Walt Disney says its big-budget Martian adventure John Carter will lose up to $US200 million in the current quarter.

It will be one of the biggest single film losses in history after the CGI-heavy film, based on an obscure Edgar Rice Burroughs book published almost 100 years ago, failed to win over a big enough audience to cover an estimated $US250 million production budget plus marketing costs.

“In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($US184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $US200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31," Disney said in a statement.

"As a result, our current expectation is that the studio segment will have an operating loss of between $US80 and $US120 million for the second quarter. 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 film endured much criticism before its release because of its hefty budget and a lacklustre marketing campaign.

However, the film has posted a relatively solid performance at the Australian box office, grossing $4.16 million since its March 8 release.

Contact this reporter at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bcswift.

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