Brad Bird says the media is being unfair to John Carter

Senior Editor
03.01.12 17 Comments

"Come at me, bro."

A lot of people talk about media coverage of movies, but few of them understand it first-hand as well as Brad Bird. Bird got his start directing Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles for Pixar, then moved onto 3D animation, CGI-ing “Tom Cruise” in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Plus, he’s Larry Bird’s brother. Now, Bird has taken to Twitter to defend John Carter, from fellow Pixartisan Andrew Stanton, which Bird says is being treated unfairly by the media.

“The showbiz press complains about big-budget sequels & remakes, but when a big NEW film like JOHN CARTER arrives, support is nonexistent,” he tweeted. Clarifying, he added, “I dont mean the ‘press’ press…I mean the industry prognosticators who bagged on ‘Ratatouille,’ ‘Wall-E‘ & ‘Up‘ before they came out.” He also said, “The loudest complainers about JC haven’t seen it!” [Twitter via ThePlaylist]

Woof, don’t call it ‘JC’, please, it gives me bad Matrix sequel flashbacks. You have to tell me if this is another Christ metaphor so I can avoid it, it’s the law. Anyway, what Bird is probably talking about is an article in The Daily Beast recently that claimed John Carter would have to make $400 million to break even, which Disney of course denies.

I’m not going to argue financial figures, because I don’t have access to Disney’s records, and I’m not an expert on economics. As a blogger, I go into town once a month and get confused when vendors refuse to barter for  sweatpants. But I will say that Disney have only themselves to blame for their awful marketing campaign. It’s like they’ve spent the last three months between November (when the first trailer was released) and now trying their best to convince us that the lead character’s name was indeed John Carter. As if they assumed they’d be like, “Here’s our movie, it’s called John Carter!” And people would be like, “John Carter? No way, dude, I call bullshit.”

The exchange: “You… are… John Carter of Earth?” “…Yes, ma’am” is one of the most useless exchanges of all time, and they’ve used it in every goddamned spot so far, even ones where they only have 30 seconds or a minute to sell people on the film. It wasn’t until this week that they released one that actually gave us some idea of the plot. Also, dub-step.

For the record, I’ve heard good things so far, and the screenplay was co-written by an Oscar winner and a Pulitzer Prize winning-novelist. And yet to sell this, they went with “You are John Carter?” “Yes, I am John Carter!” “Help us, John Carter!” “I will, for I am John Carter!” “All hail John Carter!”

Oh, marketing.

pic via Entertainment Press /

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