Tuesday, March 20, 2012

John Carter Is Biggest Loser In Box Office History


It took 50 years and it is not going to end up bankrupting the studio, but finally a movie lost more money than Heaven's Gate. Actually movies lose more than Heaven's Gate all the time but it is still considered the worst loser of all time because it did bankrupt the studio. If you have never read the book about the making of Heaven's Gate, you really should. Yes, John Carter was not great, but it did score 51% on Rotten Tomatoes which is not that bad and would not normally equate to a $200M loss. The problem was the marketing. They bought lots of SuperBowl commercials and no one understood the commercials and not sure anyone knew that it was a movie. Plus the name of the movie sucked. Disney spent $100M on marketing and I still only know it was based on a book by the guy who wrote Tarzan and is some guy who goes to Mars. None of these time warp movies did well. Cowboys and Aliens and there was one more. Can't remember but it did poorly too.

37 comments:

Merlin D. Bear said...

Critics calling it "Ishtar on Mars" didn't help either.

billybob said...

Yes, what a captivating title for a movie.

Comma Chaser said...

I really hope they don't hang this on Taylor Kitsch. He was really good on Friday Night Lights, and I'd hate to see his career derailed because of this mess.

Arena fight scenes were reminiscient of the second of the two Star Wars prequels. Not a good association.

FrenchGirl said...

I saw the movie:it's not bad but you wait 2 hours before the story starts,the actors seem lost in the movie,you don't remember who is who and it looks alike too Star Wars 's poor man
and YES the movie is sold badly

nolachickee said...

I cannot believe Disney spent that kind of money promoting this film. The ads made me NOT want to see it.

I think Taylor will be fine. If you didn't already know who he was, you couldn't tell from the ads. Just some dude with long hair and skimpy attire.

.robert said...

I'd really like to see all of the accounting details for this so I can get my mind around how they could lose so much. Did they just decided to dump losses from everything else all onto this one budget?

Patty said...

Well I just learned more about that movie by reading this post then all the dumbass commercials put together.

Who is John Carter? I don't care.

Patty said...

Well I just learned more about that movie by reading this post then all the dumbass commercials put together.

Who is John Carter? I don't care.

Unknown said...

I kept wondering why they made an ER spinoff 10 years after that show went off the air.

The revenues seem OK for a march action flick? The whole problem here seems to be they spent too much. I agree with Comma Chaser: I hope our Riggins doesn't end up taking the blame for this.

Seachica said...

What Patty said (um, twice :) )

I saw the trailer and couldn't figure out what was going on, or why I should care. "John Carter" means nothing to me, and I doubt it means much to the video game generation. So you have a movie with no discernible plot, but is supposed to be a blockbuster. But then where is the star to sell it? Oops, forgot that too. I'm not sure how this movie ever got greenlit, but the producer clearly didn't spend enough time sucking up to the marketing department.

Princess said...

I've never even seen a commercial for it, and don't remember seeing anything for it during SuperBowl.

Feisty said...

I saw it and enjoyed it. It's way better than the new Star Wars, I'll give it that for sure. I've read the books it was based on, so I'm predisposed to liking it.

They did a terrible job of promoting the movie is why it has lost this much money.

FS said...

Just about every one of my peers kept associating this movie with Noah Wylie's character on ER. Nothing about the trailers or the marketing made me want to go spend money and effort to see it.

Cindy said...

I swear I thought this was about the Terminator -- John something, (who knew it wasn't Carter?). That was why I hadn't planned on seeing it.

AhComeOnReally? said...

Umm, we already know that Mars has no life. This movie might have done well if they actually had movie technology when The book mwas published, but we've like sent probes up there and know there are not any canals or anything except alot of red sand, and very little air

nunaurbiz said...

Enty, I love you, but don't make me older than I am because I remember when Heaven's Gate came out and it was 32 years ago, not 50!!! :-D

Anonymous said...

The title John Carter sounds to me like a movie starring Denzel Washington where he fights big business and wins. Like Erin Brokovich and ... other movies that have names for titles.

How in the world did they they think it was a good idea to name an epic movie John Carter? They didn't put Indiana Jones' name in the title until the second movie. Who is John Carter? I don't know and they didn't make me care. There were no stars in this. Also, there are lots of movies that look like this. I just saw a trailer of Something of the Titans and it looks just like this.

But really, if anyone deserves blame, it's the person who made the call to name the movie John Carter.

Florin said...

The commercials made me rather watch the direct to video version of this made a few years ago staring Anthony Sabato Jr. and Traci Lords.

MAC said...

My husband and nephew saw it and enjoyed it. My husband said it was better than the Star Wars prequels.

Sis said...

I enjoyed the movie, and I too thought it was better than the last Star Wars movie (one of the "new" ones).

Athena said...

It's weird because most everyone I know who saw it enjoyed it. Does it seem to anyone else that the studio wanted this to tank?

Oh, and Lucas mined this book and others for Star Wars so yes, it would look similar. Unfortunately for John Carter he beat them to the screen by 30+ years.

AndrewBW said...

As an old man who read lots of science fiction as a kid I knew who John Carter was, and I couldn't figure out who besides Andrew Stanton thought this would be a good idea for a movie. And even back then the John Carter books were considered distinctly second tier Edgar Rice Burroughs. The only thing that made any sense was the title "John Carter of Mars" - at least people would know it was a science fiction movie! And then they dumped the "of Mars" rendering the movie completely anonymous. What a mess.

timebob said...

somewhere in a bar in Los Angeles Taylor Kitsch and Jason Momoa are having a drink together wondering where everything went so wrong.

Kid Sis said...

Where is that bar, Timebob? Jason Momoa is smoking hot and I can be there in under ten minutes. :p

KPeony said...

It just looked like another big budget/no plot action movie. I saw an add for it the other day and there was no explaination. I honestly thought it had something to do with Prince of Persia.

Angela said...

It was pleasant, even if it was flawed and overlong. It reminded of another attempt to recreate the charm of the old-fashioned B-movies, Captain Sky and the World of Tomorrow, which was also a flop. The director worked by the way on an adaptation for Paramount before the rights reverted to Disney and they hired Andrew Stanton.
This is the kind of stories that George Lucas could handle almost perfectly in the early Star Wars/Indiana Jones movies and now mangles horribly.

Gypsytrill said...

I completely agree with Feisty. I loved the movie, but I am a sci-fi fanatic. I never read the novel, but it is a classic, and yes, the arena scenes are VERY reminscent of Star Wars, but the novel for this flick was written about 100 years before Star Wars. And George Lucas borrowed a LOT from previous works.
I agree with the remarks about bad marketing. I never saw the Superbowl commercials, I never saw any ads about this movie at all. I only heard about it for the first time the day before I saw it, Taylor Kitsch (whom I had never heard of) was interviewed on the Kidd Kradduck (sp?) radio program. And after the interview, they made fun of his egotism, but I was interested in the movie and went to see it and loved it.
The title sucked, and whatever marketing they had was a major FAIL. And I have to say, as much as I liked the movie, I cannot see where the $250 million went to make it, unless they actually filmed it on Mars. Most of the movie was CGI.
Just my dos centavos.

Goggles Pisano said...

Will it actually lose any money though? Even if they claim to lose $200 million, it still hasn't been released on DVD and Blu-Ray yet. This sounds like classic Hollywood accounting to me ("we'd love to pay you 1% of the net profits, but as you can see, Coming To America actually LOST money!")

Even movies like Jersey Girl and Bucky Larsen end up eventually making money on DVD sales if an audience isn't fount in theaters.

Since when did people start caring more about how a movie did on its opening weekend than how good it was?

hammyjam said...

There is no way that this is the biggest loser in box office history. It has already almost made back its whole budget in two weeks worldwide. But since most of the earnings have come internationally, people consider it to be a bomb (stupid logic).

:| raven |: said...

i cannot see the title of this movie and not think of Dr. John Carter in ER.

Sherry said...

The name John Carter sounds like some advocate for civil righs and this looks like a cross between scifi and Jason and the Argonauts. WTF is all I can say. And until last night I had never seen any advertising for it.
And Anita I just read your comments. Wonder how many others thoguht the same.

Henriette said...

Isn't that thing he's (John Carter I presume), the ancestor to the modern day sloth?

Unknown said...

Soldier Boy and I went to see this the weekend before last and we both really really enjoyed it.

It's a shame that internal studio politics resulted in the failure of this entertaining movie. I mean if something as ridiculously bad at the Twilight SAGA can average $632,094,832.......

Mooshki said...

This was better than the Star Wars prequels, and much better than Cowboys and Aliens. It had absolutely horrendous marketing. Whoever made the commercials/previews should never work in the industry again. They should've called it 'Princess of Mars.' That would've been a little cheesy, but better than 'John Carter.' Such a shame a decent movie got so screwed over.

Mooshki said...

Oh, and Battleship looks like it's going to kick ass, so I think Taylor will come out ahead this summer.

NYCGirl said...

I have no interest in seeing it, but still found this article kind of interesting: http://www.vulture.com/2012/03/john-carter-doomed-by-first-trailer.html

Woolie said...

The book about the making of Heaven's Gate is going for over $300 on amazon. Wow. The cheapest copy is $77. Interesting Michael Cimino (Heaven's Gate director) wikipedia entry. I wonder if he's the subject of any blind items? Looks like he's had a sex change. Wikipedia also mentions that Heaven's Gate was screened in LA, the full film, and many critics actually loved it. I wonder if this is what will happen with John Carter.

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