Prior to last month, the biggest box-office failure of all time was either Cutthroat Island (which lost $96 million, adjusted to $147 million by inflation) or last years' Mars Needs Moms, a Disney movie that raked up $136 million in actual-dollar losses for them. The failure of Mars Needs Moms reportedly directly led Disney to change the title of John Carter Of Mars to just John Carter, a move that was roundly criticized at the time, and rightly so: unless you were one of the relatively small group of people who had read the 90-year-old books that the film was based on, the title John Carter offered you no descriptive power for the film or sense of wonder or, well, anything, really.
In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31. As a result, our current expectation is that the studio segment will have an operating loss of between $80 and $120 million for the second quarter.
That move, alongside the widely-derided marketing for the film, is now being credited as causing John Carter to be the single biggest money-losing endeavour in the history of filmmaking. Most estimates of movie losses have to be weeded out through financial statements and shadowy budget reports (since most studios don't reveal marketing costs, or even real budgets most of the time), but to their credit, Disney has pretty much just come out and owned up to the film's failure.
The Hollywood Reporter points out that Disney is no stranger to this kind of loss, having had significant bombs in the last few years with not only Mars Needs Moms, but also Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. They do have what are bound to be hits in The Avengers and Brave coming up this summer, though, so there's little doubt that that'll help ease the pain from this bloody nose.
I've heard some passionate defenses of the film, and some reviews that were obviously taking glee in piling on a film that was unlikely to be a success, and a lot more middle-of-the-road, "that was ok, I guess" kind of comments. I haven't seen it for myself, but all of the attention it's been getting has at least sparked my attention, even if it has been for mostly negative reasons, and I'll be sure to check it out when it hits Blu-Ray, at least.
Assuming you didn't go see it, either, is the title "biggest bomb of all time" (which is unlikely to be on the DVD box), enough to get you curious enough to see the film when it hits a disc-based format?