Why “John Carter” Failed

“John Carter”, the recent fantasy/sci-fi action movie, is the biggest box office bomb in film history, with a total net loss of $166,566,620. The movie did “just ok” with critics, but most viewers who saw the movie, liked it (70% rating on IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes). So apparently, from entertainment’s point of view, the movie was not a disaster. It entertained better than expected. Marketing was adequate too. So why didn’t more people go to see it? I have a suspicion that I would like to share.

I believe that the reason it didn’t attract larger crowds was because of the theme itself. This is a very old fashioned story, more leaning towards kits fantasy rather than radical, modern sci-fi. When I first saw the trailer for “John Carter” a few months ago, I was left bewildered that Hollywood would finance such a movie. It had a feel of the 1930’s Flash Gordon in it, but with better effects. And that was its flaw: old fashioned, pure cheesiness.

In today’s day and age, most people I know are hungry for smart movies that mess up with their mind a little. That make them think. That have something interesting and new to say, or at least visually show something refreshing. A movie becomes a classic when it speaks about our situation today, or tomorrow. This movie has nothing like that in it. It’s a very sterile & dry interpretation of old epic fantasy films: some guy, fighting bad guys and monsters, amongst laughable technology.

Give me a break. While this might fly with a few young kids and very old people who don’t know better, it won’t fly with most of the rest of us, the main body of customers, who still have a brain and would like to use it occasionally.

“John Carter” deserved the money loss, but I fear that Hollywood will never learn anyway. They pour unnecessarily huge amounts of money on stupid movies such as this. And this, among other things, will be their undoing.


Richard Allen Crook wrote on March 25th, 2012 at 10:12 AM PST:

I kinda felt the same way about Immortals. But in the case with John Carter, do you think the name had something to do with it? I mean it’s a good name for a movie about a black football coach in the 50s, or a reclusive eccentric man with a big heart played by Kevin Spacey…but an epic action/drama?

Log your blog….keep it up! 🙂

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Eugenia wrote on March 25th, 2012 at 10:27 AM PST:

Yeah, the name wasn’t great either, but I think most people would just be more turned off by the kits trailer, I think. “Immortals” and the rest of the artsy Greek action movies are as banal too, IMHO.

One of the movies I liked last year was “Drive”. It had a certain modern and cool atmosphere. It was mysterious, and the photography/direction was very teasing. If only they could apply that to a sci-fi movie.

CRFilms wrote on March 25th, 2012 at 3:33 PM PST:

The biggest problem with Carter….was the male lead. He was…blah. He didn’t suck, but he was far from iconic, and that role needed someone with that “X” factor. Couple that with his hair style, costume…it all worked against it. Even then, the movie was a solid 7, so just imagine if the lead had been perfect.

Fewer and fewer male leads have that quality. Especially American males. When you look at the best leads, especially those who broke under 30…it’s mostly Australian or Brits.

I think it’s the american school system. Everybody’s a little bit dumber now and when you compound that with the innate dumbness of really good looking people….you have a generation of stars that don’t have the depth or talent of the last generation.

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Eugenia wrote on March 25th, 2012 at 4:27 PM PST:

Yeah, not many good really young actors. Ryan Gosling is the last great one who exhibited great qualities earlier in his career too.

CRFilms wrote on March 25th, 2012 at 5:33 PM PST:

Hehehe…Gosling’s Canadian, so he doesn’t count either. >_<

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