I’m starting to think that Disney may have bet on the wrong horse where with JOHN CARTER (formerly OF MARS). The classic series turned blockbuster film certainly has potential in theory, but expectations are exceedingly high for how well the film needs to perform to turn a profit and subsequently warrant a sequel.
The production budget is said to be a sprawling $250M, but marketing costs, which are usually massive with Disney tentpoles, will cause that to shoot up even further. It’s worth looking to TRON LEGACY, which grossed $400M worldwide and would be considered a hit by any measure, but that number didn’t seem good enough for Disney, and there’s barely been any sequel talk at all due to how high marketing and production costs were on that film.
Vulture reports that a New Yorker profile of director Andrew Stanton says that the film needs a $700M worldwide haul to justify a sequel. That would put it into the top 50 grossing movies ever. Stanton has done this before with FINDING NEMO, but this time there are no cute animals or the Pixar brand on his side.
Do you think JOHN CARTER can do it? I don’t. I’m not saying the film can’t be good, but from the way it’s being marketed so far, it’s not the type of premise that seems like it can draw that massive of an audience. It’s the Civil War era on Earth? It’s the future on Mars? He’s wearing a Conan the Barbarian costume? For those not familiar with the source material, it’s exceedingly difficult to piece together what’s going on in the footage we’ve seen so far, and I have a hunch that will translate into less than impressive box office numbers unless they can really start to tell people what exactly this movie is about.