|On location: John Carter director, Andrew Stanton, and star, Taylor Kitsch|
Disney has admitted that its epic Mars-based sci-fi adventure John Carter is set to lose the studio more than $200 million at the box-office. The movie, which cost at least $250 million to make (some say $300 million), opened two weekends ago to a disappointing $30 million and has yet to recoup its budget.
In a statement earlier this week, Disney acknowledged that it expects John Carter “to generate an operating loss of approximately $200m” by the end of March.
Pondering the box-office failure of John Carter, Ben Child of The Guardian writes:
“Critics have suggested that John Carter’s failure to connect with audiences may have been due to confusing marketing as well as lukewarm reviews. Disney chose not to run with the “of Mars” suffix in the wake of traditionally poor box-office results for films that focus on the planet, and trailers also largely ignored the movie's central romance, something Hollywood tends to see as a surefire method of attracting female filmgoers.”
Followers of Silver Screen Saucers, however – and, indeed, anyone familiar with sci-fi movie history – will know that John Carter’s box-office belly-flop was not the result of poor marketing or lukewarm reviews (in fact, Disney marketed the hell out of it, and a number of high-profile critics loved the movie), but something entirely beyond the control of all Hollywood creatives, something ominous and unforgiving: The Martian Curse!
I, for one, am puzzled by the public’s historical aversion to Hollywood’s Mars movies. What is it about The Red Planet that turns us off at the box-office? Your thoughts are welcome...