After its underwhelming $30.2 million opening two weeks ago, things weren’t looking too hot for Disney’s Mars-set adventure film John Carter, which reportedly cost $250 million to produce and an additional $100 million to market.
But there was still some hope that the sci-fi/Western hybrid, which earned an encouraging “B+” rating from CinemaScore audiences, would sport box-office legs as sturdy as its protagonist’s. That wasn’t the case, as John Carter plummeted 55 percent last weekend. Consequently, Disney released a statement today announcing that the studio expects to take a write-down of $200 million as a result of the expensive flop.
“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,” Disney said in a 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.”
Since studios split box-office grosses with theater owners, John Carter reportedly needs to earn at least $600 million worldwide just to break even — and that’s clearly not going to happen. It’ll join such other recent Disney misfires as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Mars Needs Moms (another Mars-set bomb that just happened to be released almost exactly one year prior to John Carter).
Understandably, Disney was quick to point out its promising slate of upcoming movies. “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,” concludes the studio’s statement. While there’s no question that John Carter will negatively affect Disney’s bottom line, the studio will almost certainly bounce back this summer. For one thing, neither The Avengers nor Brave takes place on Mars.