Disney admits biggest film flop for second year in row

Walt Disney has confirmed what the critics already know – science fiction blockbuster John Carter is a flop.

But even flops have a habit of eventually making back their costs after worldwide cinema takings, DVD sales and pay TV rights are taken into account.

For example, Kevin Costner’s Waterworld back in 1996 went on to gross $US264 million, while last year’s Cowboys and Aliens – a similar genre crossover to John Carter – and The Green Lantern also emerged on the positive side of the ledger.

But Walt Disney is taking its John Carter losses up front, based on poor US box office takings since its release two weeks ago.

So far it has taken $US179 million at box offices worldwide with $US53.2 million in the US alone.

In New Zealand, however, it was the biggest grossing film last weekend with $US168,885, nudging out new release Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Total takings for two weeks are nearly $US600,000, a respectable figure that nearly equates to what Underworld Awakening and the comedy This Means War have done over longer periods.

The studio says it expects to lose $US200 million on John Carter and this could result in an $US80-120 million loss for the movie division in the current quarter.

However, the company is still likely to make a substantial quarterly profit thanks to its pay TV and theme park businesses.

It is estimated John Carter cost $US250 million to make with another $US100 million spent on marketing. Box Office Mojo estimates it could eventually make $US300 million.

The film is based on a series of books written by the author of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, early last century in what were called “interplanetary romances.” The series began with A Princess of Mars in 1912 and ended with John Carter of Mars, published after the author's death in 1964.

The word “Mars” was dropped from the film title after another Disney movie, Mars Needs Moms, was last year’s biggest flop. It reputedly cost $US150 million to make but only took $US40 million worldwide.

1 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

1 Comment & Question

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

This was not only a financial nightmare - it was a creative nightmare. Many fanboys (and girls) dreams for a great "John Carter" movie were crushed by Disney. Here is a hilarious review by a drunken Finnish film critic who loved the books as a boy growing up in Finland (and, yes, his dreams for this one was crushed by Hollywood).


  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot


Sym Price Change
USD 0.7160 0.0005 0.07%
AUD 0.9401 -0.0008 -0.09%
EUR 0.6586 0.0010 0.15%
GBP 0.5868 0.0011 0.19%
HKD 5.5537 0.0026 0.05%
JPY 74.4200 0.0750 0.10%


Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1266.0 1.750 2016-10-21T00:
Oil Brent 51.8 0.390 2016-10-21T00:
Oil Nymex 50.9 0.200 2016-10-21T00:
Silver Index 17.5 -0.056 2016-10-21T00:


Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 6973.8 6978.9 6973.8 -0.22%
NASDAQ 5238.6 5259.1 5241.8 0.30%
DAX 10710.5 10737.3 10701.4 0.09%
DJI 18152.6 18168.8 18162.3 -0.09%
FTSE 7026.9 7058.4 7026.9 -0.09%
HKSE 23431.6 23509.6 23374.4 0.28%
NI225 17216.6 17244.7 17184.6 0.15%
ASX 5430.3 5430.3 5430.3 -0.40%