Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Disney's "John Carter" Gamble

For a budget of $250 million, Disney's "John Carter" has a lot riding on it, beyond just the financial well-being of the Walt Disney Studios, and the company in general. Already, with the head of Disney's marketing division being ousted from her position, a lot of pressure and expectations are resting on this movie.

"It doesn't just have to open big -- it has to be one of the top grossing films of all time," a rival studio executive told TheWrap.

A film of this size and scope typically requires a marketing budget of roughly $120 million, adding to the price tag.

All eyes are on Disney to see if the studio can turn the lead character from Edgar Rice Burroughs' once beloved, now largely forgotten 11-volume Mars series into a $700 million blockbuster. Its director, Andrew Stanton, admitted to the New Yorker in October that it will have to gross that much worldwide to justify a sequel.
I've loved all of Andrew Stanton's movies. I thought Wall-E was spectacular, especially the first half-hour of the movie. And I know Disney is also gung-ho about this work.

But the movie, which centers on a Confederate soldier (Kitsch) who is transported to Mars where he tries to put an end to interstellar civil war, has proven notoriously difficult to adapt.

There's a great deal of optimism that Stanton may have cracked the code. After all the boyish looking, Pixar dynamo has a reputation for taking films that on their face should never work -- "Wall-E" is a nearly silent movie about a robot -- and spinning them into celluloid gold.

One producer who works with Disney said that the studio is bullish about the project, and the New Yorker reports that an early test screening had 75 percent of the audience rating the science fiction epic as "good" or "excellent."
I will admit that this movie is not one of my "must see" movies this year. I'm more excited about "Brave". But there's a strong likelihood that I WILL see it when it is released. I'm hoping that this movie doesn't become the "Mars Needs Moms" of this year.


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