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The Action-Adventure Movie That Ruined Taylor Kitsch's Career

Originally a model for fashion companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch (via The National News), actor Taylor Kitsch broke out with mainstream audiences on the popular NBC series "Friday Night Lights" on which he played teen football player Tim Riggins for five seasons. The hard-hitting fullback proved a complicated fan favorite on the critical darling, largely because he proved himself a loyal friend and team player despite his many personal shortcomings. Variety commented on Kitsch's performance that "there may be no more compelling, tortured soul on the 'FNL' roster than Riggins."

After he appeared in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" as Gambit, as well as in 2010 drama "The Bang Bang Club," The Hollywood Reporter named Kitsch as one of the young actors threatening to become an A-lister. The burgeoning star had nowhere to go but up. That is, until he agreed to be the lead in a massive Disney blockbuster based on a famous and best-selling science fiction novel. It must have seemed like a no-brainer for Kitsch at the time, but in the end, the film's disastrous release also derailed his rise to superstardom in a major way.

This is the action-adventure sci-fi film that destroyed Taylor Kitsch's career.

Massive flop John Carter ended Kitch's shot at movie stardom

Based on the classic novel "A Princess of Mars" written by "Tarzan" creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andrew Stanton's film "John Carter" stars Kitsch as the title character. Carter is a 19th century Civil War veteran accidentally transported to the dying red planet of Mars. Captured by the four-armed alien Tharks, the traumatized former soldier soon finds himself plunged into a millennia-old war between clashing Martian civilizations.

Whether because of poor marketing or disinterest in the premise, "John Carter" grossed only $284 million worldwide on an enormous estimated $263 million budget, making the film one of the biggest box office bombs of all time. With "Carter" and another huge disaster, "Battleship," released in the same calendar year of 2012, Kitsch's brief A-list status was finished.

Still, Kitsch has bounced back lately thanks to television. The actor has appeared most recently in "True Detective" Season 2, "Waco," and in the Netflix series "The Defeated." Kitsch himself has even commented that "John Carter" seems to be better remembered these days thanks to streaming: "I guess people who watch it now for the first time can take a lot more away from it than people did at first ... I honestly don't see it as a failure" (via THR).

You can currently watch "John Carter" yourself on Disney+.