So John Carter is going to go down as one of the biggest movie flops in history. As HuffPo reports, it's set to lose parent company Disney around $200million. That's a big number. Mickey Mouse is going to have to shift a lot of Dole Whip* to make that up!
Now I saw JC over the weekend. It was a good film; not great but not awful and certainly not the turkey these numbers make it out to be. Visually, it was stunning - the landscapes, the effects, the CGI creatures were all brilliant and that's before I even get to the aesthetic appeal of the largely topless/otherwise half naked cast! (In my chart of hot villains, Dominic West's Sab Than is somewhere near the top. Mmmmm... I digress.) Although leading man Taylor Kitsch left me cold - and I hope he only got the part after Zac Efron turned it down, he would've been much better - the supporting cast was fab. All in all it was exactly what that sort of sci-fi-come-action film should be: an entertaining couple of hours.
So it's not the quality of the film I'm annoyed with, it's the marketing campaign. According to that HuffPo article $100million was spent on the John Carter marketing campaign. Really?! On what?!
I'm a geek. I'm a Disney loving geek. I'm a Disney loving, sci-fi-come-action film loving geek. I should've been the target of this alleged marketing campaign. So how did I find out about JC? Trailer in the cinema? TV spot? Print advert? Viral campaign online? No. I find out about it whilst
stalking casually browsing Dominic West's IMDB page. Even the last minute, panicky push out of clips, trailers and interviews didn't appear on my radar until sites like Den of Geek wrote about them in the context of the general mess that the JC marketing became. If I wasn't noticing this stuff then who the hell else would be?
Compare and contrast with other recent, and less good (for my money), Disney offerings like Pirates of the Caribbean 2-4. I literally lost count of the number of adverts of various types I saw for POTC4. And that was a well established franchise with a well established fan base that, frankly, would probably have done fine without any advertising at all.
Part of me wonders whether Disney is prepared to take the hit on John Carter because it knows it will surely make the loss back with its share of mega franchise The Avengers which is out later this spring (and which I know all about thanks to some decent marketing). If that's true I'm even more annoyed.
Anyway, if you get the chance do go and see John Carter. As I said it's a good film that deserves to find an audience - and really is worth seeing on the big screen. I especially recommend it if you're a fan(girl) of Dominic West and/or James Purefoy both of whom are scene stealingly excellent in it. And half naked. I may have mentioned that already.
*This is an in joke for Disney World fans. If you don't get it then you clearly need to visit WDW, stat.