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John Carter: Disney's costly flop

posted 12 Mar 2012, 15:57 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 12 Mar 2012, 15:57 ]

The disappointing opening weekend of Walt Disney's John Carter did not just dash dreams of box office success, it also brings down hoped-for revenue streams from everything from product merchandising to theme park rides.

USA-DISNEY/ JOHN CARTER - Disney's "John Carter" landed at the box office with a thud.

The sci-fi flick brought in just under $31 million at the domestic box office its opening weekend. Industry analysts say with a production cost estimated at around $250 million dollars, and expensive- though ineffective- marketing costs- the film needs to make at least $400 million just to break even.

Media Tech Capital's Porter Bibb:


"It was maybe the worst marketed big budget motion picture in the last 10 or 15 years It got very, very poor reviews in terms of the preview screenings. The advance notice and advertising was unclear. No one could figure out what the movie was all about and basically it dropped dead at the box office."

Disney optioned the film- about an ex-military captain transported to Mars- back in the mid-1980's but held off making the film to wait for the technology to catch up to their ambitions.

Disney also hoped it would be its next so-called tent pole movie- a launching pad to a series of movies and merchandising opportunities.

But even before its release, John Carter was widely panned, and is now expected to lose money in more ways than one.


"What does Disney promote now in their stores? What do they license in terms of the merchandising that they don't do themselves? And there's no new attraction - you are never going to see John Carter events or rides at any of the Disney Theme parks."

Contrast that with the success of Universal Pictures' "The Lorax", which in addition to beating expectations at the box office, is a good bet to be a hit in terms of merchandising and theme park attractions for years to come.

Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.