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After much was made about Disney’s John Carter tracking very low with audiences and word of an impending advertising onslaught, the film finally debuted over the weekend, coming in second behind Universal’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
According to Box Office Mojo, The Lorax, which opened the previous week, pulled in around $39 million, while John Carter scored just $30 million. As Deadline points out, these numbers are up nearly 10 percent over last year. The site also notes that Disney is reporting a total of $101.2 million between domestic and international ticket sales with the film not yet open in China. The numbers aren’t terrific by any means, but positive word of mouth gave the film a boost on Saturday.
Both the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times ran stories about how John Carter failed to live up to its reported $250 million dollar budget, with an analyst for the LA Times saying the film could lose $165 million for Disney if his projections are right. Meanwhile, The New York Times compared the film to Ishtar, one of the greatest flops in box-office history.
The reports all sounds pretty bad, but looking ahead to this weekend’s box office, there’s basically only one big release and that’s Fox’s 21 Jump Street. The Duplass Brothers’ Jeff Who Lives at Home is also coming out, but neither of those movies fit the “big sci-fi action flick” boots that John Carter does. Perhaps positive word of mouth will bring more people into theaters. Or maybe the papers are right and Disney really does have an Ishtar-level flop on its hands.