The furor over the perceived clumsiness of the Disney promotional campaign for John Carter may have a silver lining in that it has to have lowered the threshold of global box office needed to generate a sequel. Think I’m crazy? Hear me out.
First, there can be no doubt by now that Disney knows that millions of dollars are being left un-captured due to the miss-steps of the promotion thus far. And since there has been a shake-up at Disney with the departure of MT Carney, anyone who would argue that this is the case is probably gone. Disney now can be assumed to be in damage control mode, trying to do the best they can in the remaining weeks while privately acknowledging that the promotion has fallen short in various measurable ways.
So what does this have to do with generating a sequel?
Let’s say that, assuming the whole promotion ran smoothly, the “Sequel Generation Point” was $500m worldwide box office gross. (I know some have said it’s as high as $700m but I never bought that because it fails to recognize that there are a lot of 1990’s development costs, financing charges, and other one-time costs associated with the cost of the first film that would get amortized over a series if a series happens.)
So … if the “we get a sequel” figure was $500m before the promotion hit an iceberg, what is it now? I would argue that Disney would have to be recognizing that for any sequel, they could get the promotion in alignment with the film and the fans a lot better than they did this time. And if the miss-steps this time cost, say, $50m in global gross (an understatement), then the sequel generation point could arguably come down by that much. In other words, the green eyeshade guys would say: “Well, we did $450 but the promotional miss-steps cost us at least $50m, so for analysis, we’re at $500m.”
Now, this only really works if the $450m is also accompanied by strong reviews and a a passionate and organized fan base. Well, Andrew Stanton has delivered a film that will get fans excited, we’re sure of that. And we are here to help get fans organized and motivated to use their voices and make them be heard.
Stay tuned. There WILL be a sequel. We just have to work our butts off to make it happen. And we will.