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.