Hey, remember John Carter? It’s the movie that lost as much money as The Avengers just made in three days. But Disney’s epic sci-fi bomb saw a dramatic jump in box office revenue last weekend, and it’s all thanks to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The weekend before The Avengers was released, John Carter ranked 38th in domestic box office, thanks to the few theaters that were still screening it. After The Avengers’ opening weekend it jumped to 12th and saw a week-to-week increase in revenue of over 1,000 percent, raking in $1.5 million two months after it debuted to extremely disappointing numbers.
So what does The Avengers have to do with this? Well, the Marvel juggernaut was paired with its less successful Disney cousin for a double feature at more than 150 drive-ins (remember those?) around the United States. Demand to see The Avengers was so high that even those theaters were packed, and lots and lots of drive-in moviegoers were happy enough to sit through John Carter too if it meant they got to see Joss Whedon’s superhero epic.
Double features are a drive-in theater tradition, but usually the older film of the two isn’t given such a huge leg-up by its younger, more successful counterpart. It doesn’t change John Carter’s status as a big disappointment for Disney, but it does leave us to wonder: Of all the people who sat through John Carter in order to see The Avengers, how many of them ended up enjoying it?