Blogger: John Carter and the Politics of Yesterday’s News

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From Signify

Yeah. It’s April. March is long gone.

Something I noticed: One of the big stories in the month of March was how the John Carter movie was somehow predetermined to be the biggest box office flop in history. Even Disney, the company that released it, made a prediction that it was going to dig a financial hole of about 200 million dollars. Why did they say that during the first week of release? Why predict your own disaster? What can be gained from that? It’s like they were trying to wreck their own film!

Of course, that was all in March. Which might as well be a thousand years ago. You will notice that no one is really talking about John Carter anymore. It’s yesterday’s news. But here’s what they aren’t saying in April: John Carter is nowhere near the biggest box office flop of all time. In fact, it did amazingly well overseas and has more than earned back it’s production budget. And by the time the DVD and Blu-ray releases are rolled out, it will probably not be a loss at all. It won’t make piles of money for the company, but it’s not going to sink the company either. And yet, people were saying, way back in March, as if it were a done deal, that this movie was absolutely sure to be the biggest flop in history.

There was clearly something malicious going on in the media. I don’t know why. I don’t know what encouraged the behavior, but it was weird. Was it an anti Disney thing? It was almost like what happens during elections, where people are told what to think, and then they simply submit to it. No one likes negative advertising, right? So why is there so much negative advertising during elections? Because it works. And, strangely, it worked to crush John Carter in a very similar way. Some media whoevers seem to have purposefully misled people about the film with what amounts to a lie. And no one is talking about it. Like no one talks about all the lies the politicians say during a campaign. They can say anything, but once the campaign is over, no one goes back to assess what they said and hold them accountable. Nobody cares.

Read the rest at Signify


  • JC was undermined by the global cabal to stop the masses seeing mars as it was eons ago. There are so many hidden messages in the film that they started a damage limitation exercise.

    Stay asleep and pay your taxes…there’s a good sheeple.

  • I think the nail in the coffin was the Super Bowl ad. That was when Disney could have really turned things around and gotten people excited with something that promised a movie that wasn’t just “like that part in Attack of the Clones and oh, right, we all hate the Star Wars prequels and that’s why we don’t care about this movie….” Instead Disney gave us the name John Carter in really big letters that moved really slowly. As the kids say, EPIC FAIL.

  • Thanks for sharing my post! I am honored. It’s nice to see that others enjoyed this film as much as me. I think one of the most troubling things about all of this is how it could hurt Andrew Stanton in the film industry. He is an amazing film maker, and what was done to John Carter could hurt his opportunities, which would be a great loss to those of us who want to see what he could do in the future.

  • It is a nice review. Mr. Stanton gave us a cinematic treasure. Let the masses have their Hunger Games and Marvel movies. I’ll take John Carter any day.

  • Good blog. This topic is interesting to me.

    Numerous blogs and articles written in the months prior to John Carter complained about generally silly things (in my opinion) like Stanton removing “Mars” from the title, Kitsch being the lead actor, and worried speculation that, in Disney’s hands, John Carter wouldn’t be as edgy, adult and smart as Burroughs’ books. But the most pecualiar thing to me, was the seemingly thousands of articles and blogs that seemed seriously upset, bothered and near-angry that Disney was spending $250 million. Some writers acted as if Disney was spending their own personal retirement account money. Personally, I’m a selfish movie-goer….I could give a hoot how much money a studio wants to spend on a movie. I just want it to be good and entertaining. In fact, I think it’d be cool if more movies cost $250 million, ’cause it’d increase the chances that I’d see more cool movies with awesome visuals, smart writing, and great acting talent.

    To me, there was a similar vibe and response critially to Cars 2. The build up to Cars 2 was very negative. Many critics didn’t like Cars 1 and seemed irritated that the almighty Pixar would waste their time with a seqeul to a dumb kids film (Cars is Disney’s 2nd most profitable property worldwide. Like it or not, Pixar absolutely HAD to make a sequel eventually).

    Once there was even an inkling that Cars wasn’t the artistic gem of Toy Story or Up or Wall-E, critics wanted to shout to the world how horrible the film was and that, yes, even Pixar can make duds. It became almost fact in the media that Cars 2 was utter garbage. I personally think Cars 2 was an entertaining, albeit not great, film. It had lots of creativity, fun, heart and guts (I thought Lasseter was very bold in removing his loveable characters from their laid-back environment, and throwing them into an international action/spy film). Cars 2 ended up making almost $600 million at worldwide boxoffice.

    Cars 2 seemed very much an anti-Pixar backlash. John Carter is harder to put a finger on. I think your comment that negativity sells might be the most logical reason. Yet a movie like Hunger Games has had one positive article after another. Hunger Games was a surefire hit because of the universal love of the book, so maybe critics knew that positive articles would garner more attention. I don’t know….I’m rambling now.

  • I could not have said it better! This is one of the best blogs about this circumstances, outside of Michael’s here on JCF, that I’ve read to date! I left a comment there, awaiting approval. You know one thing I REALLY hope is that maybe Disney will decide to switch out some of these people who were in charge of promoting JC (and even messed up on War Horse) and new blood might come in and save the day! Yea, that’s a HUGE long shot, but a girl can dream. 🙂

  • “It’s like they were trying to wreck their own film!”

    That tells it all. It’s not like they actively tried to wreck it, they did nothing to prevent the crash. Disney never supported Andrew Stanton when the bad press started to appear (I guess a simple “contrary to some opinions, John Carter’s budget was approved from the beginning”), and they didn’t lift the review embargo that would have helped tremendously the word-of-mouth.

    Case in point, in the rest of the world, most of it impervious to the budgetary concerns, John Carter performed very well.

    Fine review.

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