Mars Attacks! Earth and Hollywood Lose!

What is it about Mars that sucks so bad? Disney’s John Carter (formerly John Carter of Mars) has now been termed a megabomb. The advertising for this film was abysmal – the romantic angle was completely ignored. For that matter the romantic interest, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) was barely shown, the ‘dog’ sidekick wasn’t featured, etc. The funny thing is that not only is John Carter not a bad film but it has taken in quite a bit of money ($184 million worldwide). Unfortunately between the enormous budget and the misguided marketing, over $350 million was spent. Disney is preparing to eat almost $200 million.

That means that John Carter would have had to be a blockbuster just to break even and clearly Disney felt they didn’t have one on their hands as it was released in March. There go my hopes of seeing the other Edgar Rice Burroughs stories adapted. Maybe Disney will dump some direct-to-video sequels on us if the John Carter Blu-Rays sell well.

* Last year Disney lost $70 million on Mars Needs Moms, which only made $38.9 million at the box office. Shortly after this the “of Mars” was removed from John Carter’s title.

Ghosts of Mars (2001) – Rated R

“Two hundred years in the future, a squad of tough-as-nails cops led by Natasha Henstridge and Pam Grier are dispatched to a remote mining outpost on Mars to bring back a deadly criminal named Desolation Williams (Ice Cube). But they get more than they bargained for when they have to fight off an army of miners who’ve been possessed by an unspeakable, ancient evil in this sci-fi thriller directed by John Carpenter. Jason Statham co-stars.”

Ghosts of Mars is currently available on instant Netflix. It certainly follows the Mars curse. After directing the classics Halloween, Escape from New York, The Fog, The Thing, and many other wonderful if flawed films, Carpenter directed this – easily his worst picture.

* Brian de Palma made the classics Carrie, Scarface, The Untouchables, and Carlito’s Way. In 2000, he made Mission to Mars which barely garnered $60 million and wasn’t very good.

* Also in 2000, we had Red Planet directed by Antony Hoffman. What’s that? You haven’t heard of Antony Hoffman? That’s because Red Planet is the only film he has made. Nuff Said.

* 2005, the video game Doom was adapted as a major motion picture. Yes you guessed it – it is terrible. In video game parlance, it was a ba-bomb!

* Mars Attacks!, Tim Burton’s lowest-grossing film of the last decade and a half, is a real mixed bag. The Martians are hysterical but most of the human roles are simply dreadful. This is still worth watching simply for the visuals.

* Speaking of Tim Burton, the trailer for Dark Shadows just came out and it looks absolutely awful. What a waste of Johnny Depp, Chloe Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Christopher Lee. I had really been looking forward to this until I saw the trailer.


Bully for The Lorax & The Killing of John Carter

Well The Lorax killed John Carter at the box office over the weekend. The Lorax is now the highest grossing film of 2012. I’m sorry to see John Carter perform so poorly but the advertising has not made it look very good. I guess I’ll find out later today when I go see it with my FREE ticket. Speaking of which, if you are going to see The Lorax, Wal-Mart has a selection of children’s films on DVD for $5 each with a $5 The Lorax movie cash sticker on them. $5 won’t even buy a matinee ticket these days but if you are going anyway then why not grab a free DVD.

The struggle to get a PG-13 rating for the documentary Bully continues. High school student Katy Butler has amassed over 275,000 signatures in favor of getting the MPAA rating overturned. The latest news is that this includes twenty members of congress. I understand the drive here and that the makers shouldn’t have to cut their film but honestly word is that we’re talking six F-bombs which would just mean partially bleeping five of them for the PG-13 rating the Weinsteins are coveting.

The Killing

“The disappearance of a young Seattle girl sets in motion this moody crime series centering on a detective — Sarah Linden — who’s trying to start a new life in California but is unable to walk away from the mysteries posed by the complex case.”

The Killing just became available on instant Netflix (assuming they don’t yank it again like they did with Magnum and Miami Vice). I haven’t seen it but I absolutely adore AMC’s The Walking Dead (one episode left in the season) and have found AMC’s other series, Mad Men and Breaking Bad to be wonderfully written and acted. I will warn you though that while many people enjoyed the series, the ending sparked a bit of outrage so watch at your own risk.

I Like FREE Movies and I Cannot Lie!

I love FREE. FREE is my favorite price point (at least until I figure out a way for them to pay me). Here are a few freebies that I picked up recently.

Act of Valor (2012) – Rated R

“The mission of rescuing a kidnapped CIA agent from a lethal terrorist cell falls to an elite squad of Navy SEALs in this covert-action thriller. Active duty SEALs play the lead fighting roles in a saga based on actual events from their service.”

I got a FREE ticket to Act of Valor from buying the Master and Commander Blu-Ray at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart received a shipper containing the following $10 Blu-Rays: Master and Commander, Live Free or Die Hard, Independence Day, Man on Fire, Platoon, X-Men Wolverine, Navy Seals, Windtalkers, Behind Enemy Lines, Flyboys, The Marine, Men of Honor, Courage Under Fire, Valkyrie, Tigerland, X-Men, Commando, Rescue Dawn, Lions for Lambs and Hart’s War.

Each one comes with a coupon/sticker on the package for a FREE ticket to Act of Valor (up to $7.50). Make sure yours has a sticker on the front before purchasing. The backside of that sticker has the redemption code – it is not inside the Blu-Ray case.

John Carter (2012) – Rated PG-13

“One minute, dozing Civil War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is evading Apaches in a deserted cave. The next, he’s waking up on Mars, a once-Earthlike planet that’s devolved into chaos — and civil war of a different sort. Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s classic “Barsoom Series,” this sci-fi adventure finds Carter coming to the aid of Martian princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) and pitching in to help protect the planet.”

There are actually two different ways to get a FREE ticket to see John Carter. The first is by purchasing one of a select set of films and then going through Disney Movie Rewards (either by signing up and navigating their site or going here). The movies can be purchased wherever you like – the Disney code you use will be located inside the case (so get a factory sealed copy).

The following movies and formats qualify for Disney’s promotion: Tron Classic (DVD/Blu), Tron New (DVD/Blu), National Treasure (DVD/Blu), National Treasure 2 (DVD/Blu), Remember the Titans (DVD/Blu), Sorcerer’s Apprentice (DVD/Blu), Prince Caspian (DVD/Blu), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (DVD), Alice in Wonderland Depp version (DVD), Secretariat (DVD), Race to Witch Mountain (DVD), Roving Mars (DVD), The Rocketeer (DVD), and Prince of Persia (DVD).

The second John Carter promotion is through Amazon. I’ve left the referral code for in the URL as that is where I found this deal. Their list of titles is much the same but only DVDs (no Blu-Rays). If you use this, make sure you buy one of the movies sold by Amazon and not a third-party seller. Amazon will then email you the reward code to enter at the John Carter redemption site.

While the qualifying movies overlap, I’m not sure if you can double-dip. Personally I picked up a DVD copy of Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Best Buy for $9.99.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011) – Rated PG-13

“When the devil resurfaces with aims to take over the world in human form, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) reluctantly comes out of hiding to transform into the flame-spewing supernatural hero Ghost Rider — and rescue a 10-year-old boy from an unsavory end.”

I saw a FREE Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance ticket on a Priest DVD at Target. I passed as my limit is $10 and Target wanted $13. I later went to see Ghost Rider so I highly advise against this deal. Wow – jaw-droppingly bad movie.


Disney Movie Rewards also has a promo running this month for a FREE Blu-Ray. Enter two of their magic codes (found inside almost all Disney DVDs and Blu-Rays) and you can choose from A Bug’s Life, Bridge to Terabithia, or Tinkerbell. They will charge you $3.95 for shipping and handling and allow a whopping six to eight weeks for delivery.


American Reunion and Wrath of the Titans supposedly have upcoming FREE tickets as well but I haven’t seen the promotion.