Dennis Mansfield: “John Carter”: When PR firms should be sent to the ER. (The film was great and the public relations were terrible.)


From : There’s a quick and savage scene in Disney’s “John Carter” film where the main character from 19th Century Earth is in an arena surrounded by Martian beings.

The Earthling, Confederate Civil War Captain John Carter (think Cowboys and Aliens) challenges an evil Martian warlord. They fly through the air towards each other to engage in battle. But just as they meet, John Carter cuts off the head of the beast in an instant, for one of the most surprising (and certainly the quickest) film confrontations in recent memory.

Having spent $250 million on the film’s production and over $100 million additional on the PR for the film, I can’t help but think that a similar fate should happen to the firm that promoted this film.

To see the trailers, to see the online videos, to read (if you could find them) the previews of the film, a typical film goer would have no idea what the film is about… or the rich heritage of the story itself.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, of Tarzan fame, was the originator of the entire storyline. (There are many books.)

But the PR of the film would have you believe “John Carter” was an orphan, without a century+ of fans – for goodness sakes, it was a film project that was lusted over by George Lucas BEFORE Star Wars.

None of this was known… or even presented.

Here’s the kicker.

The film is really enjoyable. Really enjoyable. As I left the theater, I FB’d that I found the film more engaging than I did Star Wars. C’mon… and the PR “experts” could not do better than they did?

Willam Dafoe is the only higly visible major star in it (and he does a VO-only of a Martian leader). The rest of the cast members are strangley unknown… and yet, believable.

Michael Cavna of The Washington Post did an admirable review of the film, touching on many concerns I share about how terrible the PR was on this thing.

Someone needs to pay the price for this Hollywood PR disaster.

But the film’s director, producers, cast and crew should not be the ones to meet the fate of the evil Martian warlord.

The PR firm should be forced to go to the ER, knowing all too well that severed heads cannot be reattached.


Washington Post

THE RANT: ‘JOHN CARTER’s’ MASSIVE FALLOUT: Who’s to blame for Disney’s ‘$200-million’ bomb

SOMETIMES BAD FLOPS happen to good people. Even those hideous, avert-your-eyes flops that cause you to question how so much talent can go to so much disgraceful waste. Amid the commercial carnage that follows the CGI blood-splatter, even Hollywood’s best coroners are sometimes stumped by the precise cause of staggering box-office death. They walk away, shaking their heads, chalking it up to fickle audiences or muddled plots or who-knows-what-exactly? Commercial death comes, as it must, to all serial big-spenders backing gargantuan movies.

But in the case of “John Carter,” it didn’t have to be this way.

Read more here.


  • Dennis Mansfield is right. “John Carter” is a great swords-and-planet film, much much better than most of the special effects schlock ground out by Hollywood. Despite the catcalls from certain critics who found the story “confusing”, “John Carter” has a coherent story that takes place on a richly imagined planet. Apparently certain film critics have seen too many CGI films with lots of bang-bang that they have forgotten what a plot and story are like.

    Whereas “serious” films often inspire the critic to read the novel beforehand, apparently none of the pundits could be bothered to read “A Princess of Mars” and its immediate two sequels. Had they troubled themselves to do so they would have immediately understood what Edgar Rice Burroughs was doing and the non-existent “confusion” would have been dispelled. I’ll take “John Carter” any day over the Star Wars sequels and any of the Star Trek movies. And if you must be in the arena, better to be with John Carter than those teen twits in “Hunger Games”.

    The dirty little secret about “A Princess of Mars” is that it’s not just an adventure novel, it’s a romance novel with the classic plot: boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl (and Dejah Thoris is certainly more worth fighting for than Helen of Troy!). The women should have flocked to this movie!

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