The problem with today's blockbusters

Actor Taylor Kitsch arrives at the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' 'John Carter' at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 on February 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.

David Brancaccio: The new Disney movie "John Carter" took in just $30 million over the weekend -- a disappointing opening for a movie but I only mention it because it cost a quarter of a billion dollars to make.

Marketplace's Gregory Warner reports.


Gregory Warner: The film stars Taylor Kitch as a civil war hero magically transported to Mars -- just in time to save the planet.   

John Carter clip: When I saw you I believed it was a sign that something new could come into this world.

The film could lose up to $165 million for Disney.

Stu Levine, assistant managing editor at Variety, says it's because there's too much new about the film.

Stu Levine: These Pixar films people know what Pixar is. They don't know what John Carter is, a lot of them didn't know what Taylor Kitch is. You know if you're going to hitch your wagon to a film that cost $250 million, make sure it has name recognizability.

The stakes are high for Disney which has sharply cut back on the number of movies it produces each year. John Carter was supposed to drive a franchise, like "Harry Potter." Instead, it's driving a blame game at the studio.

One consolation prize for Disney: the film did break box office records -- in Russia.

I'm Gregory Warner, for Marketplace.

 

About the author

Gregory Warner is a senior reporter covering the economics and business of healthcare for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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