It was a foregone conclusion that Disney would be taking a hit on the sci-fi movie, but even jaded analysts didn't think it would be this high. In other words, the lofty $350 million amount that has been estimated to be the film's production and marketing budget may actually be too low.
The charge stings, but Disney's been here before. It also took a hit last year when Mars Needs Moms bombed. However, this is a sensitive release.
Andrew Stanton -- the award-winning Pixar director behind Finding Nemo and Wall-E -- was the one behind John Carter, and now skeptics will begin to wonder if his success in theatrical animation means little when it comes to live action.
However, don't be surprised if cynics begin wondering if Disney is simply snuffing the creativity out of the great minds it acquired in its Pixar and Marvel purchases.
It seems like an outlandish notion, but things appear to have been going downhill since Disney spent billions to acquire the two celebrated content creators. Let's take Pixar's Cars 2 out for a test drive. After years of Pixar blowing film critics away, ratings aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows that just 38% of reviewers liked the film.
Marvel to Behold
Marvel's state is harder to discern since third-party studios and outside directors are the ones dictating the fate of its comic book properties, though it may not be a coincidence that the most poorly reviewed installments in the Iron Man and Spider-Man franchises were their most recent sequels.
Disney can always point to general weakness at the box office. Movie attendance hit a 16-year low last year. However, that trend should have also kept the company from letting the film's budget spiral out of control.
Perhaps Disney was too busy thinking about the merchandising and theme park possibilities than the execution. Instead of building high-tech Avatar-themed attractions the way it will at one of its Florida theme parks, it could've made John Carter the marketable property to enhance its Animal Kingdom park.
It's not to be. Now let's see what Disney can do about keeping Pixar and Marvel from faltering in the future.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article, except for Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Disney.