If there were a film titled “The Curse of the Red Planet” that took place on Mars -- or had Martians as central figures -- recent endeavors indicate that it would be a financial disaster. Or at the very least, it would have little chance of success. Disney became so convinced of the power the word “Mars” had to repel ticket sales (though in part due to fear of alienating a female audience) that they did a mid-campaign 180 and switched the title “John Carter of Mars” to the equally problematic “John Carter” (which left many people wondering, “Should I know who that is?”)
Indeed, film pundits have (primarily sight unseen) been predicting grand scale disaster for “John Carter” for months now. In truth, the title had a disappointing opening weekend, coming in just behind Universal’s family film “The Lorax” with a $30.6 total. Though, as Gregory Ellwood points out in today’s box office report, “John Carter” earned $70 million internationally in addition to its domestic gross, a figure that may give the financiers at Disney some measure of hope that the $250 million film will not pick up where 2011’s disastrous “Mars Needs Moms” left off (In the red. Yep).