Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' The 10 Best Films Of 2004 The 10 Best Films Of 2004 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Is The Media Being Unfair To 'John Carter'? Brad Bird Thinks So

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 29, 2012 at 3:52PM

With Disney's expensive, years-in-the-making adaptation of "John Carter" finally hitting theaters next week, the buzz has both been very loud, and not all positive either. Fanboys were miffed when Disney, in a bid to make the sci-fi movie more broadly appealing, changed the title from the original "John Carter of Mars" to simply "John Carter." Rumors swirled of a massive $300 million budget, reshoots, and in recent weeks, soft tracking indicating the film may not be the blockbuster the studio is hoping for. But the filmmakers are starting to fight back. Director Andrew Stanton addressed the budget rumors calling them a "complete and utter lie" and today, the helmer's Pixar pal Brad Bird (likely part of the braintrust who served as advisers on the film) hit Twitter to lash out at the media, and what he perceives as a tar and feather campaign against the picture.
38
John Carter Brad Bird

With Disney's expensive, years-in-the-making adaptation of "John Carter" finally hitting theaters next week, the buzz has both been very loud, and not all positive either. Fanboys were miffed when Disney, in a bid to make the sci-fi movie more broadly appealing, changed the title from the original "John Carter of Mars" to simply "John Carter." Rumors swirled of a massive $300 million budget, reshoots, and in recent weeks, soft tracking indicating the film may not be the blockbuster the studio is hoping for. But the filmmakers are starting to fight back. Director Andrew Stanton addressed the budget rumors calling them a "complete and utter lie" and today, the helmer's Pixar pal Brad Bird (likely part of the braintrust who served as advisers on the film) hit Twitter to lash out at the media, and what he perceives as a tar and feather campaign against the picture.

"The showbiz press complains about big-budget sequels & remakes, but when a big NEW film like JOHN CARTER arrives, support is nonexistent," he tweeted. Clarifying, he added, "I dont mean the 'press'press...I mean the industry prognosticators who bagged on 'Ratatouille,' 'Wall-E' & 'Up' before they came out." He also said, "The loudest complainers about JC haven't seen it!"

Is there merit to Bird's asessment? Perhaps, but he surely can't be that naive about the way the blogosphere or movie marketing works in general? Disney has been pressing this movie hard since last July when the first teaser landed, with the film being further rolled out at D23 in August followed by an extensive New Yorker profile in October (recapped here, which outlined the details of the extensive reshoots and reshaping the film underwent since a rough cut was assembled and shown to Pixar in December 2010). The entire point of that early press? To get people talking about the film, and if that talk has been unimpressed, it speaks to the quality of the campaign, not necessarily that of the film. 

In fact, one follower commented on this, and here's Bird's response: "@tombrazelton: Disney's done a poor job communicating what the film is.' Epic sci-fi fantasy from the creators of TARZAN and FINDING NEMO." But again, that really does not say much about the film, and Bird tries to position the film in another tweet: "It's the first big movie adaptation of a classic series of novels. Many filmmakers have tried." But again, whether it has succeeded in that regard remains to be seen. People decide what movies to go see based on trailers, stills or other marketing material, and if they don't like what they see, or they aren't moved by it, they "complain" or instead, just don't go.

" '@CoreyAtad: The press loves failure. It's why they go super negative before every new [James] Cameron film.' Yet we never see them eat super crow," Bird responded to another follower. The overall tone of the tweets suggets that some (not all) sections of press or blogosphere or whatever are cynical enough to root for a movie to bomb. And that's just not accurate. Most (reputable) movie writers do it because they love the medium and always want to see good work, however, no movie -- big or small -- gets a pass based on good intent or simply on the merits of not being a sequel or remake. And yes, early opinions are formed based on what is advertised (sorry, "Battleship" still looks terrible).

The ultimate success of "John Carter" will have little to do with the numerous chatter about the flim beforehand (most of which, the general moviegoing public generally ignores or does not take part in) but in the results on the screen. Reviews will start coming in next week and advance word has been mixed, with some (mostly geek centered) quarters trumpeting the film. But what audiences think, and when they go to Mars on March 9th, how they feel when the lights go up, will be all that matters.

This article is related to: John Carter Of Mars, Brad Bird


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates