What can I say? Walt Disney needs to take a page from the play book of the Chinese government. They need to take their entire marketing department outside, line them up against the wall and shoot just like the Chinese government did with the dude who took the bribe over antifreeze in toothpaste.
Was this as racy and as adult as a lot of the Sci-Fi I like, no? Was it a bad flick? No. It was the kind of Sci-Fi you can take the entire family to see which meant a lot of the spicier stuff we like had to be left out. John Carter had Disney’s name on it. That name, like the name Taylor Swift, is targeted at kids and in particular parents who want to spend time with their kids.
What was wrong with John Carter?
What was wrong with this movie was the marketing. I think I saw exactly one commercial for it while watching SyFy channel. I do recall seeing many commercials for it on either USA or CNN, possibly both. Why on God’s green Earth would anyone with a tenth of a brain market Sci-Fi there? The commercials for this movie should have been peppered throughout re-runs of Stargate SG-1 along with the current shows of Haven and Warehouse 13. If any channel any where is still running either Babylon 5 or Farscape, they should have ran there as well.
This movie failed to make money because marketing failed to understand what the target market was. Here is a tip for every author, screenwriter, director and movie studio on the face of the planet. Know where your target audience hangs out. They could have easily reach the bulk of the Science Fiction community for almost no money. Just a few posts on a couple hundred message boards and user forums dedicated to the various science fiction communities like Stargate, Babylon 5, Star Trek, etc. Every post linking back to a trailer on you-tube and a description saying you made it for parents to take little kids to. Suddenly you have butts in the seats at movie theaters.
Personally I’ve watched this movie quite a few times. First I rented it, then some cable/satellite channel started running it a few times per week for a while. In some ways it is like chicken pot pie, comfort food for a cold and rainy afternoon.