When Tron: Legacy was released, there was a lot of talk about if the film was profitable enough to make a sequel. The film reportedly cost $170 million and grossed $400 million worldwide which, on paper, seems like a home run. But factor in marketing costs, among other things, and it’s far from that. The proof is in the pudding. Though there have been rumors and writers attached to a sequel, nothing official has been announced almost a year later.

Disney has similar gamble coming up with John Carter, Andrew Stanton‘s first foray into live-action which is reportedly sporting a $250 million production budget. Reactions to the trailer and new footage have run the gamut between disdain and enthusiasm which is bad considering, according to a new article, it’ll have to pull in $700 million for Disney to justify a sequel. Read more after the jump.

Vulture points us to a New Yorker profile on Stanton (which is not available in full online) that says the following:

John Carter … will have to earn about $700 million to justify a sequel.

$700 million would put the film in the top 50 highest grossing films of all time, something Stanton previously experienced with Finding Nemo. However, that’s a tough mountain to climb for a movie with an unproven lead star, unspecific title and little in terms of general audience buzz six months out from a March 2012 release.

Those last few points, however, are virtual mirrors of what people said before Avatar came out and that seemed to do pretty well. We also know that Stanton is a stickler for story and visuals, so you’ve got to be pretty confident the film will at least be good. Then there’s that Disney marketing machine, sure to kick into high gear around the holidays, that will plaster the film everywhere. Of course, that huge marketing push is part of the reason why a $250 million movie costs more like $400 million before one ticket is bought. But, if it works, it could pay off big.

If it does pay off, there’s a whole series of John Carter books Disney and Stanton could mine, hence the reason the “of Mars” was dropped from the title. One of the film’s actors said the reason for the chance was that John Carter doesn’t earn that title until the end of the film. That’s not the only thing that needs to be earned to see more of this series.

Do you think John Carter has a shot at $700 million worldwide?

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