Disney's marketing team is fully to blame for what was almost one of the biggest box office flops in film history, John Carter.
Not only is John Carter a decent movie, it's a great movie. While the overall consensus of the film today is somewhat negative (52% on RottenTomatoes), early reviews built promising buzz. The negative reviews came later in its life. And I'm here to defend it from those bandwagon haters.
Though I can agree the film is a little slow to start (yet needed for the payoff in the final scene), the ambitious alien adventure that ensues is truly action-packed and at-times hilarious. I didn't just NTN, I literally LOL'd at parts. It's a perfect blend of action, romance, science-fiction, comedy, aliens, heroes, and princesses. And, ironically, this fun-for-all-ages-damsel-in-distress story is what Disney's story-sellers failed to tell.
Disney can only blame themselves for the near $200 million loss. Disney's former chairman Rich Ross (fired following the flop) couldn't have been more wrong when he said "the film failed to connect with audiences." Nobody even met John Carter, how could they connect? The empty theater seats were a direct result of Disney's inability to promote the film's premise to audiences.
It's not just "John Carter" -- it's "John Carter: Princess of Mars." By changing the title of the film and not including "mars" or "princess" -- thereby removing both the sci-fi and romance from its very name -- most movie-goers just assumed it to be about some Star-Wars-Episode-2-like-desert-arena-monster-battle that Disney's marketing team became laser-focused on. So who can blame women and families for buying tickets to see "The Lorax" instead?
But the real shame is that those of us who whole-heartedly enjoyed the delightfully-fun film and its three-dimensional special effects -- and there were plenty of us, 126 positive user reviews out of 163 on MetaCritic -- may never get the sequel, or the trilogy, we desire.