|A scene from the bombs "Mars Needs Moms" and "The Adventures of Pluto Nash". (Handouts)
It may not have crash-landed as badly as Eddie Murphy's The Adventures of Pluto Nash, but John Carter's costly trip to Mars nevertheless proved to be an unpopular destination for moviegoers.
Not only did Disney's $250 million gamble barely crack the $30 million mark (domestically) in its opening weekend, but it was shellacked by Dr.Seuss' 40-year-old Lorax.
While it may be too soon to declare Carter a disaster -- it smashed opening day records in Russia -- here's some of the company it would keep should it find itself among the biggest box office duds of all time.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Those heady Axel Foley years may have been behind him, but Eddie Murphy was enjoying a nice career rebound with Shrek and those Nutty Professor and Dr. Dolittle sequels before this pricey outer space misfire kicked him in the asteroid. This $100 million production amassed all of $7 million worldwide.
Mars Needs Moms (2011)
John Carter isn't the only angry red planet movie from Disney to have gone south at the megaplex. The $150 million motion-capture animated sci-fi adventure ended up grossing a paltry $39.5 million globally. Unadjusted for inflation, the movie stands as the biggest box office bomb of all time.
Heaven's Gate (1980)
Before there was Kevin's Gate, the nickname given to the soggy Costner dud, Waterworld, there was Heaven's Gate, the epic Western that was an epic failure, corralling less than 10 percent of its $44 million budget from moviegoers. The movie hastened the collapse of United Artists.
What price nepotism? When you happen to be the son of former Disney exec Michael Eisner and your first studio feature is an action-comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz, that price can be costly, especially when your production budget has swelled to $160 million. Even though the Breck Eisner romp ended up doing a respectable $122 million, that budget plus additional hefty marketing costs, makes it one of the bigger financial flops in motion picture history.
Not every bomb is overstuffed with special effects -- some are would-be comedies (can anyone say Gigli?) But none has achieved the notoriety of that 1987 pairing between Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. There have been much bigger flops in terms of percentage of budget recoupment, but just one title has become synonymous for "unmitigated disaster."