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Disney Announces John Carter Will Lose $200M

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Disney has released the following statement which we are just going to post for now, without comment, until we have had an opportunity to reflect on its timing and content.

 

“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.”

 

40 comments

  • @Andy – “The very first trailer from last year, with the Peter Gabriel song? I thought it was actually pretty good. Moody and intriguing, like lots of good teasers. ”

    I agree that i wasn’t a total bomb, i like the idea of using Peter Gabriel song in the trailer. However something is still missing and it doesn’t sell the movie 100%. However i do agree that the following silence and title change was a major error on disney’s part.

    They can blame themselves no matter what happen. Because either their incompetent in selling new material or the gave the wrong people to much control…

    I was really psyched to see a sequel

  • Disney really was never the right company for the job when it came to this project. Dropping the “Of Mars” from the title was a dreadful mistake. Calling the movie just “John Carter” told the general public absolutely nothing about the story at all. That, coupled with a lacklustre campaign did nothing to inform or generate interest in movie-goers who aren’t die-hard sci-fi fans. As it was, so many people missed out on seeing a great movie.
    I’ve seen it a couple of times so far and it’s terrific! Congratulations to the director, cast and crew who all did a job they can be proud of.

  • Dear Disney,
    F**k you. This move and wording makes no sense. If you stand to loose that much, why guarantee it by wording it in such horrendous fashion? I’m disgusted with the choice. F**k you. I’ll post a more coherant thought collection once I can think clearly again.
    All the best,
    Johnny

  • I’m becoming a bit obsessed with trying to figue out why there’s so much snarkiness and negativity regarding John Carter….at least on the internet blogs and critic reviews. I continue to read people saying the story is a confusing mess. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THINKING! I saw “John Carter” for a 2nd time, and liked it even more than I did the first time, which is saying a lot. The characters are fleshed out. It’s clear who the bad characters are. It’s clear what the bad characters are after. It’s always clear what Tars Tarkas thinks of Carter, or Dejah of Carter, or Sola of Tars and Carter. The movie, to me, has such depth and emotion. And I haven’t mentioned the amazing visuals, the fantastic old-time-like western beginning, sense of humor, creative editing, creative framing of the story, and the wonderful score. It’s sad to me that this movie could be the last Carter film Stanton makes, especially if…as it seems…Disney didn’t go all-out to make it a financial success.

    Sadly, I have a feeling Hunger Games is gonna absolutely DESTROY the box office and shove Carter even further out of the picuture. Unlike “John Carter”, there seems to be a media and critic groundswell and lovefest for the Hunger Games book, and therefore the movie. Critics seemed determined to find holes in “Carter”, but it seems like critics now are determined to love and trumpet Hunger Games. I obviously haven’t seen it, but I’m doubting it’s the film that Carter is.

  • PD: That’s another thing, not ONE “thank you” from Disney for our support & free labor doing their overpaid job in promoting the film. Total corporate assholes.

  • You know what would be nice? Getting quotes from James Cameron, George Lucas, and Stephen Spielberg, saying how much they owed to ERB — and how much they liked Stanton’s movie.

  • All they had to do was heed the advice of the fans. When I informed the Star Wars geeks at work that JC was the original superhero/space epic, they all became interested (those that saw it loved the movie). A simple invitation to celebrate the 100 year anniversary would have done the trick. Curiosities would have been piqued and crossover plagiarism silenced. The reason I picked up POM was because it was old. Disney thought its age was a liability, but like Stanton pointed out, nobody wants to see Moby Dick hunted by modern day fishermen. JC’s greatest appeal is its antiquity.

  • Dear Disney:

    The fact that you’ve thrown in the towel on “John Carter” after a mere 10 days is a slap in the face to the thousands of us who have volunteered our time and money in a grassroots effort to promote this movie. The John Carter Files’ fan trailer . . . the John Carter Reading Project . . . the successful campaign to get promotional articles published in daily newspapers across the United States . . . The “Take Me Back to Barsoom” Facebook group that has generated 5,000 members in only a few days . . . the ongoing word-of-mouth campaign — you would do well, Disney, to have the fighting spirit of the unpaid volunteers who soldier-on in the “I-still-live!” spirit of John Carter himself.

  • Of all the things that have been criticized — the first teaser trailer is pretty far down the list of “fails” in this situation. That trailer was actually the one moment in the sad history of the promotion that the film actually seemed hip, cool, atmospheric. It was, after all, a teaser trailer and that’s what it did – tease.

    Moreover, if Stanton actually got to the point where Disney marketing execs were coming to the set expecting that he had shot big action sequences only to find that he hadn’t–what does that say about Disney’s level of engagement with the film? Was anyone actually doing their job? The is always an “executive in charge of production” and that studio executive would have been well aware of any such marketing requirements and would have communicated this to Stanton — assuming said executive was paying attention.

  • “But according to said article Stanton wasn’t aware that it was a good idea to plan for big action sequences to be shot and finished early on, so they would have something for the trailers. Which may have been a part reason that the first trailer was a lackluster.”

    The very first trailer from last year, with the Peter Gabriel song? I thought it was actually pretty good. Moody and intriguing, like lots of good teasers. Then Disney went silent for months, altered the title, and the new trailers started showing the white ape over and over again. And the Super Bowl trailer consisted of the words John Carter in really big lettering, which was a classic WTF? move.

    Maybe Stanton did some things wrong by suggesting things to marketing, but I don’t believe for a second that he somehow had the entire marketing/merchandising arm of the corporation in handcuffs. “We tried selling the movie, honest, but that cartoon-making son of a bitch wouldn’t let us! If only he wasn’t such a big Led Zeppelin fan….” That’s Hollywood spin intended to make Stanton the fall guy for this and to warn that auteurs will not be tolerated in the New Disney.

  • You can trace all this back to one article: Chris Lee’s Feb 20 article in The Daily Beast. The money quote:

    “Early box-office tracking estimates for the film are extremely weak. ‘The geek generation isn’t responding. It’s too weird for the family audience. Then it has the Disney brand and Pg-13? I’m not sure who it’s for,’ says a rival studio executive who requested anonymity for fear of burning bridges in Hollywood.”

    An “anonymous studio executive” and from this one article sprung all the others that claimed Hollywood is abuzz that John Carter is expected to bomb. And then — shock! — the film bombs.

    Hollywood sure does love a self-fulfilling prophecy. Who’s making money off this huge “loss”?

  • Shame on Disney for not lifting a blessed finger to try and promote this film in any decent way. They could’ve had a HUGE hit on their hands, and they just squandered it.

  • dear disney,I saw it three times . Ive had all the books from ERB for 32 years and am reading them again.I can’t wait for the sequel.If u.s. promotion is so bad how about ahelping hand from you. Everyone I know who saw the movie loved it c’mon Help Harold C

  • Their web promotion consisted of a little subpage on their kid’s website, self promotion level stuff like youtube, twitter & facebook (all free!) and banners/sidebars – I have a friend who does that kind of promotion for a living, it’s hardly the stuff of major ad campaigns. Where was the viral campaign, the killer interactive website, the exclusive web content? This is the year 2012 not 1998.

    I have another friend who runs a bookstore. He told me that the rep for Disney books *discouraged* his children’s bookseller from stocking the Disney Editions of the Barsoom books because “it wasn’t going to do good at the box office.”

    The baffling lack of any toy promotion is even more startling. Now, I’m not exactly on board with over-promoting a movie with tons of junk merchandise and Happy Meals, but this seemed an obvious winner in the toy department. And its absence cut a major source of promotion off at the knees. Not just fir kids, but for genre geeks who can help hype a movie with word of mouth.

    And now their attitude toward JC is just shameful. This is the same company that proudly released “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” (!!!) and that makes tons of $$$ exploiting workers in third-world-countries now taking some sort of half-assed moral high ground. They made the bed now they don’t want to sleep in it: typical.

    If Andrew Stanton reads these boards, we’re with you, man, we feel your pain.

  • P.S. I obviously meant “dvd/blu ray sales” and not vhs… I’m so angry at Disney I made such a stupid mistake.

  • This is the last straw, the new executives at Disney wanted this film to flop from the start and this is the final proof!
    Aside for the poor marketing and truly horrible posters (why not using a classic illustration, like the old Star Wars posters, or something like the beautiful image used for Tron Legacy?), another proof is the complete lack of merchandise: no action figures, no plush Woolas, no stickers album or trading cards, no videogames… nothing! Disney is used to flood the market with stuff from their films, cartoon and live action, so why they did nothing at all for John Carter?
    Isn’t this proof that they wanted it to fall and disappear as quickly as possible?

    I’ve read somewhere else that it’s all the result of infighting between past and present company executives, and if that’s the real reason it’s even worse than imagined!
    Destroying such a wonderful film (and risking the careers of the many talents involved in making it a reality) for some petty quarrels is outrageous and morally despicable.
    We still have faith in the foreign markets (Japan could really help, they love SF films) and in future vhs/blu ray sales, let’s show Disney how wrong they are!

  • Love your citation from the movie, it almost brought tears to my eyes… and a big smile too!
    We are the ones who are able to recognize a great different movie, love and support it. Let’s hope our number will grow day by day…

  • Well it’s not entirely true. Yes the movie cost 2-250 mil$ i haven’t read about the only 9M$ marketing if you consider that they have numerous trailers, banners tv commercials all over the world plus the superbowl spot which aint cheap i’d say 30-50M$ is more likely. But i may be wrong. However, as you’ve said the movie has so far made 179M and will if its lucky end in the range of 250-300M$ thats a huge succes all things considered. But the have to split the earnings with theaters so if thats true, then yes they will lose approx 200M$ on John Carter in the theatrical run. One could hope that DVD and Blu-ray will recoup some of that but as much as i LOVE LOVE the film and as much as i really really want this to be the next Avatar, i’m beginning to lose faith.

    The fact that Tron is getting another sequel keeps my hopes alive, it could still happen.
    But i’ve read in an article which lays out what might have happend based in interviews and eye wittness reports, and that tells another story of how the director micro managed the trailers and decided what to use and what not to use. That scared me a bit. Because if thats true, the is Disney marketing really to blame? Or is it really that fact that Stanton was given to much credit considered being a first time live action director? One cannot doubt his filmmaking skills i think the film itself is great, all though a little condensed, but it’s not a major deal-breaker.
    But according to said article Stanton wasn’t aware that it was a good idea to plan for big action sequences to be shot and finished early on, so they would have something for the trailers. Which may have been a part reason that the first trailer was a lackluster. That was suppose to be our first impression. The one that should’ve sold us on the movie, and yet everyone relied on faith and said they needed to see more of the actor chemistry and more details to know for sure. Other films have succeeded in selling itself in the first trailers. You can have great trailers to bad films. Don’t tell me it can’t be done with John Carter either.

    Yes the marketing failed, and it failed miserably. But as much as i think it’s easy to blame it all on disney marketing, i’m not sure it’s all true. and i really don’t know if hope it’s true?

    I guess i’m just really bummed that John Carter was never the start of a new awesome series that i wanted it to be. :( – i hope i’m wrong.

  • Send in the SEC! Disney is cooking the books. 250M to make the film, 9M to market it and we heard yesterday they already made 179M world wide. Therefore, the worst they could do, if they pulled it right now is a loss of 80M. But what about DVD sales and downloads!
    JCM is a money maker, so something else is going on. Remember “Spring time for Hitler”? Disney wants this to be a flop. The big shots are probably all selling the stock short right now. There is no reason “John Carter of Mars”, I mean “John Carter”, (another brilliant marketing move on there part . . . change the name of the movie. It’s the kiss of death) couldn’t be another billion dollar franchise like “Pirates”. Just think of the Disney World attraction Mars would be!
    Maybe they took out insurance against a flop and now they want to cash in so they’re making it appear so
    Anyway, where are the auditors when you need them?

    Ken

  • Seems like Disney had abandoned John Carter long before its release. There has been not a single poster in London for example. They’re trying to prove Andrew Stanton wrong as if they want to show future directors that this is what happens when a director gets full power. As if they were making official now that they have never believed in this movie. After only two weeks out and still top 5 internationally. Will their next move be to take it out of the cinemas while it is still selling? I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tells me the whole list of articles released last month about how John Carter would become the biggest flop written by “concurrent studios” were in fact written by Disney itself. Sad…

  • The thing is, the film is in the spirit of a great Disney fantasy adventure film!

    o.k. you market it as a mix of The Avengers & Wrath of the Titens and put all your hopes on that being the movie universe of audience styles that you sell to, only to find that your marketed audience is more interested in seeing…The Avengers or Wrath of the Titens :(

    In fairness, this particular type of live action film would resonate to a fantasy print campaign for it’s success, & the route of that’s success wouldn’t show at front end but as steady upswing over time, both of which being of a somewhat different dynamic to the norm – but that’s what to expect when you make a different type of blockbuster film.

    Anyway fellow Martian Jellos, all the more reason to enjoy John Carter in 3d while you can, as much as you can, during it’s cinema run :)

  • I just want to say one last thing before I stop leaving comments for the night. As long as fans like us exist. John carter has a fighting chance to return some decent numbers. Disney is going to regret posting their loss so soon.

  • Harsh,but fair. Hopefully Disney will apologize to Andrew for how poorly they handled the film. I’m still looking forward to the Avengers like everyone else but that doesn’t change the fact what Disney still did was a Dick move.

  • Fans did not cause this… But by Issus we will end it! We ride to the theater!! We still live!!!

  • These clowns at Disney had a prime chance to make some serious coin on the back of several creative geniuses (Stanton, Burroughs, Chabon) and several excellent dramatic talents (Kitsch, Collins, Dafoe, Strong, Purefoy, West, Hinds, to name the majors). Not to mention an awesome visual effects team, coupled with an solidly engaged fan base capable of providing grass roots enthusiasm, easily harnessed to provide cost-free social media and viral marketing.

    Going into a situation like this should have been an exercise in printing money and basking in the glow of a seriously enjoyable creative work and a highly viable commercial enterprize.

    Instead here we are 11 days after launch watching these absolute asshats fall over themselves to condemn this picture, having made an utter dog’s breakfast out of royal feast via a monumental, marketing, malfunction. For shame Disney, for shame! Pack up your film unit and retire to running your amusement park. You clearly have no current ability in this sector of entertainment and you need to get your rude hands out of Pixar before you drag them down into your pathetic abyss of incompetence also. It is a crying shame Steve Jobs is not around to seriously hang some people out to dry at the house of rats.

    I am sorely disappointed and astonished at this Brobdingnagian, Barsoomian, bungle and the people who efficiently orchestrated the both the perception and actuality of failure of this project in the face of such monumental opportunity.

    Thank god the movie was actually good and in the fullness of time is very likely to receive it’s rightful due.

  • And who knows, Disney might pull a Tron Legacy on us and make another film many years later. stranger things have happened in the film industry.

  • As fans we did the best we could to support this film despite horrible marketing and support from Disney. Its not over just yet Disney. We will keep on fighting.

  • Prince of Persia by the way made 300 million world wide once it box office run ended. I expect john carter to do the same at least. The fact that Disney jumped the gun on this announcement is what I would consider a dick move on there part. It was obviously done to please all the bomb trolls and investors who were foolhardily predicting doom for this film. Andrew Stanton If you are reading this please know that I want to personally thank you for giving us filmgoers a hell of a film. Hopefully will return to Barsoom one way or another.

  • It’s such a shame.

    While Disney can’t take all the blame, their marketing globally has been terrible (as discussed everywhere).

    Even today, I walked into my local, large music and DVD store (in Sydney, Australia) and while still no “John Carter” soundtrack, there was a display of “The Hunger Games” soundtracks. . .for a movie still weeks away from release !!

    Just another example to me that they never cared enough – or never knew their business enough.

  • The ERB family should feel insulted by the very company that is synonymous with family….Disney should be ashamed of themselves for not backing this movie from the beginning…I feel sad for the ERB family, that they have been subjected to world wide ridicule of these wonderful classics…I feel sad for Andrew Stanton who put his heart and soul into this project, and created the vision..I feel sad for all the cast and crew who worked so hard for so many months to bring this story to life..and I feel sad that the careers of so many will ultimately be affected by the few who deemed this movie and it’s story a failure…The overwhelming cruelty of the media is shocking…And ….that Disney has allowed this to happen and has essentially written off this film in two weeks time is inconceivable ..

  • Such a damn shame.I’m sure the worldwide results will be okay but for now will have to deal with bad news like this. if anyone is reading this comment go and see the film right now. It wont help at this point but it will show Disney that this film will not go down without a fight.

  • “Dear fans & audiences everywhere: Instead of ensuring the success of this major release, we got into a pissing-match with the director for no good reason and destroyed any chance of it being a success. Sorry for completely ruining what might have been the break-out success of the year. We could sell Singing Tarzan but we couldn’t get anyone to check out a live action epic. While this will in no way effect the execs & higher-ups here, we’re going to continue pissing on the movie itself in public so that nobody misses the point: we fucking HATE this project and wish it a speedy descent into obscurity. Thanks for your support.

    Sincerely,
    The ‘Walt’ Disney Company.”

    Next up: Disneyland Haiti – Mickey’s Sweatshop Fun Palace!!

  • Disney what did the critics say about Star Wars when it came out? The fans loved it! How many sequels did it have?

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