Disney admits John Carter may be the biggest flop in movie history 10 years ago

Disney admits John Carter may be the biggest flop in movie history

Two weeks after the release of their $250 million fantasy epic John Carter, Disney has had to admit that the film may lose over $200 million, making it the biggest flop ever.

Don't say we didn't see it coming. In our 'Top five movies to avoid in 2012' piece on January 2, we predicted that the Taylor Kitsch-starring film "could be the flop of the decade, never mind 2012". As it turns out, we may have actually underestimated the lack of pulling power that the film had, as it's now likely to yield the biggest loss on any movie of all time, not just this decade.


Despite the fact that the Andrew Stanton-directed adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs 'A Princess of Mars' tale currently stands at $184 million in worldwide box office takings, standard Hollywood math is that a film needs to gross double its production and advertising costs to break even, as cinemas usually take 50 per cent of the gross.

With that in mind, John Carter's lack of cultural recognition in modern times, a bloated budget and a lack of star power from its cast saw the movie doomed from the start. With a production budget of $250 million and an advertising budget of $100 million, the film needed to hit around $700 million worldwide.

Disney, however, knows that this is impossible at this stage and have essentially admitted to their shareholders that the film will cost the studio $200 million in operating losses. Here's what the mouse house had to say:

"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."


Prior to the release of John Carter, the biggest box office bomb was another Disney release, the 2011 CGI sci-fi adventure Mars Needs Moms. Much like John Carter, the film was set on Mars, while its underperformance actually led to the studio dropping its original title 'John Carter of Mars' in case any associations would cause the film to similarly underperform. Great thinking guys...