For the last few weeks the eyes of box office watchers have been on Disney’s mega-budget John Carter (read our review). The pricey project has had poor tracking and many were wondering if Disney would recoup their $250 million investment – that’s just the production budget –  at least another $100 million has been spent on the muddled marketing of the film. The result? A flaccid $9.8 million opening day, leading to an unspectacular opening weekend take of just $30.6 million.

Director Andrew Stanton’s film has had a troubled production – it has been in development at a variety of studios for around a century. That’s not even hyperbole – they’ve been trying to make this film since the book was first published in 1912!

The Edgar Rice Burroughs source material has been mined by George Lucas for his Star Wars films and James Cameron for Avatar, but John Carter won’t come near the grosses of those films. Recent, similar (financially disappointing) films from Disney would be Prince of Persia and Tron: Legacy, which opened to $30 million and $44 million respectively. Persia topped out at $90 million domestically, but went on to gross $335 million globally, while the Tron sequel banked $174 million at the US box office and another $228 million elsewhere for a $400 million total haul. It remains to be seen if John Carter will have this international box office bump, but again all eyes will be watching the film next weekend to see if it has legs. The film has collected an additional $70.6 million at the international box office, giving it a global cume of $101 million, it’s a decent number, but it will need to hold momentum if it wants to turn a profit and get a sequel.

However, forget John Carter, the weekend was ruled by The Lorax, which retained the number one spot after grossing another $39 million for a $121 million total. That’s down about $30 million from last weekend, but The Lorax is already a massive hit.

Low budget comedy Project X banked an additional $11.5 million and upped its cume to over $40 million. A sequel is already on the way.

Act of Valor shot up another $7.5 million and brought its total to $56 million – not a bad number for an action film that cost just $12 million to produce.

Million dollar horror Silent House (read our review) debuted to $7 million, a relatively poor number, considering that it will likely drop by 50% next weekend. It will probably find its audience on the home entertainment circuit – but, even at this point, it’ll still be very profitable.

Eddie Murphy’s latest bomb A Thousand Words (read our review) opened to just $6.3 million. The $40 million “comedy” is the latest in a long line of box office disasters for the Beverly Hills Cop star. Things were looking up last year with the release of Tower Heist and a potential Oscars hosting gig. Tower Heist made a decent $78 million domestically and over $152 million globally but then Murphy pulled out of the Oscars when Brett Ratner resigned (after saying some things that he shouldn’t have). A Thousand Words is in line with 2009’s Imagine That which debuted to just $5 million on its way to $16 million. One thing is for sure – it’s better than the $2 million start of 2002’s Pluto Nash. That film went on to gross just $4 million from a budget of $100 million. Ouch!

Safe House and The Vow both continue to do well. Safe House banked $5 million over the weekend and brought its total to over $115 million, while The Vow scored an additional $4 million for a $117 million cume.

This Means War brought in $3.6 million, which means that the Chris Pine/Tom Hardy comedy has now banked almost $47 million. Meanwhile, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island inched closer to the $100 million mark, grossing another $3.6 million and upping its cumulative gross to $90.6 million.

That’s it for now. See you at the movies.

Source: Box Office Mojo