a big name Disney & can’t even sell a movie properly in which they have invested so much disappointing 

  • Gauntner

    $184 million in less than 2 weeks is a flop? With a few more tickets left and DVD and Blu ray to come? Are these people CRRRR-AAAZY!?? N0- Remember- by inflating marketing costs dishonestly they can cheat investors. George Lucas claims Star Wars has yet to turn a profit! Besides, this 100 year old story is politically incorrect and THAT and only that is why reviewers panned it without even seeing it and no wonder! A SOUTHERN protagonist? INTOLERABLE!!!! I read one say, “We’re so tired of all this Star Wars nonsense”. Actually Superman, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon who Star Wars was patterned from ALL copied this- The ORIGINAL. I LOVED IT and non-American Audiences did too, they’re not under orders to be bigoted toward a certain demographic.

    • arun279

       John Carter is a flop. It may not be as much as advertised and there may not be a loss really. But the budget itself was more than 200 million and it has made little more than 180 million… that means its a flop

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NEFEYDTPJ5W6EOOVVCXRWJUAHQ David NT

    If I was marketing this movie to an intelligent audience who would see it, I would’ve mentioned that it was based on a classic Sci-fi novel from Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author who wrote “Tarzan”) written back in 1917 and then let the audience adjust its “lens” to compensate for any political incorrectness that a Confederate war protagonist might represent.  This was an awesome movie!!  Everything about it, the costumes, the stylized Sci-fi feel, the plot, the endearing characters, the direction, the dialogue, CGI, left me awestruck!!!  The story is not about any to do with the civil war as it is about a human being who suffers loss to the horrors war to the point that he avoids it at all cost even in the face of those who oppress others.  It is on the planet Barsoom (Mars) that he slowly realizes that if he does not take stand against oppression, the oppressors will only make things worse and suffer the losses that he experienced.  It is also about a human being’s willingness to love and sacrifice for those who are alien to him simply because it is the right thing to do.  I get the impression that perhaps today’s American society does not care about standing up to oppression or it not interested in helping those whose ways are alien to them.  If that is the case, then perhaps the message of this film is lost to them.  But to an intelligent audience, seeing that our soldiers are currently fighting and dying for human beings who are “alien” to us, I believe that this Sci-fi classic from 1917 still has something to say.

    • nomad

       You are on point about everything! I think they should have split this film into two just to really get into the characters and have me fully invested, otherwise, I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to watch a big action flick before summer comes out and I really enjoyed EDB as a kid for all the reasons you mentioned (silence only contributes to the problem, helping others, generosity of spirit). But you are also correct in saying that these values no longer hold any weight in our society. Everyone is about number one and maybe that’s why they couldn’t connect? And lastly, political correctness kills a good story and people who took issue with it are morons.