This is from Daniel Bergamini at The Deleted Scene. It cites a video released by an animator on the film who says all creative direction came from Pixar — and indirectly raises an interesting question — what would have happened if, instead of branding John Carter as Disney, the powers that be had let the actual true branding (Pixar) be used? There was no actual creative control exerted by anyone at Disney; the director, two producers, and two writers all hailed from Pixar as did a bunch of the crew, and as Stanton said, the “Pixar process” was much in mind throughout. I just wonder if the tsunami of negativity in advance would have been the same if this had been branded firmly as “Pixar’s First Live Action/Animation combo film”? We’ll never know.
A Film Without a Home: Who Really Made John Carter?
by Daniel Bergamini
Six months after the disastrous release of Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, it is somewhat easier now to look back and explore some of the more interesting questions left unanswered. The primary of which, largely ignored in the midst of the schadenfreude, is who really made John Carter?
It is not a question of blame, as I firmly believe John Carter is a great film. Rather, while most parties claimed it was entirely a Disney film, Pixar’s fingers prints are all over it.
After the rights of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic series were purchased by Disney executive Dick Cook, for Stanton to direct, no one involved knew if it would be animated or live-action. From the very beginning, the question of whether it would be a Pixar or Disney film was seemingly up in the air. Stanton told /Film in 2008, “There’s been no discussion about exactly how it will be distributed or what moniker it will be under.” Once it became clear that the film would be live-action, most news sources claimed it would be Pixar’s first live-action effort.
This turned out to be false, at least on the surface. Stanton soon cleared things up, stating that, “It’s being done by Disney, and I’m sort of being loaned out”. Even with Stanton directing, Mark Andrews co-writing and Pixar GM Jim Morris and longtime Pixar producer Lindsey Collins producing, it was still said to be a Disney film. And when those involved in the film say this, why would we doubt them?
Throughout post-production, many clues were dropped that would lead to the assumption that Pixar’s involvement may be deeper than simply loaning out talent. For example, when press were invited to a preview event, it was at Pixar’s headquarters. However, they were told this was simply out of convenience rather than Pixar having any involvement.
In July 2012, Patrick Giusiano, an animator who worked on the film, released a video showcasing his work on John Carter. The video features the original storyboards sent to him by Pixar for him to follow in his animation. I reached out to him, asking whether he received creative direction from Pixar or Disney, and he told me that in fact “dailies [were] video-conferenced from Pixar”. Even if Pixar was simply directing the animation for the film–that is still a larger connection than they previously had admitted to.