What Does "The Dark Knight Rises," "Battleship," "Men in Black III," and "The Avengers" Have in Common with "John Carter?"

The Dark Knight Rises

They all cost over $200M to make. Of the four films, “The Avengers” is the cheapest at $220M. The other three - “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Battleship,” and “Men in Black III” - each reportedly cost $250M.

That’s how much “John Carter” cost, and even after making over $270M worldwide, Disney’s movie studio chief Rich Ross was fired - actually, he had to resign.

I’m not saying the studio heads in charge of those films are in trouble should any of those films fail, but I just notice after reading Entertainment Weekly’s summer movie preview that $250M sounds almost like something the studios hand out on a regular basis nowadays for a tentpole.

The first movie on that list that I can question is “Battleship.” Universal put $250M behind an adaptation of a board game from Hasbro. A board game. Yes, it’s a popular and fun board game, but still. This makes Disney’s $250M gamble on “John Carter” behind a first time director of live-action films (Andrew Stanton) and an actor with unproven box office (Taylor Kitsch) seem … rational. Oh yeah, “Battleship” also stars the same actor. Kitsch sure has a good agent.

“Battleship” has already grossed $130M overseas after two weeks. That’s just $4M ahead of “John Carter” in the same amount of time. “John Carter” is in its last legs with $200M in total foreign revenue. “Battleship” better have legs and score huge domestic figures, or it’ll end up being another costly money-loser like “John Carter.” A Universal head will then get fired - I mean resign.

The other questionable movie on that list is Sony’s “Men in Black III.” Yes, Will Smith is a proven draw at the box office. He’s arguably the most bankable star in the planet. Having said that, “Men in Back II” did $60M less than the first film - it made $190M, compared to the first film’s $250M. Moviegoers weren’t exactly asking for thirds. Add to the fact that the film was shot without a finalized script, and Sony has a potential costly dud in their hands.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is a no-brainer. The previous entry “The Dark Knight” grossed $533M, the third highest grossing film of all time in the U.S. At 94% on the Tomatometer, it’s also one of the best reviewed films of 2008 and the best reviewed comic book movie in recent years.

“The Avengers” is another no-brainer. Each of the “Iron Man” films made over $300M, and the other films featuring marvel superheroes - “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “The Incredible Hulk” - did solid business too. With 29 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so far, it scored a near perfect 96% on the Tomatometer. It’s also tracking to open over $150M.

Of the four $200M summer movies, “Battleship” and “Men in Black III” could end up like “John Carter.” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers” are tracking to be this year’s top performers.

Senh Duong's Latest Blog Entries:

At the annual Arnold Sports Festival held in Columbus, Ohio, cast member Randy Couture confirms that “Expendables 4” will indeed be shooting this fall. Like I...
There hasn’t been much news about “The Expendables 4” lately, but I came upon this tidbit after reading about the “Ip Man 3” box office scandal.
“Ip Man 3” opened huge in China last weekend, grossing $72M -- the biggest opening ever for a martial arts film (as its distributor proclaimed). Shows were...
Donnie Yen was promoting “Ip Man 3” as his last martial arts film, but when it broke box office records late last year in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore (...
Despite debuting two months later than neighboring territories and amidst piracy fears, “Ip Man 3” shattered expectations with a $72M weekend opening at the...

John Carter Photo Gallery

More John Carter News