John Carter Lands Disney Atop Friday Box Office with $9.8 Million

John Carter Lands Disney Atop Friday Box Office with $9.8 MillionDisney’s John Carter science fiction epic starring Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins narrowly won its opening day at the box office on Friday. The single day win will likely be the beginning and end of good news when it comes to Disney’s pricey theatrical gamble based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

Through its first 24 hours of release, John Carter and its dusty Mars setting (or Barsoom as the planet’s gangly inhabitants refer to it) opened with $9.8 million in ticket sales. For a modestly budgeted film that number would be considered a success. However, Disney is estimated to have spent $250 or more on John Carter before marketing expenses which could push the total cost well above $300 million. An opening weekend in the $30 million range is nothing short of a monumental bust, the second one for Disney following last year’s Mars Needs Moms.

John Carter narrowly beat last weekend’s big opener, Universal’s The Lorax, which came in second on Friday with $9.6 million. The Lorax is all but assured to win the weekend with numbers that will approach $40 million once the family matinee showings are counted. With a cumulative gross of $92.5 million through Friday, The Lorax will cruise past the $100 million mark on its ninth day of release.

Last weekend’s other new release, the found footage flick Project X, came in third with $4 million. With almost $33 million in total ticket sales, Project X should already be considered a success.

Coming in fourth was the new release film Silent House starring Elizabeth Olsen with a anemic $2.6 million bow. It won’t hit $10 million for the weekend, a mark most successful horror films are able to reach.

Wrapping the top five was the active US Navy SEALS thriller Act of Valor with $2 million.

Paramount’s long shelved A Thousand Words starring Eddie Murphy limped into the top 10 with $1.9 million on its first day of release. Look for the film to finish around $7 million, which is probably as much as or more than Paramount was hoping for.

The full weekend box office recap will be published Sunday afternoon. Stop back to see if John Carter hit $30 million and if The Lorax touched $40 million.

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