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John Carter opens to 'soft' $30.6 million in US

John Carter

Story by Jack Foley

ANDREW Stanton’s sci-fi epic John Carter has opened to a relatively soft $30.6 million in US cinemas, prompting fears that Disney is going to suffer a substantial loss on the film.

The 3D epic had been touted as a potential franchise starter to rival the likes of Star Wars – which, ironically, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ source material inspired – but will now struggle to break even given the expense lavished upon making and promoting it.

According to industry insiders, John Carter cost $250 million to produce plus a further estimated $50 million to market, taking the total price-tag over $300 million.

The film did take $70.6 million internationally, including the UK, to bring its combined total so far to $101.2 million but even the most optimistic forecast would see the film bettering the budget and prompting a sequel, despite positive word of mouth from people who had seen it.

In the US, the film was even beaten to the number one spot by Universal and Illumination’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which took a further $39.1 million in its second week to bring its total so far to $122 million. The film had broken records the previous weekend.

Commenting on John Carter‘s performance, Dave Hollis, executive vice president of worldwide distribution at Disney, told The Hollywood Reporter: “While of course we appreciate the larger economics of the film, we’re encouraged with how it’s been received by audiences and hope to see that generate positive word of mouth.”

Of the other new US releases, Eddie Murphy’s latest, critically mauled offering A Thousand Words also struggled at the box office.

The film opened in sixth spot with $6.4 million, although it did marginally better than Imagine That ($5.5 million) and Meet Dave ($5.2 million). Ironically, the film had been on hold for four years awaiting release based on Murphy’s low box office performances of late.

Elizabeth Olson horror remake Silent House tied for No. 4 with holdover Act of Valor, grossing $7 million apiece.

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