John Carter’s weekend box office above expectations, hope for a sequel yet?

How the international box office takings of Andrew Stanton’s John Carter movie might just have rescued its commercial fortunes…

John Carter

Well, John Carter a movie that’s proven a bit divisive. Even amongst the ranks here, there are those that love it, and those that don’t. But going into its opening weekend, it almost seemed that some were willing the reported-$250m production to fail, with its box office eulogy seemingly written some time in advance.

It certainly struggled, too, at least in some parts of the world. Disney would have been looking for a $60m-ish opening weekend for John Carter once upon a time, but the troubled marketing campaign was struggling to connect with audiences, and by the end of last week, $25m was being predicted.

As it turned out, the film banked $30.6m in America, putting it in second place at the box office. The Lorax, in its second week, won the weekend with another $39.1m added to its bank balance.

So, you’d think: John Carter’s been the first big flop in a while, then?

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Well, no. Because outside of America, John Carter has got off to a much better start. Time was that a film’s box office would, at best, be a 50/50 split, with only half of the movie’s revenue coming from non-US cinema markets. John Carter, however, has proven to be the biggest opening weekend of the year outside of the US, with $70.6m more banked. That puts the film’s total at $101.3m after its opening weekend.

That should make more comforting reading for Disney executives this morning, although there’s still no hiding from the fact that it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. The studio is now relying on a good second weekend return, against limited competition in its demographic (21 Jump Street is next weekend’s big opener), which needs good work of mouth to happen.

It’s interesting that the Prince Of Persia film was being used as yardstick, though, by which to compare the box office performance of John Carter. The Prince Of Persia movie was reported in some circles as being a flop, but closer inspection of the numbers suggests otherwise. It opened to $30.9m in the US, on its way to a $90.7m American cinema gross. Outside of the States, though? It added another $244.3m to its haul, for a grand total of $335m.

That’s the kind of path that, thus far, John Carter appears to be following. And while it’s not the kind of return that Disney may have initially hoped for on such an expensive production, it’s also far from the box office bomb that the film has been labelled as.

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