From Entertainment Weekly: There’s some good news and some bad news for Disney this morning. Good news: The studio’s John Carter led the box office on Friday with an estimated $9.8 million (including $500,000 from midnight showings), giving the $250 million sci-fi epic at least one moment at the top.
The bad news: It won’t last very long. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax was right behind with $9.6 million, and that movie should soar today and Sunday thanks to family audiences — last week, the animated fable jumped 79 percent from Friday to Saturday. John Carter, on the other hand, was likely front-loaded with sci-fi fans. End result: The Lorax will win the weekend with around $40 million, while John Carter will have to settle for second with about $29 million.
John Carter, which was helmed by the Oscar-winning Pixar director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E), was pegged as a potential flop months ago. Only until the very last moment did Disney’s marketing campaign get around to actually revealing the film’s story: Former Confederate captain gets teleported to Mars, where he can leap great distances due to the planet’s lesser gravity. A generic title (which was shortened from John Carter of Mars) and mixed reviews didn’t help matters either.
John Carter received a good-but-not-great “B+” rating from CinemaScore audiences, but it’s the market research firm’s demographic info that’s the most interesting. The film’s audience was 65 percent male, indicating that the picture turned off women. John Carter also skewed older, with 69 percent of the audience at least 25 years old. By comparison, only 48 percent of The Lorax‘s audience was 25 and up. Naturally, as a PG-13 film, John Carter should play older than The Lorax, but not that much older. And when asked whether the “actor in the lead role” was a “reason for attending this movie,” only 8 percent of the audience said yes, suggesting that star Taylor Kitsch wasn’t responsible for selling many tickets.