John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars

Release Date: August 24, 2001

That is one lavish Broadway play.

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Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge star in the newest offering from Super-B movie director John Carpenter. The time is sometime in the dark future and the setting is a crappy Hollywood sound stage. Carpenter once again brings us his brand of high-grade B movie madness and with a summer release, this movie feels more like a low-grade A movie production.

This movie looks like your run-of-the-mill Carpenter movie, less the cool, slick presentation. The ads make it feel uneven and really don't hint as to a central story. The cheesy dialogue is there, the bad acting is definitely prevalent, but what is lacking here is that sly grin that Carpenter has injected into movies such as Escape From New York and Vampires.

The expectation is that this movie will fail as a big summer blockbuster…fail miserably in fact. Much like the production, the movie's grasp is perhaps extending beyond its reach. The expectation should be that this movie does decent initial box office business relative to other low-budget horror/sci-fi. At this stage of very little advertising and virtually no hint as to what the marketing strategy will be, it is too early to tell how badly the movie will do. (Walid Habboub/BOP)

August 6, 2001
Sony has decided to push Ghosts of Mars back a week in order to distance itself from action blockbuster Rush Hour 2, which studio execs expect to show stronger staying power than other huge openers such as Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park III. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Box Office Autopsy
John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is the epitome of late August dreck at movie theatres, and boy did it fail badly. At least most North American moviegoers were smart enough to avoid it.

Ghosts of Mars opened on August 24 and grossed an embarrassing $3.8 million from a somewhat wide 2,048 screens. After having $9 million opens from John Carpenter's Vampires and Escape From LA, Carpenter went back to his old box office style, ala Memoirs of an Invisible Man ($4.6m open) and Village of the Damned ($3.22m open).

What happened? Reviews and buzz were brutal heading into opening weekend. The film scored a 19% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, and the marketing was a confusing nightmare. Add this to the late summer opening and the fact that the film opened against four other wide releases. Failure was its destiny. The film had a $28 million production budget and grossed only $8.43 million after playing for only four weekends. Sadly, the once great Carpenter hasn't worked since. (John Hamann/BOP)

Vital statistics for John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars
Main Cast Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall
Director John Carpenter
Screenwriter Larry Sulkis, John Carpenter
Distributor MGM
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating R
Running Time 98 minutes
Screen Count 2,048
Also see Trailer Review by Stephanie Star Smith
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Mission to Mars 3/10/0022.86 25.57 3054 7485.00 8054.4 60.87 68.09 2.66
Next Friday 1/14/0014.44 16.15 1103 13092.00 14087.9 57.18 63.96 3.12
Pitch Black 2/18/0011.58 12.95 1832 6321.00 6801.8 39.24 43.89 2.91
Event Horizon 8/15/979.51 12.49 2311 4115.00 5199.8 26.64 34.99 2.80
John Carpenter's Vampires 10/30/989.11 11.71 1793 5081.00 6283.5 19.92 25.61 2.19
Escape from LA 8/9/968.91 12.15 2312 3854.00 5057.3 25.43 34.69 2.85
Red Planet 11/10/008.72 9.75 2703 3226.00 3471.4 17.47 19.54 2.00
Arrival, The 5/31/964.81 6.56 1693 2841.00 3728.0 14.03 19.14 2.92
John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars 8/24/013.80 4.05 2048 1858.00 1907.3 8.44 9.00 2.22



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