John Carter enjoys “comeback weekend” at the box-office — up 1200% vs previous weekend

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Avenger wasn’t the only film to do something extraordinary this past weekend.  John Carter, on it’s “move-over” weekend where it picked up 165 second run theaters, bringing it’s total screens up to 385, saw its weekend tally jump from $125,000 the previous weekend, to $1,049M as initially reported on Sunday (including estimates) and $1,494,367 as reported today (actuals).  That’s an increase of  1,224%.  Also, the per screen average jumped from $627 per screen the previous weekend, to $4,282 this weekend — a number that put it in second place overall behind Avengers on a  per screen average.

Trying to put some perspective on this, we looked at the films that Box Office Mojo considers to be “com parables” for John Carter — Cowboys and Aliens, Green Lantern, and Prince of Persia.  All of them experienced an uptick on the “move-over” week — but nothing like this.  the best of the lot was Prince of Persia which went from  $49,000 to $229,000 on the equivalent weekend, an increase of $363%, with a per-screen jump of $731 to $1,138.

The fact that this happened on Avengers weekend is what  muddies the waters.  Was it Avengers overflow?  But if that were the case, wouldn’t other films have been equally affected, or at least similarly?  There is no evidence of that in the Box Office Mojo numbers — it’s only John Carter with this big a jump.

We are waiting to see if Disney has anything to say about this.  As a harbinger of the Home Entertainment release, this has to be construed as good news — but caution is indicated until more is known about how Avengers played a role in this.


  • Noticed that Finke is showing a projected 1.2M weekend for The Raven at #10 this weekend. Wouldn’t it be sweet if John Carter could better that this weekend, but probably there’s not enough momentum from The Avengers since it’s on its second weekend and will be down but still number 1. Too bad other movies weren’t down enough for JC to sneak in to the Top 10 last weekend. More people would’ve had to write about it being in the Top 10. Movie Clock has it currently playing in 250 theaters in the US this weekend. Found a dead listing for Muskegon… only way I could figure out how to get the other cities where it’s playing. The website tries to keep you in the city you pick if you enter from main pages.

  • Ernie, very interesting comment indeed. But if I’m not mistaken, Avengers is a Marvel Studios movie, it was not funded by Disney, which only bought the distribution rights from Paramount for 115 millions, if the reports were true. Unless the Avengers budget was already lessened by Marvel Studios, which is always a possibility, I don’t see how it fits with the reasoning. Do you imply that John Carter cost in fact less than 250 millions, or that his marketing cost was artificially inflated to 100 millions to compensate for the losses of other franchises?

  • Ernie,
    What’s your theory on why they announced the 200m writedown only 10 days into the theatrical run, instead of announcing it today in their quarterly report like they usually do, or perhaps I should say burying it in their quarterly report as they usually do?

    Interested in your comments — don’t worry about length. We have lengthy comments all the time around here.


  • I could write an article about this, but this being a reply section I will keep my comment as short as possible.

    The movie “John Carter” was not the flop that mainstream movie media (which only reads press releases) and Disney Studios would like you to believe. It is the latest victim of the Disney accounting department.

    Each year Disney (movie division) usually picks at least one (sometimes two) movies to post a major loss to help write off expenses from other franchises to have them appear more profitable and popular. Disney also will hide a major loss from another year if the movie econmics were poor all around, and carry them forward to their scheduled flop. By doing this Disney inflates value of popular franchises which can help in DVD sales, school lunch boxes, anything to do with Disney on film (for the record other Disney divisions such as cruise lines, amusement parks television channels don’t operate this way).

    Recent Disney scheduled flops besides “John Carter” (2012) include “Mars Deserves Moms” (2011) (which never should have been released and was forecast to fail as early as 2009) and Tangled (2010) which didn’t flop but was supposed to resulting in the closure in Disney CGI (remember they also own Pixar) but has now been kept open because of the success of Tangled and the death of Steve Jobs (another long story).

    Here’s a challenge. Look at the budget for “John Carter” ($250 million) and compare it to the budget to “The Avengers” ($225 million). Compare the number of “A” list actors in “John Carter” to that of “The Avengers.” Compare the number of special effects in “John Carter” to “The Avengers.” The bottom line is if “The Avengers” cost $225 million to make, there is no way that “John Carter” could have cost more, and the marketing was significantly less for “John Carter” than “The Avengers”. However, if you can shave some of “The Avenger” budget off and move it over to “John Carter” and add some of the losses from some of last summers less successful films, but more established franchises such as “Cars 2” and the second “official” Winnie the Pooh movie, and you still have three successful franchises and one flop.

    After all, how many kids would chose a John Carter lunchbox over Winnie the Pooh, Cars or the Avengers? And I really haven’t seen much Rapunzel merchandise from “Tangled”. There is a reason certain Disney movies appear to have flopped.

  • mall crowds perhaps? most of these theaters are attached to malls to my knowledge .. . .

    does it have any competition in these theaters?

  • Seems like a case of great word of mouth combined with the shift to second run theaters to me. There aren’t that many theaters that normally run both first run and second run movies — theaters tend to focus on one or the other. And if it was merely AVENGERS overflow other movies would have experienced similar box office boosts. For example, according to Box Office Mojo THE HUNGER GAMES box office take fell about 48%, whereas the previous weekend’s drop was only around 26%.

    I expect there is a lot of people out there who didn’t see JOHN CARTER when it was first in theaters but were encouraged to go see the movie by friends & family that did watch the film. Hopefully this proves to be a good portent for the home video release.

  • The drive-in theory is good. The fact that the ticket prices are so low may help, too. I saw it Friday night at a 7pm show at the Farmington Civic Theater for $3.50. There were more people there than most of the showings I attended at the first run theaters.

  • The Avengers and John Carter are two of my personal favorite films this year. The fact that John Carter is still making some money despite leaving most theater’s and that I’ts doing so despite the fact that a juggernaut film such as the Avengers just opened is absolutely stunning. Not bad for a film that’s considered the biggest flop in cinematic history.

  • I talked about this with someone earlier and either it was the move to those cheaper theaters or as was mentioned in another comment section on here the fact that quite a few drive-ins had John Carter as the second feature with The Avengers. I don’t know if they split the price of the tickets or not but if they did, and considering how much Avengers made, that could help.

    That’s just my theory, probably wrong but I just thought I would throw it out there.

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