Friday, February 24, 2012

The John Carter Chronology

So a week ago, the Nikkster plants her standard snark-tipped harpoon in the side of Disney's March 9th release:

‘John Carter’ Tracking Shockingly Soft: “Could Be Biggest Writeoff Of All Time”

Hollywood is in a tizzy over the early tracking which just came online this morning for Walt Disney Studios‘ John Carter opening March 9th. “Not good. 2 unaided, 53 aware, 27 definitely interested, 3 first choice,” a senior exec at a rival studio emails me. ...

And the narrative is set: "The picture's a bomb!" ... "Rich Ross is going down!" (etc.) And in lemming-like fashion, a spate of unflattering articles appear.

Around Hollywood, Disney’s quarter-billion-dollar 3-D epic John Carter holds a dubious renown: it’s the film with Avatar-size ambitions that’s being greeted sight unseen as the next Ishtar.

... [H]eads have already started to roll right out of the Team Disney building and onto Dopey Drive in Burbank. In January, Disney Studios worldwide marketing chief MT Carney, who arrived with much fanfare in 2010 from the New York advertising world, was out after a string of failures ... Meanwhile, at studio commissaries around town, the long steak knives are already out for Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross, who’s managed to make more than a few enemies ...

Also, too:

'John Carter': Disney Scrambles to Save its $250 Million Gamble

... Observers also have taken aim at the studio's decision to drop "of Mars" from the title, arguing that the property loses definition and scope without it. Insiders say the title change was hotly debated a year ago when the word "Mars" was verboten in the wake of Disney's March 2011 bomb Mars Needs Moms. ...

But then, the picture gets its L.A. premiere.

... "We made a f---ing great movie in John Carter," said star Taylor Kitsch. "It's such wasted energy if I worry about what a million people I don't know are going to think. I'm excited for people to enjoy the journey."

... During the afterparty, producer Jim Jacks ... approached Disney production chief Sean Bailey to say how much he was taken with the movie. "Taylor makes a great John Carter," Jacks told Bailey, adding that he also liked how Stanton solved a tricky ending with something he thought was "better than the book."

Reaction on Twitter has been positive: "John Carter is much better than you're expecting it to be. A lot not shown in the advertising," wrote Peter Sciretta of Slash Film soon after the premiere. "Lynn and Taylor were great. You'll love Woola and will leave hoping they'll make a sequel." ...

Although no reviews have (yet) cropped up on Rotten Tomatoes, some unauthorized -- and positive -- critiques have materialized on the web.

... [U]nlike Avatar, there is some real meat to this story. A Princess of Mars (the book it was based upon) really invented the action-adventure genre, and you can definitely see it here. I had a great longing to return back to the world that John Carter was transported too, much more than I did in Avatar. While both movies have an impeccably rich world surrounding the story, I felt much more invested in what was going on. The movie is fairly long (2h 15m or so) but the story moved everything along at a brisk pace. They also spend a surprisingly decent amount of time on Earth in the beginning, which was definitely nice to see ...

On the other hand, an anonymous poster down below weighs in with this:

Saw the film the other night. Boy-- it's really bad. Indistinguishable from every other overproduced fx bore out in the last few years -- except this one is also very amateurishly made. It really is hard to keep track of all the characters that look alike, but after a few minutes I just stopped caring. The fight scenes, in particular, are poorly staged. But it's the writing and acting that drag it down. Only saving grace is that I got free tickets.

Hokaay.

I haven't the foggiest idea how the epic will perform. Judging from the clips, the picture owns some scope and energy, but whether people will like the desert landscapes, and whether enough of the world's population will turn out to make Carter a money spinner is really anybody's guess.

I won't gift you with mine, because it's probably wrong.

The only prediction I'll make is, John Carter will earn more at the world box office than the last Mars feature that Disney released. You know, the one about Moms?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the problem with "Mars Needs Moms" was that it had "Mars" in the title.

Anonymous said...

This film does look good from the extended scene and should perform better than Disney's marketing allowed it. Stanton's not unfamiliar with bad predictions for his films - I seem to recall a lot of negativity about a certain film dubbed Fishtar before it went and broke many records.
Part of the problem, that I'm perceiving is that Stanton is suffering from the Pixar curse. Everyone is hoping their good luck has hit the wall.

Anonymous said...

Dropping "of Mars" from the title is such a bone-head move.

Whats with executives always having to fuck with the names of films? I swear every film I hear about now goes through some sort of title change.

I think changing the title of a film is more damaging to it (because of the implication of insecurity on the studios part) than just letting it ride.

Anonymous said...

Disney's big mistake is NOT telling the audience what it's about.
Nobody knows anything about this film.
They don't know it's in Civil War era, it goes Mars. It's like they were afraid the audience would be turned off by a period sci-fy film. But now everyone is confused and there is no awareness of this picture.

Why did Rich Ross fire everyone when he took over Walt Disney Pictures, or should I say just "Disney?" At least they knew how to market films.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet you anything they cheaped out on the VFX and used a lot of sub-par vendors to save money then ended up with bad work that is still getting fixed on the final delivery day, never mind getting it into the trailer. When will these people learn?

Floyd Norman said...

Instead of taking advantage of the name, Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter of Mars, Disney gets rid of everything that would make their movie recognizable. All the great sci-fi stuff we know today actually began here.

As with the title change on "Rapunzel" these Disney executives again prove they are morons.

Anonymous said...

No one cares about this film. It looks terrible.

Anonymous said...

Well, you can be damn sure Disney wasn't going to call it "A Princess of Mars"" , but just plain "John Carter" ... meh. What a boring title. Hope the movie is better than it sounds.

Joel Fletcher said...

This arena sequence with the white apes looks really good, and actually gives me some hope that the film might be decent. The Mars novels by Burroughs are iconic and have a fan base from way back. Why make a movie based on that material and not capitalize on it in the promotion campaign? I agree with Floyd, that dropping MARS from the title, and ignoring the author Edgar Rice Burroughs, is the epitome of stupidity.

Mike said...

How about John Carter of Geonosis?

Anonymous said...

The Bear and the Bow changing to Brave is boring too. Brave sounds like a Native American film

Anonymous said...

Still don't get why there is so much hatred for this film, I don't understand why people want it to fail. I have never read the books but from what I have heard of the story and from the visuals it looks awesome. Again the hatred all seems to come from people who work in the business.

Anonymous said...

Uh, NO ONE wants it to fail. We're simply reacting to the trailers, which aren't interesting, and the animation/effects work that doesn't look very good. I really wanted this film to be awesome and it just doesn't look like it will be.

It's not BAD, but compared to Avatar and other sci-fi or fantasy epics, it looks just kinda blah.

Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah, many people want it to fail for many reasons. Least of all the fact that it's Disney and Stanton. Not very good reasons, but Hollywood loves a good train crash.

Here's fan made version of the trailer that Stanton likes better than the Disney version.
The film is starting to get very good reviews

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Wolvie09/news/?a=55337

Anonymous said...

The animation and efx work does not look very good? Looks spot on to me and yes I am an animator. Why do you people hate Stanton? People want him to fail because he isn't doing an animated feature, don't get it. Brad Bird is doing live action as well and he is loved. Of course Brad can do no wrong in my eyes, after working with him on Iron Giant I measure all other animated features to him and the way that film was ran. How about we wait and see how this movie does. Also an earlier post said it was 2 hrs and 15 mins, good! I love getting my money's worth and it looks like it can keep me intrigued the whole time. Last remark, the lead female is so hot, loved her in wolverine.

Anonymous said...

No, Hollywood likes to make tons of money on movies, not trainwrecks. You're confusing "Hollywood" with "Internet blogs."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, dude. The only studio that hopes their film is a hit is the studio that made it. Everyone else is hoping it goes down in flames. Very few people in Hollywood root for the other guy. Especially if the other guy has had too much success (ie: Pixar)

Anonymous said...

This is based on that L. Ron Hubbard book, right?

robert said...

Well I read the book smany years ago and have always loved them. The first three are classics. The look of the trailer kind of turned me off though as a big, souless spectacle, however I am still going to see it. Having said that I DON'T want the film to fail, but if it turns out they blew it (and yes I admit that I wondered how well this story would adapt to the screen)then I would be happy to see it fail and go away. It smeels a bit like they might have. This story needed $250 million dollars to make it work? That raises a red flag to me.

Anonymous said...

I've been a Burroughs fan for the last four decades and was very happy to find the John Carter books available for my e-reader. They followed the style of the books more than the letter of them in making this movie which worked out just fine. I went with my 26 year old son who has not read any of the books and we both thoroughly enjoyed the movie. What others have maligned as bad acting is in fact a credible rendition of the somewhat stilted speech modes employed by the author in the books. I think the only unfortunate things about this movie is the dropping "of Mars" from the title as mentioned by others, and the high budget. Because they had followed the flavor of the books so well I honestly think they could have used simpler, cheaper special effects and not bothered with the 3D at all. The movie would have had a classic feel to it that would have definitely appealed to people such as myself who appreciate substance over eye candy.

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