John Carter could be worst flop as Disney writes off $200m
Sci-fi epic set to beat classic Hollywood disasters like Sahara and Heaven's Gate
DISNEY sci-fi movie John Carter is set to become the biggest Hollywood flop of all time after the studio revealed it is writing off a $200m operating loss on the project.
The 3D epic, based on books by Tarzan-creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, and starring Taylor Kitsch, Samantha Morton and Dominic West, tells the story of an American Civil War veteran who is transplanted to Mars. The film opened this month and received generally dire reviews.
"John Carter is one of those films that is so stultifying, so oppressive and so mysteriously and interminably long," wrote Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian, "that I felt as if someone had dragged me into the kitchen of my local Greggs, and was baking my head into the centre of a colossal cube of white bread."
The film has taken $184m at the box office worldwide but only half of that goes to Disney, the other half to cinema owners. The problem is the elaborate film cost $275m to make and a further $100m to market.
The result is a statement from Disney saying the $200m write-down will cause the studio to post a loss of between $80m and $120m for the quarter ending 31 March. During the same quarter a year ago, Disney reported a profit of $77m. Shares fell by one cent in after-hours trading on Monday.
"John Carter is officially a money-wasting debacle, and to a degree that exceeds most of Wall Street's predictions," announced the Hollywood Reporter. Industry sources had expected a loss of $165m at worst.
John Carter is in danger of outstripping previous Hollywood flops. According to the Daily Mail, the previous number one disaster was the 1995 film Cutthroat Island which lost its studio - adjusting for inflation - $147m. This was followed closely by The Alamo (2004) with a $146m loss, The Adventures Of Pluto Nash ($145m) and Sahara ($144m). Heaven's Gate, the famous Michael Cimino flop of 1980, comes in tenth at $114m.