by Mike Ryan — AOL Moviefone
Disney’s John Carter gets released in 16 days. If tracking numbers are to believed, John Carter may be in some serious trouble at the box office. Much of that trouble can be blamed on the bad marketing campaign. As you’ve probably heard before, hindsight does not require corrective lenses or Lasik surgery, or whatever, but, while sixteen days isn’t a ton of time, it just may be enough to salvage opening weekend.
Two points that I should make: (A) Yes, I’ve seen John Carter, but this piece is not a breakdown of the merits of the film itself (we’ll save that for another day) and (B) I do not possess a marketing degree. So, if your response is going to be, “Well, what do you know about marketing?” my answer will be, “Other than getting a B- in Marketing 101 at a Big 12 state school, not a lot.” But I do have a general sense of the vibe of what a potential moviegoer is looking for. Based on that, if I were put in charge, here’s what I would do. Immediately.
(I’m prefacing all of this with, “If humanly possible with the short amount of time remaining.”)
1.) It’s too late to change the title back to John Carter of Mars, but in the television spots from here on out, just call it that anyway. Honestly, if I went outside the office and polled 100 people walking down Broadway here in New York City — well, at least the people who didn’t spit on me — I’d bet good money that a greater number of people are still slightly more familiar with Noah Wyle’s John Carter (which he played for 11 seasons on one of the most popular television shows in the country at that time, ER) than they are Taylor Kitsch’s John Carter. Most of the movie takes place on Mars — let people know that.
2.) But, not all of the movie takes place on Mars. The film starts with a pretty interesting sequence about John Carter’s military service in the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Yes, John Carter fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. I guess Disney doesn’t want to promote that its hero fought for the army that was trying to defend, ahem, “states’ rights,” but, it is interesting, it is gritty, and it brings a deeper level to the background of the character than what most people would expect from the CGI heavy scenes they’ve seen in the trailers. Plus, these scenes involve the always-great Bryan Cranston as a Union officer. Plaster clips from these scenes during the commercial breaks of Survivor.
3.) That fan made trailer: pay the guy who made this a few thousand dollars for editing Disney’s footage together better than Disney did and get it out there. Everywhere.
[JCF COMMENT: Well, we obviously like #3 but aren’t holding our breath.]