John Carter tops the iO9 List of “Most Baffling Pop Culture Moments” of 2012

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Finally, John Carter tops a yearend list!  Have to say, this is a well-deserved one:

The Most Baffling Pop Culture Moments of 2012

 Rob Bricken

 Whether you feel 2012 has been a good year or a bad year, we can all probably agree that it’s been a confusing year. A lot of weird things happened over the last 12 months — things we still can’t quite believe occurred (and/or got approved by actual human beings). Here’s eight things that happened in 2012 that we’re still a bit boggled by.

John Carter’s Marketing Campaign

Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter books are the granddaddy of all sci-fi fantasy, inspiringStar Wars, Flash Gordon, Avatar, and pretty much every single sci-fi writer of the 20th century. So how did Disney market its John Carter movie? By saying none of that, and letting the public believe John Carter was some kind of cheap Attack of the Clones rip-off. Worse, Disney shortened the original title John Carter of Mars to the infinitely less descriptive John Carter, as if 1) the public had any idea who the early 20th century character was and/or 2) the name “John Carter” was somehow appealing without any indication of its sci-fi elements. So instead of being the massive blockbuster it was supposed to be, John Carter performed like a generic sci-fi/fantasy flick, and sounded like a movie about a principal who helps turn around a tough, inner-city school.

Read the rest of the list at iO9

One thought on “John Carter tops the iO9 List of “Most Baffling Pop Culture Moments” of 2012

  • It is good to see commentary from many sources (iO9 being a pretty big outlet) making the point that it was the marketing that doomed the film, and not the quality of the film or the source material. Could the film have been better? Yes. Could it have leveraged the source material more aggressively and benefited from doing so, while still putting principled cinematic storytelling ahead of blind fealty to the books? Certainly. But, in the meantime, it is still crucial, and accurate to the facts, to hear the drumbeat that the commercial failure was due predominantly to the marketing.

    Another film, most likely a reboot, will have its best chance of getting off the ground if the next set of filmmakers can readily identify where the John Carter project in its entirety fell short, and then proceed with confidence in remedying the shortfalls. For one thing, it is almost universally agreed that the marketing was bad, and it’s encouraging to see more people pointing out HOW it was bad, and, by implication, how it could be fixed in the future.

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