This Weekend @ The BoxOffice: 2012_Mar.12

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  1. #1
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    This Weekend @ The BoxOffice: 2012_Mar.12

    Was JC under-sold? Or did the cost (reported to be 250 million) limited the push of the product?
    Weekend Report: 'The Lorax' Defeats Disappointing 'John Carter'
    by Ray Subers -- March 11, 2012

    After months upon months of box office speculation, John Carter finally opened and as expected was a huge disappointment. The mega-budget sci-fi epic wasn't even able to unseat The Lorax, which held first place for the second-straight weekend. The other openers, Silent House and A Thousand Words, also performed poorly on a weekend where the Top 12 earned an estimated $123.35 million (up just five percent from last year).

    The Lorax fell 44 percent to an estimated $39.1 million. The movie held about as well as Horton Hears a Who! (45 percent), and a bit worse than Despicable Me (42 percent). On Sunday, The Lorax is expected to pass The Vow to become 2012's highest-grossing movie at $122 million.

    John Carter opened to an estimated $30.6 million from 3,749 locations. That's lower than practically any similar movie, beginning with those that came out around the same time of year. It was obviously way off from 300 ($70.9 million) and Watchmen ($55.2 million)Śwhat's more concerning, though, is that it was even a tad below 10,000 B.C. ($35.9 million) and Battle: Los Angeles ($35.6 million), both of which were modest movies in comparison.

    Among past Mouse House franchise attempts, John Carter isn't looking so good either. Back in 2003, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl debuted to $46.6 million, or the equivalent of over $60 million. Tron Legacy opened to $44 million in December, which is a month with notoriously low openings (the movie ultimately closed with four times as much, a fate that's unlikely for John Carter). One very minor bright spot is that the opening was slightly above that of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ($30.1 million), but with 3D and IMAX surcharges John Carter even lagged behind that dud in initial attendance.

    Disney's marketing department has been beat up on pretty good for the lackluster John Carter campaign, and to their credit the movie doesn't really lend itself to an easy sell. Still, making the movie is the responsibility of production, and selling the movie is the responsibility of marketing, and in that regard they clearly failed.

    The movie is called John Carter, but aside from the fact that he can jump far and looks good without a shirt on, what else did commercials really convey about the title character? Also, what was John Carter doing in this desert landscape occupied by tall green men, aside from fighting giant furry white creatures? If the characters don't seem interesting, and the stakes are low (or poorly explained), it doesn't really matter how much money the movie cost or how many advertisements are runŚaudiences are just not going to show up.

    For whatever reason, the marketing mainly ignored the movie's central romance, and as a result it paid dearly with women, who represented just 37 percent of the opening weekend audience. Crowds also skewed slightly older (59 percent over the age of 25), and they awarded the movie a solid "B+" CinemaScore. 3D presentations accounted for 64 percent of the gross, and included within that figure was a very high 16 percent from IMAX 3D showings.
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    I don't think John Carter was undersold. I don't watch a ton of TV, but every time I turned it on, I saw advertisements for John Carter. I think it got hurt by poor reviews.
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    Caught the early show last Friday and I enjoyed John Carter quite a bit. I shelled out the extra for the 3D ETC AMC version, so I cannot speak to whether or not the non-3D version gives the same experience. Obviously, the type of story it is can be thought of as dated, much in the way that the Sherlock Holmes stories/movies can be. I also have to say that I have never read even one of the Burroughs John Carter/Barsoom novels, so perhaps they've taken some steps to update the material like [spoiler]the princess being very good with a sword and not so helpless in many cases[/spoiler] but there are other reasons to see this movie besides the story, which is pretty good for what it needs to be. The effects, the vistas, the machines, the costumes, and the creatures are all engaging and the battle sequences kept my interest throughout. I'd give it a high seven, almost an eight, on a ten point scale as a popcorm flick that is very well done, with an excellent cast, and all of the above visuals being as tight and top-notch as current technology can render. Good movie, IMO!
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    I read that it probably hurt the movie because it didn't have a big star attached.

    I haven't seen it yet. Meant to go Friday but one of my friends veto'ed the trip to the cinema. That's basically nullified us all going.

    The movie will probably end up with about $120 million domestic and $400 million overseas though. Narrowly making it profitable enough. Whether we'll see a sequel is the question, something I guess they set up by calling it John Carter rather than Princess of Mars.

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    John Carter had a lot of people hating on it for months and months before it ever came out.

    But now that the movie is out, it seems to have a pretty good word of mouth which could help give it legs.

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