Disney has announced that John Carter's disappointing box office returns means the Andrew Stanton-directed sci-fier / actioner will lose $200 million this quarter. The studio's total operating loss is estimated to range between $80 and $120 million.
John Carter has been a downright flop in North America, where it has grossed only $53.22 million after ten days. Overseas, however, despite stories to the contrary, the film is performing well, having collected an estimated $126.1 million to date. Had John Carter cost $100 million, all would been (reasonably) well. But with a reported price tag of $250 million, plus another estimated $100 million or so in marketing / distribution expenses, John Carter would need to earn about $700 million to recover its cost at the worldwide box office.
Disney will likely fare much better with the upcoming The Avengers, starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner as various Marvel superheroes, and the Pixar production Brave, featuring the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, and others.
Next, Andrew Stanton, best known for the Oscar-winning animated feature WALL-E, will be credited for the characters found in Monsters University, which comes out in 2013. Stanton has no future directorial projects listed on the IMDb, though John Carter: Gods of Mars is listed as being "in development."
In February, when asked about Gods of Mars, Stanton told Ain't It Cool News:
Yeah, well I mean if we go that way it's going to be a huge movie again and you can't get started early enough. Nobody has ever made a promise to me, but nobody has ever also led me on, it's been a very honest discussion from day one with Disney of like “Look, this may work. This may not work and if it works then we will go for another one. If it doesn't we won't,” but I always need as much prep time as I can to get stuff right and I'm talking about the story. You can never be working on the story long enough. You need as much time as you can get, so if this ends up going on the shelf as a script I still consider it pretty damn good practice and we will be ready if we ever do go to it again.
Considering the box office performance of the first John Carter, chances are Disney won't be all that willing to spend money on a sequel. Last year, Disney lost about $70 million as a result of another costly Martian flick, the Robert Zemeckis-produced Mars Needs Moms.
Taylor Kitsch / Lynn Collins / John Carter image: Disney Enterprises.