How badly did Mars Needs Moms flop? Badly enough to earn the number four spot on EW’s list of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history. The $150 million film earned just $39 million, making it Disney’s worst performer of all time. The box office was so poor that it inspired Disney execs to shorten John Carter of Mars‘ title, changing it to just John Carter. (Spoiler alert: Their gambit didn’t work.)
But even though critics and audiences around the globe shunned this animated film, Mars Needs Moms did have at least one champion. EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the move an A-, calling it “visually magnificent” and favorably comparing it to James Cameron’s Avatar. And apparently, Mars producer Robert Zemeckis agrees with her sentiment.
Zemeckis — director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Polar Express, and the Back to the Future trilogy, among others — recently stopped by the Philadelphia Film Festival for a Q&A about his latest flick, Flight. But the filmmaker wasn’t opposed to answering questions about other properties as well — and when critic Martin Schneider asked Zemeckis to explain Mars Needs Moms, the filmmaker didn’t skip a beat. Zemeckis said that the comedy simply hadn’t been marketed property. He was entirely happy with Mars‘ quality, though: “It’s the best 3-D movie since Avatar,” he told the crowd.
Well, okay, then! There are plenty of now-beloved movies that failed miserably during their initial box office outings; maybe Mars Needs Moms is destined to join their ranks. Are Zemeckis and Schwarzbaum’s appraisals enough to make you give this flop another chance?