Friday, March 23, 2012

The Mars Movie Curse

Dead before he even hit the ground.
New sci-fi film John Carter is about to become the biggest movie flop of all time. Disney expects to lose US$200m on it! I mean... hello!!! A US Civil War soldier, somehow transported to Mars which is inhabited by 12ft. barbarians. Wow, an unforgettable plot - NOT. Its been bagged by critics, despite having the same director as Oscar-winning Finding Nemo.
Hollywood is muttering about the Mars Movie Curse. 2011's biggest flop was another Disney flick Mars Needs Moms, which cost $150m and only took $39m. Red Planet (2000) with Val Kilmer lost $82m. Disney tried to avoid the curse, deleting the words "Of Mars" from John Carter's original title, fearing it was box office poison. But some considered it mad to make a Mars movie at all!
Disney's now been marred by Mars movies four times: John Carter (2012), Mars Needs Moms (2011), Mission To Mars (2000) and My Favourite Martian (1999).
Even with big name actors, there're no guarantees. Take Gigli (2003) with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck - yes please: take it far away! It was pulled after only three weeks, one of the shortest runs ever for a big Hollywood film. And back in the early '90s, Kevin Costner was gold, with Dances With Wolves, JFK, The Bodyguard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. But Waterworld (1995) is one of cinema's most renowned crash-and-burns. Then he did The Postman: cost $80m / took $17m.
Even good reviews can't ensure success. Disney's sci-fi version of Treasure Island - Treasure Planet (2002) - was critically acclaimed, but...cost $180m / took $38m.
Movies that lost over $100m include: Town And Country (2001); The 13th Warrior (1999); Sahara (2005) - cost $241m / took $119m; The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) - cost $120m / took $7m. But topping them all: Cutthroat Island (1995), which lost $147m, winning top slot in the Guinness World Book of Records.
However John Carter looks set to break this record! So at least there'll be something to remember it for...

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