Box Office Report: 'John Carter' Stumbles, 'Lorax' Likely to Win Weekend Crown

3:47 PM PST 03/09/2012 by Pamela McClintock
© 2011 Disney
"John Carter"

Andrew Stanton's $250 million only on track for $25 million to $30 million debut unless business turns around; Eddie Murphy comedy "A Thousand Words" and horror pic "Silent House" also soft.

Disney's John Carter, the first 3D tentpole of 2012, is off to a weak start and may not cross $30 million in its domestic debut despite a hefty production budget of $250 million-plus a major marketing spend.

Early returns show John Carter earning around $10 million on Friday, putting it on course for a weekend in the $25 million to $30 million range, far short of what Disney needs to put the film in the black.

Pixar's Andrew Stanton-directed John Carter, which marks his live-action debut after turning out blockbusters Finding Nemo and WALL-E. In an ironic twist of fate, Stanton's film will likely be trounced by Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s animated holdover Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which is eyeing a $40 million-plus gross in its second weekend.

Two other films open wide at the domestic box office this weekend: the Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words and horror pic Silent House, starring Elizabeth Olson. Both films were off to a soft start on Friday.

Silent House, distributed by Open Road Films, is looking at a weekend gross in the $6 million to $8 million range, while Paramount's Thousand Words may not do much more than $5 million.

Overseas, John Carter opened strong in Russia, but is off to a muted start in Europe and Australia.

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