Why no Mars, John Carter?

I saw the just released “John Carter” film this weekend. My take: nothing you wouldn’t expect but not without a certain charm (and a shockingly high, though somewhat bloodless, body count for a Disney film.)

Of course, after this weekend, the news came in that “John Carter” had bombed at the box office. It cost around 250 million to make and made about 36 million in its opening weekend. The odds of it turning a profit are slim.

So why did it fail? I’ve personally been perplexed at the decision to call the film “John Carter” as opposed to “John Carter of Mars” or even “A Princess From Mars” as the first book in the original Edgar Rice Burroughs series was called. So why was Mars dropped? This site has a few reasons.

The original title of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first John Carter book was A Princess From Mars. Rumor has it that Disney didn’t want to use that title because they were afraid it would cause confusion with their very profitable Disney Princess franchise. That was part of the reason they decided to call the film John Carter of Mars in the first place. Besides, John Carter was already set to be the main character in Andrew Stanton’s adaptation.
This was followed by the insane decision last year to remove “Mars” from the title after Mars Needs Moms bombed badly at the box office. People understood that Disney was gun-shy, but you can’t just cut it down to John Carter. A name so plain and nondescript that no one even knew what to think of it. Heck, the Untitled Andrew Stanton Project would have been better than that. At least there would have been curiosity factor.

I read an interview with the director (I think) and he mentioned the concern that women would be turned off by the “of Mars” appendage because Mars is supposedly boy territory. So, in the name of appealing to everyone, they watered the title down to be meaningless. What does “John Carter” tell me? Is this another “Jerry McGuire?”

If I’d been directing the film I would have called it “John Carter from Mars (That’s right girls: Mars! Now go and see the film with your boyfriend like a good little whore)*.”

* Sorry ladies. I’m contractually obligated to run any jokes Rush Limbaugh sends me.

In closing, here’s a link to a website about the 1970′s John Carter Marvel Comics series. Some nice artwork.

4 Responses to “Why no Mars, John Carter?”


  1. John Saleeby

    My Dad and I were sitting around talking while TV was on with the sound off and a “John Carter” commercial came on. We looked at it while talking and not really paying attention. About fifteen minutes later my Dad goes “‘John Carter’?” And I said “Yeah! ‘John Carter’!”. About an hour later we were driving around in his car to the store and he goes “‘John Carter’?!?” and I said “Yeah! What the fuck?”. Then when we were going back to his house he said “From Mars, Right?” and I said “Yeah! From Mars!”. About an hour after we got back to the house and we were eating he said “‘John Carter From Mars’, right?” and I said “Yeah! ‘John Carter From Mars’!”. About an hour after after we were sitting around watching TV when the commercial came on again. My Dad picked up the remote, changed the channel, and “‘John Carter’!” and I said “Fuck ‘John Carter’!”

  2. Wil

    He’s from Mars, you know.

  3. John Saleeby

    No, he lives on Mars.

  4. funny

    funny…

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