Ghosts Of Mars

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  • Directed By: John Carpenter
  • Written By: Larry Sulkis, John Carpenter
  • Release Date: August 24, 2001
  • Domestic Distributor: Sony (Screen Gems)
  • Cast: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall

Box Office Info:
Budget: $28 millionFinanced by: Sony
Domestic Box Office: $8,709,640Overseas Box Office: $5,301,192


Ghosts Of Mars was initially written as the third Snake Plissken entry Escape From Mars, but after the box office failure of Escape From L.A. it was repurposed into this picture.  The budget for Ghosts Of Mars was $28 million and financing came from Sony’s Screen Gems.  Veteran director John Carpenter became burned out while filming and the final product is arguably his worst and it’s sadly the experience on this production that he decided to leave filmmaking behind — until he helmed the small picture The Ward ten years later.

Ghosts Of Mars was originally going to star the not yet bankable Jason Statham, but the studio nixed that and gave the lead to Ice Cube and gave Statham a smaller role.  The bump in name recognition did not help much since Ice Cube refused to promote the picture saying“I couldn’t honestly get in front of a camera and tell people they should see a movie I wouldn’t want to watch myself.”  

Ghosts Of Mars was first dated for August 17 and then pushed back a week to the sleepy end of summer frame on August 24.  This unintentional comedy opened against a slew of comedies — Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Summer Catch, Bubble Boy and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.  The film received awful reviews and had little buzz going into release and tanked with $3,804,452 — placing #9 for the weekend led by the holdover American Pie 2.  Audiences gave the movie a C- cinemascore and it sank 57.5% the following weekend to $1,618,423 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  Ghosts Of Mars closed its domestic run with only $8,709,640.

Sony distributed in most overseas markets, where it grossed only $5.3 million.  The worldwide total was $14M and Sony would see returned about $7.7M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would leave much of the P&A expenses in the red and the budget untouched by the theatrical receipts.

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