I had absolutely no interest in watching John Carter - to me, it looked like a CGI orgy that would make one of the gawdawful Transformers movies seem subtle by comparison. Now I think I will give it a viewing sometime in the future, just out of sheer sick curiosity to see what $250 million worth of apparent Hollywood hubris and delusion looks like.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Vulture.com had a fascinating read here about the new John Carter film and how it was doomed to be a financial failure. The Disney epic opened to $30 million in North America this past weekend, which isn't nothing, just not nearly enough when its costs were in the $250 million range (the film performed better overseas). The piece looks specifically at the film's badly handled marketing campaign and the apparently unchecked latitude that director Andrew Stanton was granted, based on his previous massive success as the director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E for Disney subsidiary Pixar. The latter topic ties into one of the biggest questions I had regarding John Carter, which is why was such a substantial investment made in a film featuring a character from a series of books published in the early 1900s that is virtually unknown today? Oddly, writer Claude Brodesser-Akner failed to mention the most glaring question I had: they're hanging a quarter of a billion dollar film on a C-list TV actor (Taylor Kitsch) with similarly low-wattage supporting help (Bryan Cranston, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church)? I'm a fan of those supporting players, but that's just bloody crazy. I remember Arnold Schwarzennegger and James Cameron being attached to this project back in the 90s - that pairing I could rationalize taking a financial gamble on. The piece also takes a brilliant viewpoint that the science fiction greatly inspired by the John Carter book series, including the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, has ironically worked against this film, due to our jaded sense of wonder when it comes to watching adventure movies.