As John Carter Sequel fans continue their efforts to get consideration for a sequel, I just noticed that our John Carter Files’ original John Carter Fan Trailer is about to hit 200,000 views on YouTube. (It’s at 199,275 views as I write this.) This is the one that Mark Linthicum and I cut on Super Bowl Sunday after we were perplexed and disheartened by the Disney Super Bowl ad that played during the game. For those who don’t know the story, there’s an explanation afterwards about what happened.
When we posed it initially, not that much happened — it got a few thousand views and some nice comments but that was it. Then Director Andrew Stanton tweeted: “Great fan trailer! They get it!” and linked to the trailer, and began talking about it as having the “DNA of the film we made”. The next day, Ain’t It Cool News posted an article and embed of the trailer with headline: A Fan-Made Trailer Sells JOHN CARTER better than any other trailer so far. A few hours later similar stories and embeds appeared on Collider, Slashfilm, Badass Digest, Film School Rejects and others. It then spread to more blogs — a total of more than 300 — as well as mainstream media publications including Wired (Fan Trailer for John Carter Tops Studios Best Efforts) , Entertainment Weekly (John Carter Fan Trailer: Okay, this has to get you excited!) , The Hollywood Reporter, (Fan Made Trailer for John Carter could be better than studio original) nd the Los Angeles Times (Fans Create unofficial new trailer for John Carter). CNN also ran a story (Fans Create their own John Carter Trailer). In the first five days after Stanton’s tweet, the trailer received 100,000 views on YouTube and became a significant part of the conversation about the movie. At the time — it felt like maybe our effort was having an effect as there were a number of observers who mentioned that there was a favorable “counterbuzz” developing for John Carter in the final weeks and days before release — but ultimately this was swamped by the overwhelmingly negative narrative that had been established and simply would not be derailed — certainly not by anything as plucky but ultimately insubstantial as a fan trailer.
One stat that is a little bit interesting which I had to dig up as part of the story being written in John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood is that the fan trailer has a Like/Dislike total of 1267 likes to 14 dislikes, or a ratio of 90.5 /1, as opposed to the official trailer which has 3,757/282, or a ratio of 13.3/1 — a stat that does seem to support the contention that our trailer would have been a more effective approach for Disney to follow, keeping in mind also that it was not a radical departure from their trailer but rather was just a re-organizing of it so that more of the story became understandable, without giving away spoilers.
We also did a second fan trailer, which we called “Heritage”, which started much more slowly, but is now up to 130,000 views, and is our favorite because — unlike the first one which is basically a reorganized mashup of the official trailers, this one we basically made from scratch.