“Flop” JOHN CARTER Grosses Surpasses Production Budget

Posted on 02 April 2012 by William Gatevackes

Media cynics were calling it a failure from the time its first reel unspooled. But with another $2 million domestically and a strong showing overseas, John Carter has now grossed $254,510,000 worldwide in four weeks, $4,510,000 over its estimated $250 million production budget.

A $4 million profit doesn’t seem like anything to shout about, especially if you, like most of the naysayers are now doing, choose to add its advertising budget of approximately $100 million to the total hurdle the film needs to cover come (Personally, I choose not to because A) every film has an advertising budget and that cost should be considered an institutional expense, and B) when the critics like a film and promote it as a box office success, they never include the advertising then, making its inclusion here seem like dirty pool). However, the film is coming of two weeks of a strong showing in China (where it was the number one film two weeks running to the tune of another $30 million) and its set to open in Japan, another country that likes its 3-D blockbusters, on April 13th. Which means that profit will only go up.

Of course, the naysayers are still saying nay. Box Office Mojo points out that the film’s overseas grosses “plummeted” 72% to $6.2 million this past weekend. That number seems quite dubious since the films grosses in Mainland China has averaged $14 million per weekend for the two prior weeks, and actually made more on its second weekend than its first. To have drop off that left the grosses as just a fraction of that total seems unrealistic.

Regardless, if we need any more proof of the true popularity of the film, we have to look no farther than Amazon.com. Amazon shoppers who signed up for e-mails to alert them of DVD & Blu-Ray new releases were informed that they were able to pre-order John Carter on video today. As of this writing, the Blu-Ray 3-D/Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy was the #1 selling item in Amazon’s Science-Fiction Movie list, and ranked #2 in the Action & Adventure and Fantasy Categories , behind the Game of Thrones Season One box set. It ranks #13 over all in the Movies & TV Blu-Ray list. So someone obviously wants to see it.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Barry Dutter Says:

    Of course you realize a film has to gross DOUBLE its budget before it begins making a profit, because half of all the ticket sales go to the theaters… That means JC will have to gross $500 million before it begins to earn any money. That will never happen, which is why Disney has written the film off as a flop.

  2. William Gatevackes Says:

    Per The San Diego Reader(http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/big-screen/2012/mar/06/michigan-man-files-suit-against-amc-theatres-over-/):

    “There is no 50/50 division of box office coffers between distributor and exhibitor. Contrary to popular belief, theatre chains do not make the lion’s share of their income off ticket sales. Most of what a movie theatre takes in at the box office is kicked back directly to the studio. Studios lease their titles to theatres that are lucky to keep 20% – 25% of the box office receipts.

    In the case of certain blockbusters, especially those geared for kids who insist mommy and daddy fork over a wad of cash for candy, theatres get to pocket 0% of the box office take. This is not a new practice. When Empire Strikes Back opened at Chicago’s Esquire theatre, the manager told me that they didn’t see dime-one from the box office until several weeks after the film had opened. After that, the percentage is gauged on a sliding scale that can go as high as 50%.”

    The 50/50 split is a myth. If it were true, American towns would still have a mom and pop theaters as an anchor on every main street, we’d have a whole lot less cineplexes and we’d be paying less for soda, popcorn, and candy at the concession stands because theater owners would be struggling less to meet the costs of running a movie theater.

    Odds are that John Carter is in the 0% range. But even if it is kicking back 20-25% to theaters, with a strong opening in Japan and continuing grosses in the US and other overseas markets, it should make enough in theaters to clear a profit, if it hasn’t already.Not much of one, but a profit nonetheless.

    Hope this clears things up, and if this is the same Barry Dutter that wrote for Marvel, Mad and the Weekly World News, it’s an honor to have you reading the site. Thanks for your comment!
    Bill

  3. Lou Says:

    And we’re into June now with the first week of ‘John Carter’ released on Blu-ray and DVD. All 3 of the disc products are in Amazon’s top 20, so if you aggregate them you’re probably looking at the #1 or #2 in all Movies & TV chart… and that’s just Amazon. Exactly how did the critics get this movie so wrong? (Did Disney pay extra to get them to give bad reviews?) Anywhere I’ve seen collective reviews/ratings by movie-goers, I see nearly 5 stars out of 5 or 9 out of 10 (or better). This is a great movie–a “storyteller’s” movie (which is what Burroughs was–a great storyteller). At this point, it looks like the disc sales could exceed the box office by quite a bit… as it should be for such a wonderfully entertaining film.

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