A $260m budget Disney tentpole, with marketing and prints pushing this figure much higher, that didn't quite bring the house of mouse down, but just scraped its official budget back. The marketing is blamed. Despite the objections of Disney's marketing team, the director insisted on setting the tone for the marketing, with disastrous results:
- the book/film's central romance is underplayed, undermining crossover female appeal
- dropping the '...of Mars' from the title made it confusing, underplayed the sci-fi, and lost some of the built-in appeal of the existing IP, the hit book series
- using an early 1970s classic rock track, Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir', to underpin the trailer, was alienating for the core/primary youth target audience
- this case highlights the blurring of the dividing line between production and distribution
- it is also argued that the production cost ran out of control (see below)
|Um...sci-fi? Romance? #epicfail|
Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com noted, "John Carter’s bloated budget would have required it to generate worldwide tickets sales of more than $600 million to break even...a height reached by only 63 films in the history of moviemaking"IT JOINS OTHER TURKEYS...
While on paper there have been bigger box-office turkeys in recent years – Breck Eisner's Sahara took $68.7m from a reported $160m budget in 2005 and Oliver Stone's Alexander managed just $34.3m from a $155m budget the previous year – the film already looks likely to be one of 2012's biggest loss leaders. Disney's statement hints that the film's true budget may be far higher than $250m; industry analysts have repeatedly speculated that it cost at least another $50m thanks to a gargantuan marketing spend, making it one of the most expensive films of all time. [Ben Childs]You can find details on many more, including links to quizzes testing your flop knowledge, here.
Marketing shied away from the sci-fi (the producers had already dropped the ...of Mars from the film title, despite its presence in the books it is derived from), which may have been seen as a female-friendly move ... but also ignored the strong romantic element in the marketing. Frankly, bizarre thinking there. Some reckon this was the most expensive movie of all time, so the marketing had to be at least competent. It wasn't. (Later posters did get closer to the mark ... but it was too late).
Poster gallery (impawards);
Screenrant explains why UGC trailers were better than the official ones;
Forbes (business magazine):
how the posters went from awful to ... okay;
the official site, games and all;
BEN CHILD'S REPORT
Critics have suggested that John Carter's failure to connect with audiences may have been due to confusing marketing as well as lukewarm reviews. Disney chose not to run with the "of Mars" suffix in the wake of traditionally poor box-office results for films that focus on the planet, and trailers also largely ignored the movie's central romance, something Hollywood tends to see as a surefire method of attracting female filmgoers.
"The movie is called John Carter, but aside from the fact that he can jump far and looks good without a shirt on, what else did commercials really convey about the title character?" wrote Ray Subers of the Box Office Mojo website. "Also, what was John Carter doing in this desert landscape occupied by tall green men, aside from fighting giant furry white creatures?" [Source]