|Take me Back to Barsoom! Artwork by Jeff Doten|
Was John Carter a flop?At the close of 2012 there was one question on my mind, did "John Carter" do well enough to warrant a sequel? The quick answer would be "no." It was immediately labeled a $200 million loss for the studio. But was it really? Most people agree that the marketing was terrible, unclear if it was copying Star Wars and Avatar or if it was the other way around; even though Avatar's director mentioned several times that A Princess of Mars was his inspiration for Avatar's plot and overall feel, the book that it was adapted from. (You can now download the book for free or buy the paperback:)
But was it a half-hearted effort? Launching the film in March, which is one of the worst months to launch a tent-pole film, not taking advantage of the full rights for merchandising, toys, limited edition collectors items and plush toys including video games and action figures, etc. But I digress. The film actually did very well in other countries like Russia and China, where it's record setting box office receipts should have someone talking about a sequel. But it was too late. Even a fan trailer that was well received on movie websites and even by the director couldn't save the campaign. Already labeled a failure by Disney's CEO, and journalists far and wide labeling it as a bloated big budget project along the lines of Ishtar, Heavens Gate and other bad films. To be fair though, reviews were mixed. Most people when they see it say that it was better than they thought it would be. Many of my friends said they liked it, and the film's main interest group, baby boomers and ERB fans generally were satisfied with the results.
The film has actually created the fan base it was looking for, that it could have had before a SUMMER release.
Where are the "John Carter" Toys?
There is a lot of money to be made on a line of toys. When Disney failed to launch any toy line, other than vinylmation others took matters into their own hands sometimes literally. Hand made woolas (John Carter's alien dog), tin casted miniatures and a new life for a toy line from 1995 by Trendmasters. Once sold for $3.99, around Christmas the Tarzan epic adventures Mars series were selling as high as $40! Now the price has dropped to around $18-30 with the lower demand, but just think if their would have been an official toy line!
|Black Hat miniatures "Giant Tribal Martians"|
|Tars Tarkas and John Carter by Triad|
|Fan Made Legos Set by fan|
|Selling for $18.00 on Amazon.com trendmasters from 1995|
|Hand made woolas for sale on Etsy selling for $45-75|
A video game series would have surely followed if it had been taken advantage of. Playing as John Carter on the lesser gravity of mars would have been a fun combination of Jedi like powers, amazing air battles like Avatar and arena fighting of monsters like Attack of the Clones or Gladiator.
|Screenshot from James Cameron's Avatar video game: affiliate ad|
N02-007422 Avatar - James Cameron's - PC (Google Affiliate Ad)
|Concept art from John Cater of Mars, flying ships|
|Face down an Army in the John Carter of Mars video game!|
|Mace Windu in Battlefront II, very popular game:|
|Woola off to the right|
DVD Sales strong in June
Strong DVD sales in June, putting John Carter at No. 1 even though it was labeled a flop. The fans were starting to send a message.
John Carter was not the only film that did similarly in 2012, Battleship had almost the same numbers at the box office but was not the victim of the press going to town to blacken its image. i09.com put it the best:
"We still like this movie a lot — Andrew Stanton and Michael Chabon took on the Herculean task of translating Edgar Rice Burroughs' epic to the big screen, and created something messy but beautiful. This film has some of my favorite moments of any 2012 movie, along with some clutter and some head-scratching decisions.
The Meme: This is Andrew Stanton's crazy ego trip and he needs to be punished. All of the discussion of this film prior to its release seemed to focus on how high-handed Stanton had gotten, as if his desire for creative control over his project was unforgivable hubris that needed to be punished with a box office flop of epic proportions. Nobody wanted to talk about the actual film, or the many things it was doing right."
Fall in Love, Read the Book, Join a Cause
Check out the Take me back to Barsoom facebook group and make sure to sign the change.org petition to Disney. Join the growing fan base that is saying, "Take me back to Barsoom! We want a John Carter Sequel!"
China Box office: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/john-carter-china-box-office_n_1387993.html
John Carter Hit in Russia: http://www.indiewire.com/article/76d52600-8ff7-11e1-bcc4-123138165f92
Strong DVD Sales: http://www.the-numbers.com/interactive/newsStory.php?newsID=7355
Gods of Mars movie poster: www.jeffdoten.com
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/backtobarsoom
Petition to disney: http://chn.ge/WbBurni09: http://io9.com/5976662/10-decent-movies-that-were-doomed-by-unfair-memes?utm_campaign=io9_Facebook_socialflow&utm_source=Socialflow&utm_medium=Facebook