Updated from 6:08 p.m. ET to include statement from Disney, after-hours share move. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What are the chances that Walt Disney ( DIS) goes back to Mars anytime soon? The company endured an epic bomb last year with "Mars Needs Moms" and now it's suffering a similar fate with "John Carter," the recently released science fiction action flick based on novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film, much of which takes place on the red planet, has reportedly taken in a little more than $53 million since its release on March 9, a disappointing performance considering its budget is estimated as exceeding $250 million.
Now the parent company is officially biting the bullet, telling media outlets its film division expects to record a loss of $200 million from the movie. Disney, whose shares closed Monday up 25 cents at $43.44, sent along this emailed statement on Monday, explaining that it now expects its Studio business to have an operating loss of $80 million to $120 million in its fiscal second quarter ending this month. "In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31," the company said, adding later: "As we look forward to the second half of the year, we are excited about the upcoming releases of The Avengers and Brave, which we believe have tremendous potential to drive value for the Studio and the rest of the company." The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is calling for Disney to post a profit of 61 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $9.62 billion. The Dow component is slated to release its quarterly results on May 7. Year-to-date, Disney shares are up nearly 16%, and the stock has recently been edging closer to its 52-week high of $44.13 set back on May 10, 2011. At current levels, the stock trades at forward price-to-earnings multiple of 12.8X vs. 13.4 for the S&P 500 as of Friday's close. The stock dipped 1% to $43 on after-hours volume of more than 200,000, according to Nasdaq.com. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.