Open Letter to Disney Explaining Why a John Carter Sequel Makes Good Business Sense

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Dunno how I missed this. Makes some good points. It comes from The Patron Saint of Super Heroes

Dear Disney,

Yes, I know you said you wanted to gross $700 million before you’d agree to either of the two sequels Andrew Stanton had planned for JOHN CARTER. And I know you’re still miffed about everyone making fun of you when the opening weekend flopped. But who was laughing when foreign sales pushed it over the $250 million budget in its fourth week? Yeah, I know, there’s still the $100 million in advertising. But those oversea millions are still flowing, and add in the DVD sales lined up for June, and we all know the red planet will soon be in the black.

Sure, the $350 million profit you were dreaming of back in February would have been nice, but you’re probably just happy to have dodged that “biggest flop in movie history” bullet. Congratulations. Now all you want to do is pack up those noisy Tharks and Calots and put John Carter behind you.

But is that how you capitalize on an investment?

I’m sorry Mr. Stanton convinced you that Carter was just like Tarzan, a beloved Burroughs classic with a massive fanbase begging to be exploited. Which explains why your marketing plan went so wrong. You should have been recruiting, not supplying Superbowl ammo for an army that didn’t exist yet. There was only one species of John Carter fan: readers. There had never been a movie, a TV show, a cartoon, a 40’s film serial, nothing. When I asked my 14-year-old daughter about the character, she said “Who?”

You now know that you should have been building infrastructure. Why, for instance, was the new edition of A PRINCESS OF MARS (with that eye-catching intro by Junot Diaz, the second Pulitzer winning novelist attached to the project) released AFTER the film? You should have pushed that through the presses as soon as you green lighted the movie. Ditto on a new comic book adaptation (from a market-dominating publisher like Marvel, not the very respectable but very tiny Dynamite or Dark Horse who both have miniscule Mars niches). Or what about an animated TV series on Cartoon Network? Or a series of animated films the way DC keeps its roster of superheroes alive and literally kicking while hatching long-term blockbusters?

Read the rest at the Patron Saint of Superheroes


  • I absolutely loved the move John Carter. I’ve read the books over and over for years. Disney did a great job capturing the essence of the original stories. Now I watch the movie over and over. It would be a shame not to continue the series as movies. If Disney doesn’t want to make more, I hope some other company will take it on. Please!

  • John Carter was an excellent film! Disney did a horrible job promoting it!!!
    If they do not want to make a sequel let another company do it!

  • Please do the motion picture sequals. PLEASE! With the same characters and cast members. Absolutely loved this movie. The sequals must happen. The continued story needs to be told. Can’t just leave us hanging the way the first movie ended. It’s killing me not knowing what happened next. Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Colllins, Mark Strong among others were excellent in their roles and would love to see them continue to play their characters. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make the sequals!

  • This was a great an entertaining movie. Just like Star Wars, Indian Jones movies. Don’t understand why it did bad at the box office. I bought the blue ray dvd. I Hope Disney Makes the sequel. I plan on buying the books on the series.

  • There will be no sequel to JOHN CARTER, certainly not in the form of a theatrical motion picture. It’s obvious that Disney wants to disassociate itself from what they consider to be a fiasco. It’s equally obvious that the picture’s chance just to break even was seriously damaged by a terrible marketing campaign. That is not to say that Stanton’s film did not have problems. However, they were not insurmountable commercially. Frankly, having grown up reading ERB, I’m a disappointed as anyone on this blog. This was almost certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity, one that is unlikely to come again.

  • The author of this article is advocating for a feature-length film sequel with Taylor and Lynn as John and Dejah. This is what I want, too. This fight for a sequel just started. We shouldnt have to ‘settle.’

  • This is an interesting article. But… The only way I would be happy with an animated series would be if was done old-style. I am not impressed with what passes for animation these days.

    Yesterday was the thirtyfifth anniversary of the original Star Wars. I watched it, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

    It ocurred to me, that George Lucas had taken relative unknowns and gave them iconic characters to breathe life into. Only a few would want to cast anyone else in the roles.

    I also thought of John Carter while I was watching. I am even more convinced that Taylor, Lynn and the others were well-cast.

    That’s just my opinion.

  • they did make new comics . . . in fact they had two series released by marvel, appearently profitable because marvel is halfway through the gods of mars and they arent stopping!

    personally, I would be content with an animated series based on Llana of Gathol (and John Carter of Mars’ Skeleton men of Jupiter!!!)

    It would be a good series for disney to make, plus the way that the series flows people coming from the film wouldnt be too confused!

    we should make a pitch to Andrew Stanton, he responded when I suggested it too him on twitter!

  • The writer was referring to animated series that could have led up to the release of John Carter, but why couldn’t they take that approach to continuing Stanton’s stories for the equivalent of John Carter 2&3?

  • You’d think they could do sequels in some other form, if not a feature film. As the writer mentions , there are animated and TV show opportunities that could be made on a much lower budget.

    Whether or not we get a sequel, it’s gratifying to me as a 20-year ERB fan to see an increasing number of people calling out for “more Barsoom!”

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