March 19, 2012

SHOWBUZZDAILY BOXOFFICE: “John Carter” Is Not A Success – 3/18/12

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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For anyone who thought the angst over JOHN CARTER‘s boxoffice returns was overstated:  Disney has issued a public statement advising that it expects the film to result in a $200M loss, which will singlehandedly pull the Disney film studio as a whole to a loss of $80-120M for this calendar quarter.  That’s less horrific when it’s looked at in the context of The Walt Disney Company as a whole (television, theme parks and all other business included), since the Studio Entertainment division of the company provides only around 15% of Disney’s total revenues.  Nevertheless… Ow.

The Disney statement looks forward to the releases of The Avengers and Brave to pick things up in the next quarter.  Both films will undoubtedly make far more at the boxoffice than John Carter.  But in the case of Avengers, Disney’s revenue will be hobbled by the deal it had to make with Paramount in order to take over distribution, after Disney purchased Marvel.  Since Paramount owned the rights to the movie due to its release of the various component parts of the Avengers team (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America), Disney agreed to take a small percentage of boxoffice gross as a fee, similar to the deal Paramount has had with DreamWorks Animation.  (It also had to delete its name from all marketing materials, distributing as “Marvel”.)  So while Avengers success will certainly help, it won’t add a huge amount to the studio’s bottom line.  Brave, too, has its risks, being the first Pixar film with a female protagonist, as well as being set in Scotland with accented voices (far more realistically so, based on the trailer, than How To Train Your Dragon).  Still, Cars 2 aside, Pixar has always been a good bet, even (especially) on its seemingly biggest risks.    
If either of those summer blockbusters were to falter, it could be a long dismal year at the Mouse House.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."