Why ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Flopped At the Box Office

Why ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Flopped At the Box Office

The failure of the film points to a host of issues including waning interest in 3D and computer animation.

Dylan Schenker
  • 16 march 2011

Robert Zemeckis’ new sci-fi family flick, which premiered this weekend, already has analysts decrying the film as potentially one of the worst flops in history. The film, about the abduction of moms by martians and the boy who decides to travel to Mars to get his mother back, cost a staggering 175 million dollars to produce and raked in a paltry 6.9 million this weekend.

Several reason why the film performed so poorly have been bandied about among studios and critics alike. In an era where 3D is seen to be a solution to increase theater attendance Mars Needs Moms could be seen as a referendum on the waning interest for the technology. As The New York Times points out, the premium costs of children’s tickets could be a major reason why the film flopped.

The targeted audience may have very well been the key problem insofar that children may have been deterred by the concept of the children’s mother’s being abducted or the creepy motion captured animation. In comments to The Hollywood Reporter, observers comment on the discomfort the animation made them feel as well as the problematic nature of advertising a film to boys with the word ‘Mom’ in the title.

The proliferation of this animation is up in the air as Zemeckis’ (a key proponent of motion capture who gave up live action filmmaking in favor of animation) ImageMovers Digital has been shuttered and future films put on the chopping block. Avatar’s success is looking less likely to repeat itself among other films following in its footsteps. While utilizing similar technology, Avatar blended it with live action and did so in a way that for many came off as less strange than other films.

New York Times: “Mars Needs Moms Flops, and Some Blame 3D Prices”


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