I want to thank everyone for all the inputs and especially Khanada Taylor who came up with the main title that I’ve tentatively settled on: John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood.
I’m sure this will go through some more review and thinking, but here is the thought process that leads me to this one. First of all, to an outsider, I think “Gods of Hollywood” resonates even if you know nothing about “God of Mars” and little about John Carter. My thought is — and this should be tested — is that anyone who knows that John Carter is a movie and a character would see this title and “get” that “Gods of Hollywood” refers in some fashion to the power players in Hollywood who had control over John Carter’s destiny. So …. while a little indirect, it should resonate okay with mainstream audiences and perhaps get them to read the subtitle.
As for the “core constituency” who have been following this blog and the overall John Carter saga and are fans of the ERB books, the Andrew Stanton movie, or both — this seems to me to a really good title for them. Almost all of them know that the “Gods of Mars” is the second book in the trilogy that Disney optioned, so it resonates that way. It also resonates as suggesting a kind of epic adventure/conflict between John Carter and those Thern-like dudes in Hollywood who controlled, or have tried to control, his fate.
I do wonder whether I should make it: “John Carter vs The Gods of Hollywood” but even though I liked the “vs” formulation, somehow “and” feels better. Welcome comments on that aspect (or any aspect).
As for the subtitle: “How Studio Politics and Super-sized Egos Wrecked a 100 Year Classic” , I have become convinced, on the advice of experts, that I need to state the thesis in the subtitle and this does that while leaving it a little (artfully I hope) indistinct as to precisely which politics and whose super-sized egos wrecked APOM. I also removed the “and lost millions at the box office” because of advice which I agree with that to on a casual reading this may seem like I’m taking a shot at the movie itself. Mind you — the movie itself does not get off scot free. The book mirrors my own view that the adaptation is good and the movie is good ….. but it’s an objective fact that it did not get the kind of 90++ critic and audience rating that Stanton got on his previous movies and it’s obvious that Stanton does have the ability to achieve those kind of numbers — and had he achieved those kind of numbers, we would have sequels in progress now in spite of Disney’s marketing misfires.
So there you have it.
By the way, in my experience with movies, titles often end up being an ongoing source of exasperation until you finally reach the point where you have to pull the trigger and just go with one. The only exception I’ve experienced was my film “Goodbye America” which was one where the whole idea for the film sprang into my head with the title attached. That one was easy. Everything else has been tough, and this one is no exception.