"John Carter" to lose $200 million for Disney

In this film image released by Disney, Taylor Kitsch is shown in a scene from "John Carter." The Walt Disney Co. said Monday that it expects to book a loss of $200 million on the movie in the quarter through March. That?s among Hollywood?s biggest money-losers ever. (AP Photo/Disney, Frank Connor) Frank Connor

Taylor Kitsch is shown in a scene from "John Carter."
AP Photo/Disney/Frank Connor
(CBS/AP) - "John Carter" is now officially a flop of galactic proportions.

The Walt Disney Co. said 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 3-D 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 theater 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.

There was plenty of material for sequels and prequels but they seem highly unlikely now.

With a 51 percent "Tomatometer" rating on movie site Rotten Tomatoes, the film got average reviews. 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.

Disney said the loss on "John Carter" will cause its studio to lose $80 million to $120 million for the quarter. Profits from other movies and home video disc sales will be more than wiped out.

The flop ranks with history's biggest box office disasters, although it's tough to rank them precisely because of inflation and incomplete disclosure.

It's not clear how much box office revenue Disney needed to break even on "John Carter," but one estimate pegged it around $600 million worldwide. Disney hopes to overcome the setback with other big-budget movies this year, including "The Avengers" from its Marvel subsidiary in May and Pixar's "Brave" in June.

Tell us: Did you see "John Carter"? What did you think?

  • CBS News Staff

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