Remember a little over a week ago I wrote that people weren't sure if Disney's John Carter was a bomb or not, well, I guess it's official because Disney has announced that they're taking a $200 million bath on the production. You know we can always take the word of Hollywood studios when it comes to movie money.
Well, this is a case where we can put on our smug know it all caps and try to figure out what went wrong, so the mistakes made on this film are not made again.
1. THE PRICE WAS TOO DAMN HIGH. When all the audience is hearing was how the budget of a movie could have fed a Third World country for a year, they're going to get suspicious. When it was released most critics were unable to see beyond the price tag, and seemed to hold it against the movie.
2. THE TITLE. Calling it John Carter, instead of the original working title of John Carter of Mars was reportedly the idea of director, Pixar auteur, Andrew Stanton.
The source material is about 100 years old. Those who didn't know who the hell John Carter was, they saw cowboys, they saw aliens, and assumed it was some sort of rehash of the disastrous Cowboys & Aliens instead of a story of a man from Earth having adventures on Mars.
3. THE MARKETING. Selling this movie was extremely lackluster. For every ad that looked interesting there was five that made it look like yet another soulless CGI fest. They should have emphasized the fact that John Carter is an old fashioned hero in every sense of the word, sans post-modern irony, meta-commentary or obnoxious posturing.
Then came the failure to capitalize on the fact that most ordinary movie-goers who went to see it, enjoyed it. Disney failed completely to use that positive word of mouth to the film's advantage. This throwing in the towel when they couldn't just throw money at the problem is making poor old Walt Disney spin in his cryogenic storage chamber.
4. THE 3D. There are only two ways 3D can still sell a movie.
A) The movie is marketed towards really stupid children who like to see candy colored cartoons shill them products between annoying catchphrases and slapstick antics.
B) The audience already knows it's going to be a great movie.
Unless you have one or both of those factors working for you 3D is a negative. That's because most movie goers have been burned too many times. They pay the extra money, wear the glasses that give them a headache, and what do they get for their trouble? A lighter wallet and a headache.
Now that you know what I think contributed to John Carter's failure, tell me what you think in the comments.