In a weekend where the massively expensive sci-fi epic seemed poised for box-office infamy, Murphy's new comedy, A Thousand Words, might have taken the prize.
The booby prize.
The high-concept comedy grossed just $6.4 million Friday-Sunday, per estimates.
That's not good if the movie cost $40 million, as it reportedly did. That's worse if the movie cost $70 million, which Los Angeles Times said it did.
If the latter figure's correct, then seemingly against all odds A Thousand Words out-bombed John Carter.
Which might not have bombed.
Despite grossing $30.6 million domestically, a terrible start for a movie advertised as the first blockbuster of the year, much less one of the most expensive films of all-time, John Carter ended up with $101 million weekend thanks to solid debuts in Russia, Asia and other overseas markets.
While its debut leaves it a way from covering its $250 million price tag, it helps distinguish it from last year's irredeemable Martian bomb, Mars Needs Moms.
"Labeling [John Carter] as a financial disaster at this point doesn't really make sense," BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino said Sunday via email. "It's not going to be a huge blockbuster at home, but it's on pace to make up for that disappointment by doing well abroad."
For Murphy, A Thousand Words is not so much epic as more of the same. The hit-and-miss star has struck out before—Imagine That and Meet Dave, to name two recent misses, posted even lamer debuts than the new comedy.
And while Murphy has bounced back, this is probably the end of the line for John Carter.
The New Yorker reported that the movie would have to gross $700 million worldwide to warrant a sequel.
Elsewhere, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax held strong, and held onto No. 1 for a second straight weekend. With $121 million in the domestic bank, it's now 2012's top-grossing movie of the year.
The party kept going for Project X, while the new horror film Silent House didn't scare up much interest.
Tyler Perry's Good Deeds dropped out of the Top 10 after a two-weekend stay. The drama is on track to be the consistent Perry's lowest-grossing movie as a director.
Here's the rundown of the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday domestic estimates as reported by the studios and Exhibitor Relations:
(Originally published at 11:27 a.m. on March 11, 2012.)