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Author Promo (Share Your Stuff!) > Article: John Carter Actually Made Money

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message 1: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4076 comments Had some fun and put up an article on the movie John Carter on Vocal Media. This includes my financial calcs showing the film actually made a modest profit, instead of being the massive loser some histrionic headlines claimed. Article at the link.

message 2: by Trike (last edited Aug 01, 2018 02:50PM) (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Disney had to disclose its expenses for John Carter due to tax reasons, so we know for a fact the final tally was over $300 million. (I want to say $305 million, but I can’t find the total with a quick search.)

Where did you get $150 million for home video? That’s a crazy sales goal that only Avengers hit that year. I’d be shocked if John Carter cracked $30 million gross with a $20 million net (which is gross less expenses like marketing).

And a 40% return on international? Whaat? The biggest overseas market is China and the max you can get there is 25%, as dictated by the Chinese government. And that 25% has to be shared with local partners.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, with diminishing returns across the board. I’m sorry John, but your numbers are entirely imaginary. John Carter was and is a colossal bomb. Aside from it possibly becoming a cult hit, it will never make its budget + marketing back.

message 3: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments which, of course, doesn't account for home video but as Trike suggests, that's likely nominal. Although I kind of want to rent it now...

message 4: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4076 comments Why Trike! Thanks for reading all the way through. I always appreciate your taking a strong opinion and supporting it. Here, though, I think you're short some information. That's not surprising - the studios don't reveal what they don't have to. I think you're right on where data is disclosed, but there's more to the story.

Let's start with Theatrical. A quick look at Boxofficemojo shows a lot more in International (211 million) than Domestic (73 million.) Yes, that international figure includes China, although perplexingly China isn't listed on Boxofficemojo's detail so if you add up the index it totals to 155 million. But the biggest chunk of missing data is indeed China so let's go with it.

Among other big countries are Russia/CIS (33M), Mexico (12M), France (9M) and Germany (8M), plus a host of fairly well off nations in the 2-7M range. So that's a bigger pie at a lower percentage. During my days in international distribution the average was 45% and I took it lower because of situations like China.

A'course the studios wont tell you what they're getting because it's noneayerbizness. Try reading a 10K sometime! An exercise in obfuscation.

For video, there is some data revealed and that's included in public disclosure of one kind or another. A trip over to shows DVD and Blu-Ray sales for US. International is conspicuously absent. It also doesn't cover rentell for things like Blockbuster video, still around at the time, Netflix which was still mailing discs. Nor does it include ersatz streaming that might be characterized as Video and might be PTV depending on who you ask. And if you want more? The-numbers is glad to sell you an estimate for a price best characterized as "not cheap."

PTV/FTV, also is based on my experience. It's another thing that studios aren't interested in revealing in detail.

Overall though Trike, I think you're focusing on US data like the results for Avengers you mentioned. I'm referring to worldwide, where John Carter was much better received overseas. Not a huge hit, but not as bad as portrayed either.

message 5: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Yeah, I’m just not seeing it as optimistically as you are. I know that the structure of pricing in Japan is similar to the US, but that’s the only one. There are so many fingers in the pie overseas that it just slices it up.

That’s why the joke goes, “Actors want to be directors, producers want to be in distribution.” The middlemen always get paid.

I found the article that talks about the budget: Total was $306.6 million. With the UK tax credits that’s $263.7 million.

Advertising is also insane. This 2014 Hollywood Reporter article is saying that studios typically spend $100 million for P&A in North America and it’s heading to an equal $100 million overseas. Even if we cut that in half for John Carter in 2012, that’s still north of $100 million for ads alone. That movie was advertised just as heavily as Avengers was, except for after it was clear the film wasn’t doing well, which is when they turned off the tap. But the reality is Disney almost certainly dropped $125 million + just on P&A, and that’s being conservative if they spent $150 million advertising Transformers in 2007.

That’s $388 million for the budget, minimum. Probably closer to $450 million.

I’m sorry, but I’m just not seeing it making that much money.

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