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Weekend Box Office: John Carter Fails to Spark Much Interest as Lorax Tops Box Office

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By Chris Kavan - 03/12/12 at 12:32 AM CT

Those hoping that John Carter would pull off a win despite harsh speculation that has dogged the film for months wound up sorely disappointed. Disney's big-budget gamble wound up in second place with $30.6 million. As a comparison it was right in line with another disappointing film: Prince of Persia ($30.1 million) but trailed 10,000 B.C. ($35.9 million) and Battle: Los Angeles ($35.6 million). With a budget of $250 million, not to mention all the advertising, this is going to be a major loss, even if overseas grosses give it a boost.

John Carter did receive a decent B+ score from the mostly older, male audience and 3D accounted for 64% of the grosses, including 16% from IMAX screenings. There has been a lot of discussion regarding the marketing missteps and, at least this time, the naysayers were spot on. Without a clear message for the movie or characters, it just didn't draw a lot of interest. Even though there was a romance, by ignoring that element altogether, it essentially eliminated any female presence (women made up just 37% of the audience) and families were far more interested in The Lorax. It just goes to show that no matter how good your source material may be, if you don't present it well, it will ultimately fail.

The week's two other new releases also failed to spark much interest themselves. The horror film Silent House opened in fourth with $7 million - in a virtual tie with Act of Valor (in its third week) and could easily swap spots by the time final numbers are tallied. In terms of horror, it lags behind both Last House on the Left ($14.7 million) and Open Water ($11.4 million) and nowhere near the hit that Devil Inside ($33.7 million) pulled earlier in the year. One thing it does share with Devil Inside seems to be audience score, which, if reports are true, is a solid F.

Eddie Murphy's latest comedy, A Thousand Words, may have been best left on the shelf. Released after a lengthy period, the film took in only $6.3 million - a sixth place finish - about in line with Meet Dave ($5.25 million) and Imagine That ($5.5 million) and marks another disappointing return for the onetime comic superstar.

The Lorax took the top spot again with a $39.1 million showing, easing 44% from its debut. With a $122 million total in two weeks, it passed The Vow to become the top-grossing film of 2012. It should continue to enjoy that distinction until The Hunger Games hit at the end of the month.

Project X dropped 45% from its opening to wind up in third place with $11.5 million. The found footage party film held up a bit better than expected and now stands at $40.1 million. It shouldn't have any trouble passing the $50 million mark before its done.

Rounding out the top five, Act of Valor took in $7 million, down 48%, bringing its total to $56.1 million. Outside the top five, Safe House had the best week-to-week hold in its fifth week, dropping just 32.3% with a $5 million sixth place finish. The $115.8 million continues to run just behind American Gangster ($130.2 million) as Denzel Washington's top grossing film, passing Remember the Titans ($115.7 million).

Overall box office was still up compared to last year, but just five percent. Still, the winning streak continues and next week sees a battle of dueling comedies as Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill take on 21 Jump Street while Will Ferrell checks out Casa de mi Padre. We'll see if audiences are in the mood to laugh.


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