So Much For That Sequel: Disney Announces They've Lost $200 Million On 'John Carter'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
March 19, 2012 5:16 PM
36 Comments
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Well, you can consider this one the first huge flop of the year, and what will likely be regarded as one of the big disasters of 2012. Disney have officially announced that they are taking a $200 million bath on the big budget film. Here's what they had to say in their official statement (via Deadline):

“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. 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. 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.”

While there was some enthusiastic talk about a sequel "John Carter: The Gods Of Mars" in the lead up to the release of the movie, you can pretty much kiss that goodbye. And while word on the final budget, whether or not the media was unfair towards the movie and who exactly needs to be blamed for this fiasco will still be discussed in the coming days and weeks, the simple fact of the matter is: the movie just wasn't very good. And if you are one of the few who is a defender of the flick, it's hard to argue that the marketing (largely believed to have been spearheaded and managed by director Andrew Stanton) absolutely missed completely with a muddled message that didn't give anybody a reason to care about who John Carter is.

The announcement is also a sign that Disney is pretty much done with this flick and will let it die off in the theaters where it is already dropping like a stone. And yeah, "The Avengers" and "Brave" will be easier, no brainer layups for the studio though it should be noted: the former is a Marvel movie and the mouse house is already in the hole $115 million, the amount they paid Paramount for the distribution rights and "Brave" is flying under the Pixar shingle. The only other Disney produced movie this year? "The Odd Life Of Timothy Green."

So after years and years and years of development, "John Carter" -- once poised as a great sci-fi franchise -- has now died quietly and it will likely be the last we hear that character in a cinematic context for a loooong time.

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36 Comments

  • terry | March 10, 2014 7:01 PMReply

    the movie was a flop because Disney dent know how to run a movie business , prove is its the best film I've ever seen , you did not advertise it like u did avitar , i see it on dvd , i see your add on tv but it did not make me want to see it at cinema , i run business wholesale food for 30 years and i can run that business better than Disney can don't claim the film claim your foolish self , you let every one down , you invest on a great director and actors fantastic and ur advertising team let all of them down and also me as a fan , and everyone else that loves great movies , disney fault , no one else's , don't the bose check these things when u put so much money into a new production that should have run like a kfc ,,,mmmm dump , how much the bose got paid when u not do his job well at all , maybe he is the same as a bonus banker !! ,to be honest I'm a bit mad about this ,

  • Robert A. Van Fleet, Sr. | March 2, 2014 4:23 PMReply

    Really? That's about the biggest non-committed denial I have every heard. Disney should relook at their publicists for part of that loss. The movie was very well done, but VERY poorly advertised. It could have easily become one of the larger sci-fi movies / series of the decade with proper ads. I have not seen anyone that had anything but good to say about the film once they watched it except "how come I didn't know about this movie", really Disney you dropped the ball on this one.

  • Ron Paul | February 16, 2014 5:27 AMReply

    Everybody I have asked about this movie that has seen it , loves it
    and would love to pay to see it on the big screen. I would take my whole
    family to see it , let's go Disney

  • Ron Paul 2016 | February 16, 2014 5:22 AMReply

    I think the therns do not want part2 to come out!

  • JP | January 28, 2014 11:58 PMReply

    i still to this day watch this movie. i though it was great and a big let down that you are to scared to do a second movie.

  • Bob Beaver | January 28, 2014 3:39 PMReply

    JOHN CARTER 2 OF MARS! JOHN CARTER 2 OF MARS! YEAH BABY, BRING IT ONNNN! So they messed up with marketing the first, here's the chance to market both films, afresh and win new fans!

  • kaku | December 18, 2013 3:53 AMReply

    world disney fuk ur ass The movie was very good .they should make part 2 of hohn carter . madarchod sale money kamane ke liye bol rahe hai movie bahoot achha tha

  • CHRISTOPHER hOUSE | October 29, 2013 11:12 PMReply

    This is such bull shat that Can not be-leave it, that move made over 200,000,000 World wide, and was on the watch movies for three weeks, why would they lie about their own movie? this was a good movie and of course they would not want to make a sequel? what the heck is this guy talking about where did he get his facts. I have completely different figures>? the Shame of this so called critic and scared that people might get into sci fi again?

  • Henry Valencia | August 11, 2013 7:05 PMReply

    I think your wrong the movie was good and entertaining it was different it may not have brought you the millions that you would have hopped for but it was different from all the blood and guts and animated movies. That already out there this movie reminded my of swiss family robenson a great movie something that not only children can enjoy

  • Ann | August 9, 2013 9:07 PMReply

    Wtf! You guys just lost more than $200M, you guys lost fans as well as supporters. This was a great movies, you just proved how dumb you arr

  • David | April 8, 2013 1:03 PMReply

    This was a good movie. Just as good as any of the Star Wars movies. Disney just screwed up the marketing of it. The adds did not make sense. The only reason I watched it later on DVD was because my kids had some friends go to at the theater and said we should watch it. If the marketing would have been better I would have liked to have seen it in a theater on a larger screen. So now they loose lots of money an we loose on seeing a great set of movies. I just hope Disney doesn't screw up the rest of the Star Wars franchise it was great before. I guess we will just have to see.

  • jbug | March 10, 2013 2:08 PMReply

    Loved it!! Wish they would make part 2!!! I wanna know what happens

  • Connie Capone | May 5, 2013 1:04 PM

    There are 5 books and they are free to download. They are fabulous and I can't believe Disney messed up the promotion and marketing. I would love to see the other books made into movies too! Go and read them!

  • Gogar | September 10, 2012 3:18 PMReply

    Isn't a fiscal "loss" equal to not reaching estimated profit? Say you make a movie for 100m... estimate the profit to 400m and only make a total of 200m... Oh, then you've had a loss of 200m!!! Uhmm, no.. You only made 100m instead of 300m... That is the way corporation counts. Just look at the car industry losing money every quarter... When is it time for bankrupcy?

  • BJ | July 10, 2012 9:05 AMReply

    This entire article seems to be a complete fabrication. The information doesn't check out. This movie was quite original, and it came out quite strong, thank you very much.

  • Idiots Everywhere | July 10, 2012 9:50 AM

    Uhh, Disney announced the loss itself, you moron. They fabricated it themselves?

  • Elliot | June 11, 2012 10:52 PMReply

    John Carter was awesome! If you didn't like it then you must hate really good movies. I can't wait for another installment and I never listen to critics bs so save your reasons why there won't be another one cause I don't care!

  • Jake gehrke | May 20, 2012 1:00 PMReply

    I thought it was awesome to it could be a real big thing just like star wars if it had a chance I hope they make a second one my family loved John carter

  • andrrew meawasin | May 18, 2012 11:18 AMReply

    All you steers and queers who enjoyed this movie should suck a fat mandingo. John Carter blew more cock than a teenage pornstar. Disney can go fuck itself. I want my 12 dollars back for seeing this wretched movie. John Farter.

  • terry | June 2, 2013 6:52 PM

    john carter i never knew there was a book f it long time ago and their were many novals .,we we watched harry potter rubbish ,can u imagine urself as harry potter ,looked a wimp as well ,but is good actor ,but john carter yes we all like to be him ,i watch 4x now and i still want to keep it ,just like alin vs preditor they said no good when its the best one ,the girl in it was cool ,film critics are paid in their pockets u read the writing go see it and its rubbish ,iron man 3 we like a soap series ,who want to be a man that acts immature ,john carter was cool ,great actor love him and her with those blue eyes

  • John Carter | July 26, 2012 6:39 PM

    You should learn to show some respect you little piece of shit. "John Carter" was for sure a brilliant movie, and I'm aware of that you don't know a shit about good movies. You should shut your mouth and eat your cereal. And for your information; in Norway, the movie ticket did cost about 20$, and I would for sure pay twice the money to watch that movie again.

  • Kirk | April 4, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    Well i thought john carter was a brilliant movie, and i cant wait for the second one, have any of yous actually read the books? If you havent then i think you should then you will realise what potential this franchise has, once i heard this movie was coming out i bought the whole collection an i can honestly say i havent put them down, how does this movie or movies stand a chance if noone gives it one, people these days are so narrow minded an have no imagination, get your head out your iphone and read a book. by the sounds of it the second one is going to be much better and the third also which has a tense thrilling ending, so what it didnt make as much money as it hoped, you know what to do next time make the next one even bigger and better, put more focus in the production of the film more than the franchise toys n t-shirts as such. If i was a multi millionare i would actually put my own money into production to see a sequel and trilogy, and if they wanted the forth and fifth, sadly im not :(, an i can just hope disney gives it another go. Yes to john carter 2 & 3

  • doike | May 15, 2012 3:10 PM

    Kaor Kirk! I agree with U. I loved John Carter...and I think Disney did very little to save it, or at least to market it properly. At this moment it´s one of the most anticipated DVD-BR in AMAZON. Where is the merchandising? It´s non-existent. The supposedly 100 millions spent in marketing were pretty invisible too. There were DarkShadows posters in bus-stops in Spain. But I barely catched one TV spot of JohnCarter. If you check comments, please, join us in Take me Back to Barsoom Facebook group.

  • randyu | March 25, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    who DIDNT see this coming? from day 1 i was like 'no one is gonna care about this'. all these dumb movies with big battles in the desert and spears and horses and crap. they're allllllllllll the same. just huge fight scenes with young hot people running around half naked. garbageeee. this gives me a slimmer of hope that the movie going public have a shred of common sense still in them.

  • Wendy | March 20, 2012 6:54 PMReply

    What I find interesting is why a studio would announce that its film is a "failure" not even two weeks after it is released, when it has been listed as the #1 grossing film worldwide for two weeks? The only market it didn't reach that in is the US market and here it was #2 its opening week. Based on the numbers coming in from overseas and with DVD/cable sales added in, there is a chance that this movie will end up making a profit. Perhaps not a blockbuster profit, but it is not the disaster that the studio is making it out to be at this all too early date. I've seen the film and enjoyed it. No, it is not a candidate for best picture of the year, but as a summer adventure flick, it certainly held its own and was entertaining.

  • JenMur | March 20, 2012 12:15 AMReply

    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).

    http://mankabros.com/blogs/btp/2012/03/09/john-carter-review/

  • Mike | March 19, 2012 9:17 PMReply

    It's only just started worldwide, & it'll make TV/DVD/merchandising money. Of course it'll be a right down with the overspending they did on this, but how can they honestly make that prediction at this point? It's like they wanted to make a public mea culpa as soon as possible to throw the project under the bus rather than the studio making the decisions/marketing. Hence throwing out the, BUT PIXAR & MARVEL ARE STILL ALL OURS SO WE'RE GOLDEN NBD at the end of the statement.

  • jingmei | March 19, 2012 9:10 PMReply

    John Carter is a quite good film since it gathered a very good ensemble cast such as William Defoe, Dominique West, Samantha Morton and so on. For this part also for this sci-fi's having more humanity evoirnment sake. Assumed it's technically made by Briliant Brit People, but was distributed by Hollywood, and today's blockbusters world kinda gets such kind of producing big budget stuff sense circle.

  • James | March 19, 2012 9:29 PM

    Well said, Google Translate. Amazingly, out of the linguistic pileup there, I'm now pondering Dominique West. I'm thinking it involves Dominic in drag, which is a horrifying thought.

  • SR | March 19, 2012 6:55 PMReply

    Gosh, it's just like Green Lantern all over again. We'll see what else bombs this summer like say Battelship? Poor Taylor Kitsch.

  • Hombre Gato | March 19, 2012 6:34 PMReply

    If Stanton spearheaded the marketing as you say, that makes the anti-Disney pro-Stanton mob even more laughable. When that fan trailer was released and everyone said "THAT'S how you market John Carter"... it still looked awful. What you have, regardless of how you edit it, is a pretty boy, who's strongest credit is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, saving a princess, who's strongest credit is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with a trusty sidekick... an animated character.

  • LeonRaymond | March 19, 2012 5:47 PMReply

    @LEN RAMIREZ
    I agree with you and what angers me is that Disney was so quick to write this film off and close the door behind them. Why do this make a whole bunch of small budgeted films at $1.Million and $2 Million and $5 Million, that's where filmmakers like my self come into play and take those profits and make a John Carter with no dark cloud hanging over it, then let the audience grow without the threat of critics bashing it. Position your studio correctly make Urban films Horror films at a small budget and then make your 1 huge film from the profits and then do it again. it's sheer ignorance to say that the film was a flop cause it didn't make their expectations back x 10

  • Alex Porter | March 19, 2012 5:41 PMReply

    Good riddance. This movie was terrible.

  • Len Ramirez | March 19, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    I've read so many reviews of this movie with incorrect statements in it. I've sat in early premieres of films with so-called critics who up and leave 20 minutes into the film and then write their reviews of the movie as if they stayed and watched the entire thing.

    The fact is, this movie did stand on its own, carried the same mystery and secrets you expect from a Disney film, and actually was entertaining. It was not a blockbuster, but was advertised, and advertised incorrectly as one to the wrong crowds.

    Disney needs to give the proper audience a look by showing up at the proper venues to advertise them and stop calling their films classics and blockbusters until after they become classics and blockbusters. Leave that up to us, the paying audience.

    Everything from Disney is not golden. This proves it. But let's not call a movie a bomb unless it's a bomb. From the perspective of money spent, the movie has made more than it cost. The money it has not made back is the marketing money. Disney can eat that. Blame it on the right people. You can't exactly call a film that makes $180M and counting a failure. That's a lot of tickets. From a financial perspective it's a failure, but not from an entertainment perspective.

  • Yo Dude | March 19, 2012 8:10 PM

    Len - your comments ignore the basic financial model of the film business and the reported numbers thus far. The movie is estimated to have cost in excess of $250mil to produce, and anywhere from $100mil to $150mil to market and distribute.

    Remember that the theater owners take a cut of the box office receipts (45% or so), which means the movie needs to exceed $450(ish)mil in revenue to recoup its negative cost, and well over $600mil to break even. Sure there's DVD, Blu-Ray, VOD, and TV and the like, but those numbers are fairly tied to the theatrical success of the film.

    At the end of the day, the Disney model of putting all their eggs into the tentpole basket is looking short sided. Remember, these are the guys that decided not to make a sequel of The Proposal (dom gross of $164mil on a $40mil budget) because it didn't fit their model.

  • Oogle monster | March 19, 2012 5:30 PMReply

    I'm curious... did WB make a statement about how much $ they lost on Green Lantern? Or did the film somehow recoup its budget/marketing costs?

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