Taylor Lampela: Disney Marketing Campaign Sank John Carter

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There are plenty of writers who, back near the time of the release of John Carter, wrote articles in a similar vein to this one.  What makes this one al title different is that it comes now, at the end of the theatrical run, and offers some compelling thoughts about what might have been — and how we actually go about our decision-making to see, or not see, a movie.   There’s a little surprise at the end that might motivate some of you to leave a comment with Taylor. I’m just sayin’………

From The Echo of California Lutheran University by Taylor Lampela

Have you seen “John Carter”?

Or how about a better question, did you even want to see “John Carter”? According to the box office tally, not many people did and it’s poised to lose upwards of $200 million, according to a recent article on Gawker.com. How could such a big budget action fantasy adventure made by Disney flop so badly?

What most critics think, myself included, is the marketing campaign shot the movie in the foot before it could even get off and running. As a communication major, I might have a unique perspective on this, but let’s look at it in layman’s terms.

What makes you want to go see a movie?

It could be the cast, or the director, or the source material. But in order to know any of those things, they need to be served up to you, and that is where movie trailers and posters come in. I saw a trailer for “John Carter” for the first time last fall and honestly, it left me more confused than interested. Using an awful cover of an Arcade Fire song to be the background to random images of half clothed people running from aliens and providing no plot details isn’t helpful.

But that was the teaser trailer, it’s supposed to be vague. Except one problem, the full-length trailer was just as vague, and so were the posters. Who is John Carter and why should I care? I didn’t get either of those answers.

Since Disney’s marketing team decided not to tell you, I will. “John Carter” is based off of a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs entitled “A Princess from Mars.” Burroughs is the author of other famous works such as “Tarzan.”  “A Princess from Mars” was known for being one of the very first science fiction novels ever written. John Carter, the protagonist,  is a Confederate veteran who ends up on Mars and adventure ensues. It was directed by Andrew Stanton, who directed my personal favorite Pixar film, “Wall-E.” I would’ve wanted to see it if I knew that. It stars Taylor Kitsch from the popular series, “Friday Night Lights” as John Carter.

In that paragraph alone, I’ve told you more about the movie than any of the trailers did. So why on Earth (or Mars) did Disney not promote the movie based on these merits?

Read the rest at The Echo


  • About twenty comments from John Carter fans at the end of her post at http://www.cluecho.com/features/disney-s-poor-marketing-campaign-sinks-movie-1.2851715#.T5SHslHXHap would be a good idea, donchathink?

  • I swear, what is it with people today, being “confused” all the damn time when it comes to “John Carter”? I guess it is true that audiences really do want the whole freakin’ story given to them in trailers. So he takes the time to find out what “John Carter” is about, justifiably is critical of how it is was marketed and then just ends on a “meh” note. Huh. I’m not sure what his ultimate point is. Maybe I shouldn’t care, then?
    And Peter Gabriel’s version of the Arcade Fire song isn’t “awful.” That was the only “official” trailer I actually liked.

  • Very UNcool that this writer won’t even see the film on DVD! What is the deal with that? Yea they’re making a statement about Disney’s poor marketing not making them want to see it. But I mean is there not even one tiny curiosity bone in their body after all that’s happened? I just don’t get people!

  • WOW, there’s some breaking news. About a month and half late! I don’t know why Dotar even posted that, the writer is an asshole.

  • He makes a lot of good points. It does seem strange that he would go to all that trouble to explain about the movie and the poor marketing, and then end with a somewhat dismissive comment.

  • The thing I doesn’t understand is the last sentence:

    “Maybe I’ll catch it on DVD, but probably not.”

    Why not??

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