The $250 million Taylor Kitsch movie, John Carter was an indelible mark in the history of both the actor and Disney in 2012. However, the feature film transpired silently through the decade that followed and gained an underground cult following in its own capacity, something that the production house and its heavy marketing could not make happen (through no fault of their own).
The Disney film was an experiment, something that put to use the rising fame of the Hollywood hunk and the company’s run of live-action projects; and unfortunately, the anticipation surrounding John Carter just could not keep pace with the expectations of the moviegoers at the time.
A Retrospective Peek Into the Downfall of John Carter
In an era when Disney’s Prince of Persia had just epically failed to score among the audience, Disney’s then Pixar head, John Lasseter was convinced that their Pixar Prince, Andrew Stanton, the mind behind WALL-E and Finding Nemo would deliver the next big hit by adapting the John Carter novels. Andrew Stanton, who happened to be a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s literary work, had been awarded the opportunity to breathe life into his 30-year dream of a John Carter live-action film. The film crash landed so hard that on December 5, 2012, the New York Times had to publish an article titled, “Taylor Kitsch Had a Very Bad Year.”
The poor marketing and equally middling critic reviews cut short John Carter‘s run at the box office and the film only managed to gross $30.6 million in domestic earnings during its opening weekend. The bevy of opportunities at Stanton’s arsenal while launching the John Carter franchise ultimately could not put to use his extraordinary special effects skills. Instead, it managed to only deliver a highly-CGI-influenced feature film. The reports from the time of the movie’s launch blame the bland and unimpressive trailer that failed to get the masses going. The sci-fi action-adventure film’s trailer teased a film that featured neither sci-fi nor action.
At the time, the high-leaping star protagonist of the movie, Taylor Kitsch quipped, “there are things that I would love to have seen different” and the studio marketing chief claimed, “this is one of the worst marketing campaigns in the history of movies. It’s almost as if they went out of their way to not make us care.” With all of the drama that was associated with the film and the 8 months of confused marketing prior to its release, it was no surprise that the build-up to the movie was negated by the actual output, beginning with the very first trailer itself.
Taylor Kitsch Looks Back on the Disney Flop, John Carter
After a decade, The Terminal List actor, Taylor Kitsch looks back on the movie that in itself spoke about the peak of his fame and simultaneously marked his downfall. The actor did heal from the aftermath of John Carter and went on to regain his momentum of success but one would think the journey back was one of regret. In fact, Kitsch grew parallel to the evolution of John Carter and had the opportunity to witness the Disney film that was once a resounding flop gain momentum of its own.
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John Carter has now become a cult favorite, a comfort film for families and children on their Disney movie nights, and as the film grows more popular among the audience, Taylor Kitsch couldn’t help but be proud.
“I learned an incredible amount on that movie. I still have great relationships with that movie, which says a ton. I have no ill will whatsoever, I learned a lot, man. And took some big strides personally and professionally through that. It hurt, obviously, at the time, but in retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing, to be honest. It is what it is, we all have those moments…It’s fun when people stop and talk about JC and their kids, they watch it with their kids and whatnot. That’s what it was for, you know, it was fun.”
John Carter is available for streaming on Disney+
Source: Screen Rant