With the movie set to lose up to $136 million, we look at why it flopped . . .

Daft title, ain’t it?

As Daniel Kimmel of SciFiMoviePage.com wrote: “Start with the title. It’s based on the first book in the series, A Princess of Mars. However the teen and twenty-something target audience hearing about a Disney princess movie would have assumed it was a sequel to The Little Mermaid, so they decided to call it John Carter of Mars. The only problem with that is that their market research folks told them that Mars didn’t test well. And, after Disney’s bomb Mars Needs Moms last year, is that surprising? So they called it John Carter, a name utterly meaningless to their audience. (Wasn’t he president before Reagan?)”

The movie’s not that good

We gave John Carter a positive 3 out of 4 stars, but it opened to iffy reviews and scored a mere 49% at RottenTomatoes.com.

The movie seems to put off non-genre fans.

“The early part of the film brings unfortunate comparisons to the 1984 adaptation of Dune in that there’s a lot of information to assimilate so that you can follow what’s going on,” Daniel Kimmel wrote in his review.

An early review by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian was far less generous:

John Carter is one of those films that is so stultifying, so oppressive and so mysteriously and interminably long that I felt as if someone had dragged me into the kitchen of my local Greggs, and was baking my head into the centre of a colossal cube of white bread.”

And:

“This film can’t go 10 minutes without actors striding on saying something ridiculous in a silly outfit with a straight face.”

The movie cost a fortune to make

$250 million, excluding marketing costs. This is more than what Avatar cost to make. For a movie like this to work financially it must appeal to non-science fiction fans too. Internet SF fans may have gone gaga, but mainstream audiences were largely unaware of the film’s existence.

No-one knows the character

Any sci-fi fan worth his salt will know the John Carter character from the 1912 serial by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, but let’s face up to it: John Carter is far less known that, let’s say, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter or James Bond.

Stiff competition

As Kimmel wrote: “In two weeks the movie version of The Hunger Games arrives, and the same target audience drawing a blank on Princess of Mars is already snapping up tickets for the other film.”

Poor marketing

“Audiences have not been prepared for the film and Disney is supposedly already prepared to write off the $250 million film as a loss,” Daniel Kimmel writes. “Like the schemers in The Producers who want to ensure their show is a flop, they [Disney marketing] also set out to antagonize the critics, who might have been able to help them promote their movie. Much of the media was shut out of interview opportunities and then at preview screenings everyone – including working press – had cell phones and laptops confiscated.”

No “hook”

The marketing for films such as Avatar and Rise of the Planet of the Apes focused on the special effects by WETA to create their alien planets or realistic CG chimps, but this angle was largely missing from Disney’s marketing efforts. Kimmel: “The most memorable characters are the Tharks, voiced by Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, and Samantha Morton, who show us how far removed we are from Jar Jar Binks. The visual design is a major plus, with images that seem to have popped out of illustrations by the legendary Frank Frazetta.”

Instead the marketing for John Carter brought up generic visuals from Prince of Persia, another failed Disney attempt to duplicate the success of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Mars movies really are jinxed

See: http://www.scifimoviepage.com/blog/movies/why-cant-hollywood-make-a-decent-film-about-mars/

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Category: Features, Movies

About the Author

James has been running The Sci-Fi Movie Page since Before the Beginning of Time Itself (TM), i.e. since the site's inception in 1997. In addition to sci-fi James also likes 1970s motorbikes and chili dogs although he doesn't own the former and no longer eats the latter. He currently resides in Kiev, Ukraine for reasons best left unexplained.

  • Skaffres

    I liked the movie.  But I’m a Burroughs fan and I read the book over 50 years ago.

  • Daleknaffla

    it looks ridiculously awesome. The critics seem to be wrong on every movie. They like the “pianist”, and “Chicago”, but they could never like this because they are pompous dorks. If only their dumb opinions meant anything to anyone other than other boring, pompous, idiots.

  • Anonymous

     “Audiences have not been prepared for the film and Disney is supposedly
    already prepared to write off the $250 million film as a loss,” Daniel
    Kimmel writes. “Like the schemers in The Producers who want to
    ensure their show is a flop, they [Disney marketing] also set out to
    antagonize the critics, who might have been able to help them promote
    their movie. Much of the media was shut out of interview opportunities
    and then at preview screenings everyone – including working press – had
    cell phones and laptops confiscated.”

    so instead they should of let all the critics have there cell phones and laptops so they could show all of the best bits so as to spoil the experience for everyone

    i went to see this movie and it is awsome 10/10 well acted good story great effects and as for it being too long i would of gladly watched it for another hour as it seemed too short to me.

    ps everyone i know who has seen this movie loves it sounds like the critics are trying to kill this movie maybe they disney did not give them enough freebies to bribe them.

  • yeeeeeeeeUP

    I thought this movie was great… It meshed so many plots that I’ve enjoyed in the past. And I guess originally being written in 1912, this plot could be the formers inspiration.

  • Leroy

    The trailers stopped me from seeing this film.  Looked too much like Avatar, Star Wars Jar-Jar Binks, and the whole white guy trying to save a world premise is so old and tired that it’s become laughable.  And when did Mars look like an Arizona desert????  A scene shown in one of the trailers where John Carter has some kind of alien dog…jezz, this is just way too Disney.  You have “Clash of the Titans” and a few years back “300″ which both look like this film.  Really???  Disney thought this was going to make money???  Movie makers are so chicken-shit now a days.  No one wants to do something different.  Let’s play it safe and make something that’s similar to what out there already.  Or make a sequel-prequel of something.  And if you’re going to pick a book to do a movie from, find a good one.  The book series this was supposed to be based on is basically Tarzan on Mars.  Really???  This is a good idea???  Guess that’s why Disney lost a bundle on this.  My suggestion for them, stay away from sci-fi stories.  You guys can’t handle them properly.

Pages

Calendar

July 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031