After being taken to the woodshed just last spring with Mars Needs Mom ($21 million on a $150 million budget), Disney now has to contend with a disastrous $30.6 million opening weekend for Andrew Stanton’s sci-fi fantasy John Carter. The $250 million investment, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs “A Princess of Mars” has had dismal tracking for weeks but nothing can prepare you for getting your head handed to you by The Lorax, Universal’s holdover which is easily staying atop the box office for a second week in a row with a $39.1 million weekend.
The studio will likely have to take a massive $100+ million write-down despite the fact that the movie is actually performing fairly well abroad, hauling in $70.6 million from 55 territories, including Russia where it had the biggest opening day in the country’s history. As feared, John Carter didn’t appeal to its target demographic of young males with 59% of the audience being older than 25. Word-of-mouth is healthy with a “B+” CinemaScore but there is virtually no hope that the movie will recover with 21 Jump Street coming next week and most notably The Hunger Games releasing in two weeks.
So where did it all go wrong? No doubt, everything starts with the gargantuan budget which ballooned to something close to $250 million. How could a movie with virtually no star power and being adapted from unproven material a century old become that expensive? And then, there is the ridiculously ineffective marketing which stubbornly stuck to the action-adventure premise of the film and made it appear as an incredibly generic blend of Avatar and Star Wars.
John Carter wasn’t the only bomb of the weekend. Eddie Murphy who is quickly becoming nothing short of a box office embarrassment, highlighted A Thousand Words, a comedy which has been sitting on the shelf since 2008 before being released. The movie claimed a dismal $6.4 million and may well be on its way to earn itself an illustrious 0% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Finally, the Elizabeth Olsen-starring horror movie Silent House also had a disappointing $7 million opening weekend. But consider the tiny $1 million budget and it doesn’t look nearly as bad. However, audiences absolutely despised the movie, giving it the dreaded “F” CinemaScore.
Weekend Box Office
|1. Iron Man 3||$72.5M|
|2. The Great Gatsby||$51.1M|
|3. Pain and Gain||$5.0M|
|4. Tyler Perry Presents Peeples||$4.5M|
|7. The Croods||$3.6M|
|8. The Big Wedding||$2.5M|
|10. Oz The Great and Powerful||$0.8M|