It saddens me to mention that “John Carter” will likely go down as one of the biggest box office flops of the year, the $250-million-plus "John Carter" debuted with a disappointing $30.6 million this weekend. It’s funny that last weekend's No. 1 film, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," claimed the top box office spot again. That animated tale collected an additional $39.1 million and has now grossed a robust $122 million in just 10 days of release. [Current domestic total: $122 million. Current international total: $1.8 million.] By contrast, “John Carter” earned a $30.6 million domestically and an additional $70.6 million overseas in 55 foreign markets in its opening weekend; so only
Hollywood-style math can determine that a new release is already a “failure” with such a small overall margin difference. Of the two films based on popular literary icons, “Carter” is the most clearly faithful of the pair, with “Lorax” diverging most from the simple story it adapts, with tons of padding to flesh it out for the big screen. Go figure?
Fanboys supposedly failed to gravitate towards Walt Disney Studios' "John Carter," a fantasy epic that has been plagued by bad buzz for months. Based on a century-old character created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, "John Carter," is about a Civil War veteran who is transported to Mars. Whether "John Carter" was meant to appeal to young males or not, it appears that an older crowd of “fanboys” actually turned up to see the movie this weekend, as 59% of the audience was over age 25 and those who saw the film - a 64% male contingent - assigned it an overall positive rating. The film was doomed to fight an uphill battle after most recognized genre properties strip-mined the original ERB source material over the last seventy years. Many critics and the general audience were highly likely to assume that they had seen this all before. That simply proves the efficacy of stealing/borrowing/mimicking the best. Bias of select critics is also on display, when director Andrew Stanton is justifiably praised for his previous Pixar efforts “Finding Nemo” and “Wall*E”, but not so much here. Look, his fine storytelling strengths are definitely on full view in “John Carter”, it is a clearly delineated action epic with spot on dialogue delivered by a topnotch cast, backed by outstanding production values, awesome special effects, a strong music score, and again an exceptionally well chosen cast. “John Carter” may ultimately receive less real dollars than some shit on a shingle pabulum like "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island", but in hindsight “Carter” will most likely be viewed as nothing less than a triumph. I didn’t just like “John Carter”, I loved it. Its eventual Blu-Ray release is pre-sold to me, even if the larger audience weaned on dozens of ongoing reality TV clones, and moronic cable fare didn’t respect it enough to view this terrific genre flick over their soporific “happy meal” staples.
In simpler terms, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND “John Carter”, and hope that some of you will give it a chance. I give much respect to director/writer Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrew & Michael Chabon for an excellent screenplay adaptation, the amazing cast of Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins (totally love her as Dejah Thoris), Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Samantha Morton, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker and Daryl Sabara; and all the Disney team for realizing this long hoped for movie-going experience. Ignore the critics folks, decide for yourself, and go see this great movie!