Did you see director Andrew Stanton’s big-budget science fiction epic “John Carter” when it arrived in theaters earlier this year? If you didn’t, don’t feel bad, as it would appear that movie-goers avoided the film in droves, effectively transforming the potential blockbuster into one of the biggest financial disasters in cinematic history. According to the Daily Mail, Disney has stated that they anticipate a $200 million loss on the picture, which they’d hoped would become a huge money-making franchise. For some reason, folks just weren’t that interested.
Although the film sported some impressive special effects and a strong cast — Mark Strong, Bryan Cranston, and Dominic West all leant their talents to the production — the film couldn’t find a foothold with audiences. In an effort to recoup some of their losses, Disney released the film to DVD and Blu-ray in no time flat. Since the movie was a box office disaster, it would only make sense that the studio is hoping to make some money back courtesy of the home video market. This may explain why Disney is withholding the film from services like Netflix and Redbox.
According to Time, the company has instituted a 28-day embargo on the film’s arrival to the aforementioned movie rental services, hoping that those who passed on the flick during its theatrical run will drop upwards of $20 to bring it home on the format of their choice. Here’s the thing: If they didn’t shell out their hard-earned entertainment dollars on an overpriced theatrical ticket, why in the world would they drop that sort of cash to purchase a copy? If Disney hopes to any of their money back, selling copies to Netflix and Redbox, as well as traditional brick-and-morar video stores, seems like the logical thing to do.
In order to circumvent the delay, the companies have taken to retailers such as Target and Walmart in order to secure copies, which, during the first week on the shelves, tend to go for about $17. Given how many copies both will require to meet the demands of their customers, Disney could be well on its way to seeing “John Carter” make some scratch. Maybe not as much as they’d hope for, but enough to ease the pain of such a huge loss.
Some Netflix subscribers have already received their copy of “John Carter” in the mail. Redbox, meanwhile, plans to have their kiosks stocked with the flick by June 12th. Although I happened to enjoy the film, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s one that you should rush out and buy sight unseen. However, if you want to enjoy the story without having to destroy your eyes staring at all of that overpriced CGI, take a trip to the local library and snag a copy of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs story. The last time I checked, it was still a good read.
Box Office Mojo states that “John Carter” has currently made just $282,494,595 worldwide. Given that the production budget was $250 million, a total which doesn’t include promotional costs, it could be a while before Disney breaks even.