John Carter

Budget: $250 million Financed by: Disney
Domestic Gross: $73,078,100 Domestic Distributor: Disney
Overseas Gross: $211,061,000
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Taylor Kitsch
Produced by: Colin Wilson

John carter box office flopJohn Carter is the reigning champion of financial loss, with Disney taking a $200 million write down on the box office disaster.  This fiscally irresponsible film had a budget that ballooned in excess of $250 million (about $210 million after tax breaks) and an unfocused $100+ million marketing campaign that followed, doomed John Carter.  Originally titled John Carter of Mars, it was shortened to just John Carter after Disney didn’t want any association of their expensive film with their turkey Mars Needs Moms.  The generic and not very telling title wasn’t the cause of the $200 million loss, but it’s one of many bad decisions that led to the film’s box office demise.  The trailers and the ad material were confused at best and fell flat with not only spectacle, but never made it clear who this John Carter guy really is and the ads never connected with audiences.  There was plenty of finger pointing and blaming about who was responsible for the wretched marketing, but it’s director Andrew Stanton that had creative control of the initial marketing campaign and the dull first trailers.  The film was tracking very poorly for months up to release and a last minute effort to make a more focused ad spend, was too little too late.  Disney continued to throw cash at an ad spend that wasn’t doing anything for audiences but clogging up the TV airwaves and throwing good money at a big problem, without addressing the problem was just creating a spend of wretched excess.  The mouse house opened John Carter in the US with a soft $30,180,188 coming in #2 for the weekend behind Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in its second frame.  John Carter proved front loaded and fell 55% in its second weekend to $13,569,795 killing its chances at breaking out.  The pic continued to post large declines and when the gross sputtered out at $69 million, Disney paired John Carter as a double feature with The Avengers in its first weekend in over 150 drive-ins, which helped boost its final gross to $73,078,100.  Between marketing and the budget, Disney sunk over $350 million into John Carter and it grossed just $284 million worldwide, which after theaters take their cut of the gross, left Disney with the biggest movie flop of all time.