Box Office Report: 'John Carter' Earns Weak $9.8 Mil on Friday, Younger Fanboys Largely AWOL

8:46 AM PST 03/10/2012 by Pamela McClintock
Walt Disney
"John Carter"

UPDATED: Andrew Stanton's big-budget spectacle headed for disappointing $27 million debut, while holdover "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" will win weekend with $40 million haul; Eddie Murphy comedy "A Thousand Words" D.O.A.

Despite receiving a B+ CinemaScore, Disney's tentpole John Carter is faltering out of the gate at the domestic box office, where it's now anticipating a tepid $27 million debut after grossing $9.8 million on Friday.

The movie--which needed younger and older fanboys alike--is skewing notably older, with nearly 70 percent of the audience over the age of 25 and 30 percent over the age of 50, according to CinemaScore exit data. Males made up 65 percent of those buying tickets.

According to both Disney and Universal estimates, John Carter narrowly won the Friday box office, but by Saturday, it will be overtaken by holdover Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which is anticipating a $40 million weekend. Universal and Illumination Entertainment's Lorax, which grossed $9.6 million on Friday, will finish Sunday with a domestic gross north of $122 million (several rival studios actually had Lorax beating John Carter on Friday).

Marking the first 3D tentpole of 2012, John Carer cost $250 million to produce, plus a major marketing spend. The movie is likely to be a huge write-down for Disney unless the film overperforms internationally, where early results are mixed.

Pixar's Andrew Stanton-directed John Carter, which marks his live-action debut after turning out blockbusters Finding Nemo and WALL-E.

Friday also brought bad news for the weekend's two other new offerings, Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words and horror pic Silent House, starring Elizabeth Olson.

Silent House, distributed by Open Road Films, grossed $2.6 million on Friday for a projected $6 million weekend. The horror pic received a F CinemaScore.

Thousand Words, from Paramount, has been sitting on the shelf for four years. The comedy grossed roughly $1.9 million on Friday and is looking at a $5 million to $5.5 million weekend, in line with pre-release expectations.

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