How did Disney’s film become a calamity of historic proportions? Michael Sellers, a Hollywood filmmaker himself, saw the disaster approaching and fought to save the project – but without success. In John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, Sellers details every blunder and betrayal that led to the doom of the motion picture – and that left countless Hollywood careers in the wreckage.
JOHN CARTER AND THE GODS OF HOLLYWOOD examines every aspect of Andrew Stanton’s adaptation and Disney’s marketing campaign and seeks to answer the question: What went wrong? it includes a history of Hollywood’s 100 year effort to bring the film to the screen, and examines the global fan movement spawned by the film.
Poor old John Carter. The guy never had a chance to become a box office star because “John Carter” was considered a flop months before it hit theatres. Released in March 2012, director Andrew Stanton’s highly anticipated adaptation of the classic 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars had the potential to kick start a blockbuster sci-fi adventure franchise.
Unfortunately what unfolded was a series of massive idiotic marketing decisions by Disney leading up to the film’s debut. Also, the movie had to deal with mountains of negative press surrounding the production and its massive $250 million budget. Along with Disney’s blunders and lack of support, the House of Mouse was effectively sabotaging any chance John Carter had of connecting with audiences.
In John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood author Michael D. Sellers, a devoted fan of Burroughs’ novels whose fan website The John Carter Files became a useful tool for Disney and Andrew Stanton during the worst of the John Carter marketing campaign, discusses in great detail the movie’s long and troubled production and its reception by critics and audiences.
“John Carter” was doomed from the start: This was a movie given the green light by a head of production who was soon fired, overseen by guy who ran the Disney Channel, then was unintentionally sabotaged by a marketing executive with no track record in films,.
The film was nurtured into existence by a Pixar legend who the higher-ups at Disney thought was the right man to help this epic, despite his inexperience with live-action filmmaking, but who ended up taking most of the blame when the film landed with a thud on opening weekend.
I must admit, I never saw “John Carter” in theatres or dvd because the trailers did nothing for me. My only knowledge of the John Carter characters come from the 1970’s Marvel Comics series. However, as limited as my knowledge was, even I knew dropping “Warlord from Mars” was a huge mistake by Disney. But after reading God of Hollywood I was shocked by Disney’s reasoning.
See kids, back in 2011 Disney released a motion capture animated movie called “Mars Needs Moms.” The movie cost around $150 million to produce but earned under $39 worldwide. Me, I think it bombed because of the scary animation and kids being terrified that their mom would be kidnapped by Martians.
But the high and mighty Disney thought one of the reasons “Mars Needs Moms” bombed was because it had the word “Mars” in the title. And so, the studio decided calling their upcoming big budget sci-fi adventure “John Carter: Warlord of Mars” would bring back memories of “Mars Needs Mom.” Seriously.
John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood has plenty of other insane decisions Disney made or failed to make with “John Carter.” Each time I read something, I just couldn’t believe how Disney torpedoed this film. I firmly believe Disney CEO Bob Iger was so preoccupied buying Marvel and Lucasfilm that he neglected many Disney projects, including “John Carter.”
Michael D. Sellers chronicles John Carter’s many attempts to reach the silver screen. From failed serials in the 1940’s, to an early 90’s production that was set to star Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts. And did you know at various points John McTiernan, Robert Rodriguez , and Jon Favreau were attached to direct a John Carter movie?
While John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood focuses on the film production and reception, the book also taught me a lot about the John Carter universe and its creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. Gods of Hollywood peaked my interest so much that I’m now about halfway thru the first John Carter novel and I purchased an Edgar Rice Burroughs biography. And more importantly, I bought “John Carter” on Blu Ray.
If you were like me and scoffed at “John Carter” in 2012, i highly recommend giving John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood a look. It certainly opened my eyes, and made me look at the film and the books in an entirely new way.
Although I”m not sure I’ll be seeing 2009’s “Princess of Mars” starring Antonio Sabàto, Jr and Traci Lords. eeek!