A Fan Wonders – Was John Carter the biggest flop of 2012? – by Tim Bartholomew

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by Tim Bartholomew via Cinemapots

At the close of 2012 there was one question on my mind, did “John Carter” do well enough to warrant a sequel? The quick answer would be “no.” It was immediately labeled a $200 million loss for the studio. But was it really? Most people agree that the marketing was terrible, unclear if it was copying Star Wars and Avatar or if it was the other way around; even though Avatar’s director mentioned several times that A Princess of Mars was his inspiration for Avatar’s plot and overall feel, the book that it was adapted from.

But was it a half-hearted effort? Launching the film in March, which is one of the worst months to launch a tent-pole film, not taking advantage of the full rights for merchandising, toys, limited edition collectors items and plush toys including video games and action figures, etc. But I digress. The film actually did very well in other countries like Russia and China, where it’s record setting box office receipts should have someone talking about a sequel. But it was too late. Even a fan trailer that was well received on movie websites and even by the director couldn’t save the campaign.  Already labeled a failure by Disney’s CEO, and journalists far and wide labeling it as a bloated big budget project along the lines of Ishtar, Heavens Gate and other bad films. To be fair though, reviews were mixed. Most people when they see it say that it was better than they thought it would be.  Many of my friends said they liked it, and the film’s main interest group, baby boomers and ERB fans generally were satisfied with the results. 

The film has actually created the fan base it was looking for, that it could have had before a SUMMER release.

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  • In my opinion, Disney seemed suspiciously determined for “John Carter of Mars” to be a flop. I think they are trying to artificially create a “cult classic”. Disney practically invented the movie business, they are masters of marketing, their movies do not “flop” unless it is intentional.

  • Your article is right. Releasing this epic film in March was a *huge* mistake! If they fixed the marketing and released this film in either the summer, thanksgiving or christmas seasons, it would’ve attracted much of all of the people’s attention.

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