John Carter is now officially a flop of galactic proportions. Walt Disney Co said on Monday that it expects to book a loss of $200 million on the movie in the quarter through March. That ranks it among Hollywood’s all-time biggest money-losers.
Directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, the 3D effects-laden movie about a civil war veteran transplanted to Mars was already headed to the “Red Ink Planet,” according to Cowen & Co analyst Doug Creutz. Yet he expected a write-down of about half that size.
Disney said John Carter has brought in about $184 million in ticket sales worldwide so far. But ticket sales are split roughly in half with theatre owners. The movie’s production budget is estimated to be about $250 million with about $100 million more spent on marketing.
The movie was based on a series of books written by the late Edgar Rice Burroughs, starting with A Princess of Mars in 1912 and ending with John Carter of Mars, published posthumously in 1964.
The poor reception was a shock given Stanton’s directing success with movies like Finding Nemo and Wall-E, each of which won an Oscar for best animated feature.
Other recent flops
Disney’s eerily real computer animated movie Mars Needs Moms from last year cost about $150 million to make but only sold $40 million in tickets worldwide, according to Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Warner Bros’ Speed Racer from 2008 cost about $120 million, but took in only about $94 million in theatres.
Columbia Pictures’ Ishtar in 1987 cost about $40 million but sold only $14 million in tickets domestically, he said.