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Disney studio head fired on eve of Avengers debut


Rich Ross, the head of Disney Studios since October 2009, has just been removed from his post. We can’t hope to know what it means—although lots of theories will be floated very soon—but flops like MARS NEEDS MOMS and JOHN CARTER are probably part of it. “Mars killed Rich Ross.” Even the impending mega-colossal worldwide superhit AVENGERS couldn’t save Ross.

We don’t know what this means, exactly, but it’s sure to mean something for Marvel head Kevin Feige and Pixar’s John Lasseter.

  1. As you know, Bob, JOHN CARTER appears to have broken even because of extremely strong overseas performance and will rake in lots of money from the aftermarket (DVD sales, online rental, and television rights). Which doesn’t keep people from seeing it as a flop; in Hollywood, unsurprisingly, appearance IS reality.

  2. As far as I know there was no, zero merchendising from John Carter which seems a huge missed opportunity.

    Movies like Cars make 2x, 3x their money from merch.

  3. Mars Needs Mom was a movie too far in the niche market of animation not really for young kids, not really for adults, not really for tweens either market. It was doomed not to find an audience.

    And lets face it – the marketing of John Carter was completely botched as soon as they decided to change the name to Jon Carter.

    This was a grave Ross dug all by himself.

  4. “JOHN CARTER appears to have broken even because of extremely strong overseas performance”

    It has made 269 on a budget of 250. Internal estimates stated that they would have had to gross 650 to break even. Not to mention Disney made an official statement that they will lose around 200 on it.

  5. I agree with Anon. From what I have read, studios keep about 40% of the box office. So Disney having to make a $650M box office to break even on a $250M movie is about right.

    So if Disney has sold $269M of John Carter tickets, it has only made about about $100M back of its $250M investment.

    This movie was a money loser for Disney. Disney isn’t known for tough guy movies – it is known for kiddie stuff. Most of John Carter’s target audience probably doesn’t want to see a “Disney” movie.

  6. While we didn’t see it at the theater, my son (7) LOVED Mars Needs Moms when it was on Netflix. It’s gone now that the Starz deal is over and he actually asked about it the other day.

    I really wanted to see John Carter, but my wife had absolutely no interest and with our very limited moviegoing keeping up with two kids, it’s gotta be something we both want to see. So, I guess I’m part of the problem there. But I do think that the marketing of John Carter was absolutely abysmally terrible.

  7. John Carter was actually a very enjoyable movie. But the marketing was so bad it turned everyone off to the movie. I’m surprised the Marketing Department kept there jobs after that debacle.

  8. scottscomics – by your logic they shouldn’t be doing Avengers either.

    People don’t look at the name of the studio when deciding whether to see a film or not. They look at the title, the stars, and whatever images or clips are immediately available. This film had a dreadful title, no stars, and a poor selection of images and trailers. It is for those reasons that its poor performance was inevitable.

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