Weekend Box Office – THE LORAX Continues to Soar; JOHN CARTER Falls to Earth

by     Posted 2 years, 170 days ago


After its enormous opening last weekend, The Lorax continued to impress – capturing its second number one title with an estimated $39.1 million, or a week-over-week decline of just 44%.  For once, however, people seem more interested in the film that didn’t make it to number one than with the film that did.

Title Weekend Total
1 The Lorax $39,100,000 $121.9
2 John Carter $30,600,000 $30.6
3 Project X $11,550,000 $40.1
4 Silent House $7,010,000 $7
5 Act of Valor $7,000,000 $56.1
6 A Thousand Words $6,350,000 $6.3
7 Safe House $4,950,000 $115.7
8 The Vow $4,000,000 $117.6
9 This Means War $3,750,000 $46.8
19 Journey 2 $3,685,000 $90.7

john-carter-posterIn the US at least, Disney’s sci-fi behemoth John Carter could not overcome the negative buzz that has surrounded it… pretty much from the start.  Among the most persistent charges leveled against the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic, were the film’s inflated budget (somewhere north of $250 million), its terrible marketing campaign and the ego of its director.  As you probably know, John Carter is the first live-action(ish) effort from Pixar wizard Andrew Stanton.  The two-time Academy Award-winning director of WALL-E and Finding Nemo was said to be a bit of a handful – though all would have been forgiven if the movie had opened above $60 million.

Instead, John Carter could only reach half that amount.  From its 3,749 locations (including IMAX and 3D venues) the Disney production earned an estimated $30.6 million.  That is slightly higher than it was tracking yesterday, though still on par with the studio’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time debut from May, 2010.  You may recall that the latter was one of the biggest domestic misses of that summer: costing $200 million and failing to earn back half that during its US run.  It’s true that Prince of Persia was much more successful overseas, however, eventually earning $335 million worldwide.  Because Disney launched John Carter day-and-date in all markets, right now they are relying on the film’s $70.6 million international take to prove that all is not lost for the erstwhile John Carter of Mars.

All IS probably lost, however, for A Thousand Words.  The final Dreamworks production to be distributed by Paramount, the Eddie Murphy comedy was dead on arrival in theatres this weekend.  From its debut in 2,124 locations, A Thousand Words earned an estimated $6.3 million.  As bad as that appears for a wide release, it was better than Murphy’s starts for Meet Dave ($5.2 million in 2008) and Imagine That ($5.5 million in 2009); but the very fact that the actor’s latest effort is being compared to his past flops is a very bad sign.

silent-house-movie-image-elizabeth-olsenThings looked much better from the perspective of this weekend’s final new release – the horror film Silent House.  A remake of the South American “single-shot” La Casa Muda, Silent House comes from the team that brought you the ultra low-budget hit Open Water back in 2004.  Their latest effort, distributed by Open Road Films, carried a thrifty $1 million budget, making its estimated $7 million debut (from 1,890 locations) look pretty impressive.  In terms of expectations, however, Silent House is not as sturdy.  The film was expected to bring in $10 million this weekend and, considering horror titles typically lose 60% of their gross in week two, Silent House will not be around long enough to make news.

Hoping to be around a bit longer were two new limited releases. The dramedy Friends with Kids, from Roadside Attractions, launched in 374 locations and earned an estimated $2.1 million.  Meanwhile, CBS Films’ Salmon Fishing in the Yemen premiered in 18 locations, earning $240,000 or $13,333 per-screen.  That’s by far the best average of any film we’ve mentioned, and it certainly bodes well for the studio’s plan to expand the drama to more locations in the coming weeks.

Even with the less-than-impressive start for John Carter, this weekend’s box office managed to eke out another victory in its battle to better 2011.  I can’t imagine that next week will bring an end to the streak, either.  Early tracking indicates that 21 Jump Street will open well in excess of the $18.9 million of last year’s Limitless.  By next weekend we should also have a clearer picture of the international progress of John Carter so, fear not!  The snarking need not end just because opening weekend is over!


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  • monk

    Why was Andrew Stanton a handful ? Was the bad marketing his idea ?

    • Dean

      And what’s this about the directors ego being part of the negative buzz? from what i’ve seen Stanton has no off putting ego, he’s just a very passionate director.

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  • MatthewM

    Of the 3 charges leveled against “JOHN CARTER” only the bad marketing is true. Mr. Stanton brought the movie in on time and on budget from everything I have heard. As to his ‘ego’ I can not speak to that having never met the man or worked with or for him. Sounds like a lot of jealousy coming from somewhere in the studio system. Charges made without proof.
    I saw the movie Friday and loved it. Intend to see it again in 3D this coming week.
    There are a lot of hatemongers out there who tear down anything and everything and they never even saw the movies they are ripping. I am so sick of the haters because they try to ruin things for everyone else. They are themselves failures and losers and have achieved nothing of substance in their sorry lives and don’t want anyone else to do so either. Believe me I know as I used to be one before it became so fashionable. I regret every time I did so.

    • micoy

      I totally agree with you

  • Daniel

    Even the picture at the top of the article looks like it could be out of Prince of Persia.

  • CaseyC

    Seeing John Carter yesterday I have high hopes that word of mouth and the worldwide gross can keep it going. It really is sad that such negativity can be produced around such a well made movie. I’ve told everyone I know to see it and see it in IMAX because it blew me away. I honestly could care less about a directors ego when making a film. If he knows what is necessary to make the film good then more power to him. Now if that was the same for him as a person outside of making movies, that is a different story.

    Also, when I saw the trailer for The Avengers in 3D IMAX it gave me goosebumps I’ve never had before… I can’t wait to see that.

  • Dean

    It’s sad to see John Carter not do as well as hoped domestically. Out of the whole top 10 it’s the only film I feel which strived to really try something and had huge ambition as opposed to the rest which are just by the numbers.

  • hesan1gga

    word of mouth is this movies only salvation…if you watched john carter and enjoyed it tell your friends on twitter and facebook. disney should pay you too, those nazi f*cks.

  • Vinyard

    Maybe John Carter underwhelmed because most audiences didn’t know what the hell it was. The advertising to your average movie-goer was downright confusing. Trailers with the Civil War/Old West mixed in with creatures who look to live in the same “Old West” mixed with Star Wars like locales and ships had to have confused the hell out of most people totally unfamiliar with the original tale. And, to top it off, the idiot(s) who decided to get rid of “of Mars” from the title totally screwed the pooch. It then became way too baffling.
    Case in point, when I saw the trailer with an audience for the first time in threatres it was ahead of the IMAX screening of M:I:4 and there was a bit of talking and interest briefly before people resumed playing with their cell phones and talking to their companions. It looked like it was dismissed then and there. Simultaneously, when the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises hit, you could’ve head a pin drop.
    Ultimately, this boils down to shitty fucking marketing from Disney. The film’s off-world, sci-fi concept wasn’t made apparent; removing “of Mars” surely made the concept even more baffling.
    That was the problem. Period. Anybody at Disney or marketing reading this?

  • Vinyard

    *Correction: “Maybe John Carter underwhelmed IN TERMS OF BOX OFFICE…”

  • Hilter

    Maybe Disney will think next time before they throw another quarter billion bucks away on a movie that hinges on fairies like Gay Vaginahaal or Gaylor Bitsch mincing about with Jennifer Aniston hair and their nipples out. Just sayin’…

  • Grant keanan

    Why spend so much dough on John Carter .
    I like the scifi angle but still cant believe they spent all that money on this flick. Talk of taking a gamble.

  • Eddie7833

    It was an amazing film and I knew Andrew wouldn’t let me down, I can’t wait to see it again. As for his ego he was probably mad because Disney didn’t let him do anything with the marketing and dropping the “of mars” probably wasn’t his idea I would be mad too! I hate how studios try to change things when other people tell them it’s a bad idea.

  • Strong Enough

    she says Big ego cause Andrew was poppin off at the mouth sayin “is it just me or do we know how to shoot live action films better than everyone else” no Mr Stanton. no you dont

  • gph-artist

    Disney likely dropped the “of Mars” from the title because the last Disney movie that had “Mars” in the title was one of the worst movies of last year… they didn’t want to cripple it with that mantle hanging over it. Where they botched it was by not spelling out what the hell the movie was about to a general audience that may not know anything about the source material or its impact on sci-fi literature or movies of the last 100 years.

    Saw it yesterday. Really liked it. I thought it was well done.

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