Dennis Mansfield: Open Letter to Robert Eiger, Disney CEO, re John Carter

John Carter News

Dennis Mansfield of has written a well-thought-out and well-expressed letter to Robert Iger, Disney CEO, regarding John Carter.  We encourage our readers to visit Dennis Mansfield’s blog and leave comments, as well as share to Facebook and tweet.

Link to the letter

First portion of the letter:

Dear Mr. Iger,

In politics, as in many other disciplines, success has a thousand fathers and failure is often an orphan, even to the candidate who ran. My field has been politcs with a little dabbling in entertainment.

In the entertainment business, failure has not only an evaporated parental line, but the critics of Hollywood add insult to progeny, especially as the box-office returns look worse and worse.

With John Carter, this did not have to be.

Recently I blogged that the PR firm/division that Disney employed to advance this film erred on so many levels that I am certain your in-house evaluations have already concluded this fact. Many people across the internet, through social media, felt the same way.

And the film, “John Carter” was truly a good film, certainly worthy of the investment that Disney poured into it. The worldwide receipts of $263 million (especially in Russia) are proving out the value of the storyline among those who connected the dots on the 19th century Confederate calvary officer and his travel to Mars. The opening of the film in Japan this week will further prove out the high level of interest in this storyline.

Read the full letter at


  • The original release of Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE failed commercially because it was marketed as a comedy. That’s right, it failed because of marketing. Samuel Goldwyn’s production of THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES earned 10 million dollars in the release year in an era when that was an astounding gross. Part of the reason was the marketing. The public was properly informed of what TBYOL was about and they responded.

    In the case of JOHN CARTER, the fault is not so much with the film that Andrew Stanton made, but with the fact that Disney uttering failed to understand it or present it a sympathetic manner. If they had properly informed the public of the true nature of the material, then it was possible that the public might have responded. Disney didn’t just lose money, they practically threw it away. What a wasted opportunity!

  • If you are going to do a re-release, then that would be an opportunity to address some of the film’s problems. I would suggest:

    1. Removing the opening voiceover narration. This kind of opening rarely, if ever, works. Remember “Dune”?

    2. Removing all of the Woola scenes. These were a sop to the kiddy audience and an attempt to inject a level of cuteness into the film that it does not need.

    3. Increase the romantic focus on John and Dejah;

    4. Place greater emphasis on John Carter’s finding redemption and something to believe in by saving a people that are not his own;

    5. Clarify the role and purpose of the Therns;

    6. Iron out some of the uneven pacing, particularly in the opening and closing sequences;

    Or how about a true “Directors Cut” blu-ray and DVD? Look how many chances Warners gave to Oliver Stone on “Alxander”.

  • A late summer re-release, after all the other big films have done their thing, would be nice. But it would need the type of marketing that has been created here by the fans to properly sell this picture to modern audiences.

    BUT, Disney still does not “get” what this movie is, witness the cover art for the blu-ray and DVDs. The next real front in the battle to get JC the recognition it deserves is the home video releases coming later this year. If you want to petition Mr. Iger for anything, get him to change the cover art for these upcoming releases and orient their promotional campaign to emphasis this tales heritage and place in history as the grandfather of all modern space adventures. Show the love story between Dejah and John. Against all conventional wisdom this movie actually plays well to woman, they can see the intergalactic love story that is being told and respond positively to it. And for God’s sake put Dejah on the cover. Even a cursory look at all the art for the last 50 years that has been created to sell these stories has featured a beautiful Dejah being protected by John Carter from some fantastical enemy. Taylor was serviceable as JC, but Ms. Collins was the beating heart of his movie and should be featured more prominently in any further marketing of a re-release or the home video releases.

Leave a Reply