Just last week we were saying John Carter may lose as much as $165 million for parent company Disney. To put that in context, the record for largest loss on a single film is held by Cutthroat Island (1995) starring Geena Davis, a film which lost an inflation-adjusted $147 million and ultimately bankrupted Carolco Pictures. So a $165 million loss seems high, right? Now we must admit we were wrong. Yesterday Disney released a statement about how much money they actually expect to lose: $200 million. OH SNAP.
In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31. As a result, our current expectation is that the Studio segment will have an operating loss of between $80 and $120 million for the second quarter. As we look forward to the second half of the year, we are excited about the upcoming releases of The Avengers and Brave, which we believe have tremendous potential to drive value for the Studio and the rest of the company. [official Disney release via Deadline]
As Blastr points out, the film needed to make about $600 million worldwide to recoup its costs after splitting ticket costs with theaters. That $200 million shortfall is enough to make thirteen movies with the same budget as Chronicle ($15 million budget, $116 million grossed worldwide so far). So, yeah, John Carter bombed bigger than anything, is the point we’re making. As much as I wanted to see an Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi adaptation make mad cash, this wasn’t the case.
Deadline reports that $200 million loss far exceeds the analyst forecasts of a $100 million to $150 million loss. In addition, Disney is expected to lose as much as $120 million this quarter compared to the previous estimates of a $37 million quarterly deficit. Nonetheless, Disney shares only dropped about 1% in after-hours trading since the announcement, probably because Disney’s film department only accounts for about 7% of the company’s profits. The other 93 percent? Lunatics looking for hidden Mickeys.