So, in its opening weekend John Carter raked in approximately 30-million in North America and 70-million overseas. 100-million bucks in a single weekend! Not bad huh? Well, actually it is pretty bad if you’ve spent over 350-million on the production and marketing of a movie that’s not getting great word-of-mouth.
Taking into account the fact studios have to split ticket sales with theatres, John Carter will need to take in 600 to 700-million to turn a profit, and it looks like it’s not going to get anywhere close. Financial analysts are saying the movie could lose up to 165-million bucks. That would make John Carter the biggest money-flush in movie history — by kind of a wide margin.
What went wrong? A lot of the blame goes to director Andrew Stanton. Stanton, the writer of the Toy Story series and director of Finding Nemo and Wall-E, has made Disney obscene amounts of money in the past, but unfortunately he didn’t really adapt well to live action. Stanton insisted on an endless array of costly reshoots and tweaks, which you can do that when you’re just playing with CG models in a computer — not so much when you’re using real people. It wasn’t all Stanton’s fault though — blame must be shared by John Carter’s producers, who apparently didn’t have the balls to tell Stanton “Uh, that’s not really how we do things in live action” or “Stop spending so much money! For the love of God, stop spending all our money.“
Personally I’ve found the whole John Carter debacle somewhat baffling. I actually thought the movie looked pretty promising — that first Led Zeppelin accompanied trailer got me downright pumped. I was excited to see Disney drawing on classic Edgar Rice Burrows adventure stories for inspiration as opposed to video games or outdated Disneyland rides. Sure, Taylor Kitsch is a bit douchey, but otherwise I was on board. Somehow though, the movie became an online punching bag and laughing stock and I’m not really sure why. The stuff folks were making fun of was the exact same stuff they usually flock to see. Since when did Internet nerds start hating computer generated aliens and dudes with superpowers? Why is the cheesy-looking Avengers hotly anticipated while John Carter has been reduced to a meme?
Yesterday Dan did a post asking those who saw John Carter what they thought. I’m going to pose another question — for those who didn’t see the movie, why’d you stay home?