23rd March 2012: Disney’s Writedown on John Carter of Mars


The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced on 20th March 2012 that it was taking a $US200 million writedown on the film John Carter of Mars and would book a $US80-120 million loss for the March quarter. Analysts expected a $100-150 million loss on the film. DIS stock initially rose on 21st March before short-selling, panic selling by day traders, and portfolio stop-losses pushed DIS lower. John Carter of Mars had several problems: director Andrew Stanton was new to live action; its audience was unfamiliar with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels (in contrast to The Hunger Games); Disney’s management had changed; and marketing staff and budgets had been cut. DIS pins its 2012 film portfolio on DreamWorks, Pixar and Marvel Studio releases.