After being denounced as one of the biggest box office busts of the year, Andrew Stanton's "John Carter" is getting launched in the home market this week alongside "Safe House," a gritty R-rated thriller starring Denzel Washington. "Act of Valor" will also get its DVD and Blu-ray release this week, and fans of "Breaking Bad" can get their hands on the acclaimed fourth season of AMC's hit series. Family film "Journey 2" also comes off of a surprisingly strong box office run and should do very well with its target audience over the next couple of weeks.
With an enormous production budget of $250 million, more than "The Avengers," "Men in Black III" and "Snow White and the Huntsman," "John Carter" hit theaters back in March with big expectations from distributor Disney. After making celebrated animated hits like "Finding Nemo" and "Wall-E," it proved to be a rough transition to live action for director Andrew Stanton, who watched "John Carter" sputter at the box office as it gathered mixed critical reviews. In the end, "John Carter" managed just $72 million in the U.S. and foreign numbers were slower than expected as well, leading to a very disappointing overall box office run.
Taylor Kitsch plays the enigmatic John Carter, a drifter in the old west who stumbles upon a portal that whips him to the red sands of Mars, putting him in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Though some applauded the visual creativity of "John Carter," audiences had a hard time buying into the over-the-top premise and it ended up dwarfed by the success of March releases like "The Hunger Games" and "The Lorax." Disney clearly intended for "John Carter" to turn into a franchise, though that seems unlikely even if it puts up decent numbers in the home market.
A movie that did considerably better with its target demographic was "Safe House," one of the most successful theatrical releases of 2012 so far. Starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, "Safe House" tells the story of a rogue CIA agent who teams up with a younger agent to navigate the shadowy world of espionage. Even with a difficult early February release date, "Safe House" easily clicked with adult audiences, helping it rack up a very strong $126 million domestically to make it the top earner of February.
Also doing very well back in February was "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," a family action film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Less than stellar critical reviews couldn't slow down "Journey 2" at the box office, as it racked up more than $100 million domestically and $300 million worldwide in one of the toughest times of the year to launch. Also starring Michael Caine, "Journey 2" is rated PG and should have no problems finding family audiences of all ages as it hits DVD and Blu-ray this week.
Aiming at a much different demographic will be "Act of Valor," one of the most surprising low-budget releases of the year. Featuring actual Navy SEALs, R-rated "Act of Valor" is an action romp that had no problem picking up adult audiences, leading to a strong $70 million domestic haul despite a production budget of $12 million and a limited marketing effort. "Act of Valor" will have to compete for audiences with "Safe House," but it shouldn't have too much of a problem being a hit in the home market as well.
Those not swayed by the feature releases this week might end up turning to the fourth season of "Breaking Bad," the acclaimed AMC series about a chemistry teacher turned meth dealer. Starring Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" is gearing up for the fifth season, which is set to air in about a month.
Though it's not a great week for older releases, film lovers can still find new Blu-ray versions of a few noteworthy films, including Martin Scorsese's "The Color of Money" and classic sports film "Hoosiers." A sequel to "The Hustler," "The Color of Money" wasn't one of Scorsese's most celebrated films when it hit theaters in the mid-1980s, though it did help snag an Academy Award for legendary actor Paul Newman. Meanwhile, "Hoosiers" is one of the most well-known sports movies and stars Gene Hackman as an inspirational coach who wills his team to victory against incredible odds.
Next week, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is the most prominent new title ready to hit DVD and Blu-ray followed by "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," another one of Nicolas Cage's over-the-top action flicks that struggled to make much of an impact in theaters. New Blu-ray collections of Charlie Chaplain's "The Gold Rush" and Hal Ashby's classic "Harold and Maude" will also be available, as will the eighth and final season of HBO's "Entourage."
by RTT Staff Writer
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