Box Office Bomb: Not as badly as Disney initially thought. The film had a production budget of $250 million, $350 million if you include marketing. While it underperformed tragically stateside with only $73 million, but (barely) recouped its budget with $282 million worldwide. On the bright side, Carter's losses were significantly less than fellow Disney movies Mars Needs Moms and The Lone Ranger.
This seems to be based on the misconception that the studio keeps every dollar that is spent on the film. In reality they get about fifty cents on the dollar from US first-run exhibitions, and even less in the case of the foreign markets the film depended upon so heavily. If anyone ever finds the "real" Disney Studios books, they'd probably show John Carter as a loss even as of 2013.
Creator Killer: Rich Ross was fired from his position as Disney Studios leader weeks after Disney predicted they'd lose $200 million on the project (though currently the actual losses stand at just less than $100 million, and that's if you count the advertising budget). The film, however, hasn't been proven a Stillborn Franchiseyet, though it's dangerously close to being one considering where it stands at the moment, though considering its performance on retail shelves.....
The two really weren't competing against each other as the films were aimed towards totally different audiences (this film for young males, The Hunger Games for teen girls). This film's actual rival was Wrath Of The Titans (a similar literary concept with big action sequences, a buff male lead and releases in 3-D).
Executive Meddling: The film was apparently titled John Carter of Mars at first. A promotional logo for the film is a stylized "JCM". But then Mars was dropped, leaving the film with a nondescript title. John Carter is a quite ordinary name compared to the likes of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers and it stands out precisely because of the association with Mars. No wonder this didn't go over well with fans and others. Not to mention that Mars, including the JCM logo, was downplayed in the marketing (along with any mention of creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, the guy also responsible for Tarzan among others...)
Ink Stain Adaptation: Don't expect anyone else to touch this franchise again for at least a few decades.
Old Shame: Andrew Stanton has already confessed that he isn't too satisfied with how the movie turned out.
Troubled Production: There were reservations at Disney about letting Stanton direct the film, despite his obvious sentimental attachment to the material, because he'd never directed a live-action feature before. But, since he'd made WALL•E and Finding Nemo into hits, they let him do it even though he warned them, "I'm not gonna get it right the first time, I'll tell you that right now." Indeed, the film required extensive double reshoots. Throughout production, he ignored the advice of the crewmembers who were live-action veterans in favor of his Pixar friends, back in their offices. Rich Ross and the other studio executives at Disney likewise had little experience with feature films, since most had come from television.
Then, it came time to market the film, which was already handicapped in that department by having no big stars in the cast. A trailer shown at a Disney con did not go over well, and Stanton refused to take any advice from the studio's marketing department. He insisted on using Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" in the trailer even after it was pointed out to him that a 30-year-old classic-rock song was not likely to resonate with the younger male audience the film was intended for. In addition to all the titling problems noted above.
Granted, once one remembers that film journalists get much of their information from executives, perhaps the above should be taken with a massive grain of salt as an attempt to throw Stanton under the bus.