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    The Avengers - Money In The Bank

    So John Carter came and for Disney, John Carter painfully went with losses estimated by Disney to be in the $200 million dollar range. It will most likely end up being the biggest movie flop in history to date. Shed I tear? I wouldn't. Right on the heels of the DOA John Carter debacle comes Marvel/Disney's The Avengers with a release date of May 4th. Before the movie has even sold a single ticket, it has made over $100 million dollars from corporate partnerships. It's a guaranteed money maker. So what's the difference between John Carter and The Avengers? John Carter was a movie no one really had any interest in seeing. For The Avengers, even a month a way, people are already making plans to see that first midnight showing. Money in the bank.

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    I know you really really like ripping John Carter a new one, but let's get our facts straight before we start spouting off hyperbolic nonsense like "the biggest movie flop in history to date." John Carter has been struggling, and it's certainly not the hit that Stanton wanted it to be, but it has been marginally successful despite the pre-mature negative feedback. It has received a high degree of praise from the general public who has seen it and as of this weekend it has officially made back its budget (and, it should be noted, the movie is still playing, it's not likely to earn a ton more, but it will earn at least a little more before that number is final).

    Will The Avengers outperform John Carter? Duh. Even if John Carter had made back twice its budget (the unofficial, yet universal marker of legitimate "success" in Hollywood) it still would have been beaten out by The Avengers which will almost certainly earn at least $1 Billion in world wide box office sales. And even then The Avengers will likely be beat out by The Dark Knight Rises, which itself has a high probability of being beat out by The Hobbit.

    If you take into account the supposed marketing budget of $100 million (which, in my opinion, is extremely fishy because a few trailers, posters, and TV spots with zero merchandising is not a $100 million marketing campaign) the film has lost roughly $95 million or 27.2% of its budget. If you take a look at a list of the biggest box office bombs of all time a 27.2% loss would put it at 190 on the list, a long shot from "biggest flop in history to date" and is even surpassed by other Disney efforts including Mars Needs Moms (77.7% loss) and Treasure Planet (39.1% loss). Even if we're talking strict dollar amounts rather than percentages, Mars Needs Moms lost $136 million and is the highest loss without adjusting for inflation. If we go even further and adjust for inflation, 1995's Cutthroat Island is the biggest bomb of all time with a loss of $147 million.

    So please, if you're going to make a new thread about a different movie as a thinly veiled attempt to go off on John Carter again, at least do us the courtesy of five minutes of research.


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    Ouch.


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    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    I know you really really like ripping John Carter a new one, but let's get our facts straight before we start spouting off hyperbolic nonsense like "the biggest movie flop in history to date." John Carter has been struggling, and it's certainly not the hit that Stanton wanted it to be, but it has been marginally successful despite the pre-mature negative feedback.

    If you take into account the supposed marketing budget of $100 million (which, in my opinion, is extremely fishy because a few trailers, posters, and TV spots with zero merchandising is not a $100 million marketing campaign) the film has lost roughly $95 million or 27.2% of its budget. If you take a look at a list of the biggest box office bombs of all time a 27.2% loss would put it at 190 on the list, a long shot from "biggest flop in history to date" and is even surpassed by other Disney efforts including Mars Needs Moms (77.7% loss) and Treasure Planet (39.1% loss). Even if we're talking strict dollar amounts rather than percentages, Mars Needs Moms lost $136 million and is the highest loss without adjusting for inflation. If we go even further and adjust for inflation, 1995's Cutthroat Island is the biggest bomb of all time with a loss of $147 million.

    So please, if you're going to make a new thread about a different movie as a thinly veiled attempt to go off on John Carter again, at least do us the courtesy of five minutes of research.
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    On March 19, Disney issued a statement to the press saying the anticipated the losses for John Carter would to be close to $200 million dollars. It was reported by the Associated Press, Reuters, Forbes, LATimes, HuffingtonPost, and countless other news organizations (the stories are all out on the web so anyone is free to check them out). In their articles associated with Disney's press release, the news organizations were the ones that constantly and repeatedly put John Carter's failure up there with the biggest of all time. Whether this is right or wrong, I don't know and don't care, but I suspect reputable news agencies and publications have access to far better information than I do which lead them to attach "biggest bomb" to JC in their published stories. I write a Disney Blog and post comments to some discussion boards, my interest in the John Carter story mainly centers Disney's admitted failure on one of the most expensive movies ever made. I'm neither an insider or apologist, it's all about the story. It's a story far more interesting than the movie itself. Why would Disney even issue a press release admitting that JC failed in epic such proportions? They had to, they had to get the word out ahead of giving their quarterly financial report which will specifically reference the losses of its Studios division and the film John Carter.

    Which brings us back to the start of this thread. In the same March 19 press release Disney said that the upcoming releases of The Avengers and Brave (neither of which is made by Walt Disney Pictures which is a whole other story) and their anticipated success should more than make up for losses they will have to have to write off with John Carter. Again, this is done primarily for investors information. Disney is saying if we have to report a loss now, we can make up for it as the fiscal year continues with other projects. And again, the leaking of information that 10 -12 corporate partners have paid Disney close to $100 million dollars to get on board with The Avengers for product placement and cross-promotion before the movie sells a ticket is something aimed primarily at Disney's private and institutional investors.

    Which leads me to a question about your numbers. So John Carter makes back 200 of the $250 million dollars it cost to produce (again leaving off the additional costs estimated at 100 million for JC associated with post production marketing), does that mean the movie is close to breaking even? When you read box office receipts (i.e. JC brought in about 2 million dollars this week), does this mean all 2 million goes to film's makers and distributors? It doesn't work that way. It leaves off the fact the film distributors and theater owners are partners in this business. Box off receipts are roughly split 50 -50 with the movie companies and theater owners. So of JC's 2 million dollar box office receipts, about half of it goes to Disney. And that's where the staggering gap in numbers comes from for John Carter. If the movie cost 250 million and has made 200 million, Disney has only collected on about 100 million dollars on it so its down about 150 million on the loss side, now throw in the post production money and you can easily see Disney's admitted loss of $200 million. The math makes complete sense.

    It appears that the general rule of thumb is that a movie needs to make back a little more than twice its budgeted cost just to break even which is why many insiders projected JC would have needed to take in close to 600 million dollars to move into profitability. On the other hand, The Avengers, with a slightly lower production budget than JC (and with actual movie stars), is pretty much a sure thing to get to that amount and beyond and it really doesn't matter if the film is any good or not. It is money in the bank vs. a very bad business decision that deserves some criticism (rip?). Not sure why you want to argue the point where Disney has already admitted defeat with John Carter and is standing with open arms the anticipated success of The Avengers.

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    Hey wasn't Ishtar the biggest money flop ever?? Remember that one?
    Avengers has a loyal following since Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, ect.. all have the characters in the Avengers movie and the new Hulk and Cpt. America lead up to Avengers. Not sure you can really compare the two.
    I think the problem with John Carter, other than the lousy marketing was the age of the books and Disney really underestimating people even being familiar with the books or character. I knew I wasn't when I started seeing information online about the movie being made.

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    By percentage of loss to cost, Cleopatra was the biggest flop off all time. At least John Carter has a chance of making money off the international market and DVD sales (where most films make their profit anyways).


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    Quote Originally Posted by dban3 View Post
    On March 19, Disney issued a statement to the press saying the anticipated the losses for John Carter would to be close to $200 million dollars. It was reported by the Associated Press, Reuters, Forbes, LATimes, HuffingtonPost, and countless other news organizations (the stories are all out on the web so anyone is free to check them out). In their articles associated with Disney's press release, the news organizations were the ones that constantly and repeatedly put John Carter's failure up there with the biggest of all time. Whether this is right or wrong, I don't know and don't care, but I suspect reputable news agencies and publications have access to far better information than I do which lead them to attach "biggest bomb" to JC in their published stories. I write a Disney Blog and post comments to some discussion boards, my interest in the John Carter story mainly centers Disney's admitted failure on one of the most expensive movies ever made. I'm neither an insider or apologist, it's all about the story. It's a story far more interesting than the movie itself. Why would Disney even issue a press release admitting that JC failed in epic such proportions? They had to, they had to get the word out ahead of giving their quarterly financial report which will specifically reference the losses of its Studios division and the film John Carter.
    Take into account, though, that this was only 10 days after the film released, at which point it had made roughly $180 million worldwide. In the time since, the film has earned another $75 million. The whole John Carter issue, between Disney's mismanaged marketing campaign, the reported marketing budget that is inconceivably high based on the effort that was put forward, and Disney's eagerness to write the whole thing off as a loss without a moment's hesitation stinks to high heaven; I won't get into the conspiracy theories here, but the whole thing is highly suspicious. As for the press, as I brought up in the John Carter thread, there has been this mob mentality throughout the major news publications that started long before John Carter was released in which they are seemingly out for blood on this project. The very publications you are citing have been calling John Carter the biggest box-office failure of all time before it even made it out the gate. Again, it's hyperbolic nonsense. The real, unbiased numbers tell a completely different story.

    Which leads me to a question about your numbers. So John Carter makes back 200 of the $250 million dollars it cost to produce (again leaving off the additional costs estimated at 100 million for JC associated with post production marketing), does that mean the movie is close to breaking even? When you read box office receipts (i.e. JC brought in about 2 million dollars this week), does this mean all 2 million goes to film's makers and distributors? It doesn't work that way. It leaves off the fact the film distributors and theater owners are partners in this business. Box off receipts are roughly split 50 -50 with the movie companies and theater owners. So of JC's 2 million dollar box office receipts, about half of it goes to Disney. And that's where the staggering gap in numbers comes from for John Carter. If the movie cost 250 million and has made 200 million, Disney has only collected on about 100 million dollars on it so its down about 150 million on the loss side, now throw in the post production money and you can easily see Disney's admitted loss of $200 million. The math makes complete sense.
    Actually, $254,533,839 as of yesterday, but who's counting? Yes, though, that is the box office gross. The actual net profits of a film are usually kept tightly under wraps and while we can make loose guesstimates, there's not really a fool-proof way of estimating how much money the studio themselves made when you subtract the profits of the distributors and exhibitors. That being said, all the numbers I cited were based on the box office gross of their respective movies. If we assume that Disney will only get back half of the gross of John Carter, that puts their loss at $190 million (keep in mind that the percentage stays the same), but if we're going to do that we should make that same assumption in regards to the other numbers meaning that Mars Needs Moms was actually a $275 million loss, almost twice that of John Carter. Yet, for some reason Mars Needs Moms loss went with far less fan-fare and rioting in the streets. Why would a director with substantial acclaim tackling an ambitious project take a greater beating than a no-name director tackling forgettable kids' fluff? Oh, sorry, I did say I wouldn't bring up conspiracy theories, didn't I?

    The fact is, the numbers simply don't support the claim that John Carter is the biggest box office failure of all time, or even anywhere close to it. The pundits in the major publications can say what they will, but the numbers don't lie. That was the essence of my story. Art, even commercial art, is about far more than the money it makes back, and a studio taking a risk on a talented filmmaker with a big idea should never be something that is discouraged, ripped apart, or frowned upon. That's how the medium moves forward. There's not nearly enough risks and big ideas being taken in Hollywood right now and we're left in this stagnate state of the same five franchises being dragged back to theaters for sequels every year. For the love of god, they're making a movie based on a board game because they're terrified of making a movie that might introduce some kind of new idea or at the very least do something ambitious, and this is the reason why! Can you blame the studios for not wanting to take risks when the moment they do they are shot down by a thousand angry voices saying "this shall be the biggest failure in movie history to date! We shall ensure it!"

    EDIT: Also, for the record, Cleopatra being the biggest box office failure of all time is a common misconception that stems from the fact that it was the only film ever to be the highest grossing film of the year yet still run at a loss in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohthatjeff View Post
    By percentage of loss to cost, Cleopatra was the biggest flop off all time. At least John Carter has a chance of making money off the international market and DVD sales (where most films make their profit anyways).
    Its not that way anymore. DVD sales over the last 2 years or so have fallen way, way, off with a struggling economy and the advent of cheaper ways to get movies into home whether that is streaming or the RedBox kiosk concept. If you look at your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart. the actual floorspace consumed by DVDs (and Blu-Rays) for sale has shrunk considerably.

    Trying to pin down the biggest flop of all time is difficult because film studios use a lot of smoke and mirrors with movie accounting (for legal and tax purposes). There are several lists of biggest flops using mathematical calculations based on the time the movie was made, the box office receipts based on current ticket prices, inflation, etc. but it would seem that it is fair to say that each generation produces its own unique set of film failures. Actually, the real flops might well be the movies whose failure has taken down entire film studios likes Heaven's Gate. John Carter is a huge financial failure for Disney (again, this is by Disney's own admission) but movies are not the major piece of the Disney media empire, nor are theme parks for that matter. Disney makes most of its profits from ad revenue produced by ESPN and its network of Disney Channels.

    As of the topic of this thread, The Avengers is just the start (or maybe its the middle) of this series of Marvel releases with Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2 all scheduled to release in 2013 and 2014. There is also a Dr. Strange movie in pre-production. Alas, the poor Hulk, I liked the Ang Lee directed version in 2003 with Eric Banya. I really liked the edgy Edward Norton version of The Incredible Hulk in 2008 and why he didn't transition into The Avengers I have no idea. The idea of a 'sensitive' type actor like Mark Ruffalo playing a character who you just flat out don't want to make angry is something I need to see. I suspect his part in The Avengers may be the shortest, maybe even giving way to Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson. Anyway, it promises to fun (until the Dark Knight Rises once again Christian Bale's Batman puts every superhero in their comic book place).
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    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post

    The fact is, the numbers simply don't support the claim that John Carter is the biggest box office failure of all time, or even anywhere close to it. The pundits in the major publications can say what they will, but the numbers don't lie. That was the essence of my story. Art, even commercial art, is about far more than the money it makes back, and a studio taking a risk on a talented filmmaker with a big idea should never be something that is discouraged, ripped apart, or frowned upon. That's how the medium moves forward. There's not nearly enough risks and big ideas being taken in Hollywood right now and we're left in this stagnate state of the same five franchises being dragged back to theaters for sequels every year. For the love of god, they're making a movie based on a board game because they're terrified of making a movie that might introduce some kind of new idea or at the very least do something ambitious, and this is the reason why! Can you blame the studios for not wanting to take risks when the moment they do they are shot down by a thousand angry voices saying "this shall be the biggest failure in movie history to date! We shall ensure it!"
    Disney will report its 2nd quarter profits on the afternoon of May 8th with a conference call and webcast. The impact of JC on the company as a whole will be clearer then. Of course, if you're CEO Bob Iger or CFO Jay Rasulo its going to be a whole lot less painful armed with a weekend full of Avengers box office receipts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dban3 View Post
    I really liked the edgy Edward Norton version of The Incredible Hulk in 2008 and why he didn't transition into The Avengers I have no idea.
    Marvel and Edward Norton had fairly public "artistic differences" over The Incredible Hulk and as a result Marvel didn't offer him a spot on The Avengers team. I too liked Ed Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk, and I'm bummed that he won't be back in The Avengers, but I'm definitely interested to see Ruffalo's take on the character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    Marvel and Edward Norton had fairly public "artistic differences" over The Incredible Hulk and as a result Marvel didn't offer him a spot on The Avengers team. I too liked Ed Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk, and I'm bummed that he won't be back in The Avengers, but I'm definitely interested to see Ruffalo's take on the character.
    Actually, I thought they did offer him the opportunity to reprise his role in "The Avengers", and they talked for a while, but given the direction this film was going to take, he decided to bow out, and they re-cast the part. He was terrific as Hulk, but his role in that film was very different from how it would be in this film, so I'm not surprised that he chose not to continue.
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    <duplicate post deleted>

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    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    The very publications you are citing have been calling John Carter the biggest box-office failure of all time before it even made it out the gate.
    They said the same things about Titanic and Avatar too, before those movies were released. Tons of press about bloated budgets, out of control ego, financial ruin. I think you overestimate the power of the press to gang up on a movie and keep the crowds away, they do it almost every time a movie on the outer edge of budgets is released (the exceptions being big sequels where they have a hand-fed narrative of a pre-made audience).

    (Of course, I think John Carter was a mediocre to mildly crappy movie, so I'm sure I'm biased.)

    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    Why would a director with substantial acclaim tackling an ambitious project take a greater beating than a no-name director tackling forgettable kids' fluff? Oh, sorry, I did say I wouldn't bring up conspiracy theories, didn't I?
    I'd turn that around, considering my view of the movie, and ask "why wouldn't a director with substantial acclaim tackling an ambitious project take a greater beating than a no-name director tackling forgettable kids' fluff if that acclaimed director does a surprisingly poor job?"

    Of course, I might also argue that "Conan the Barbarian with super powers" isn't all that ambitious a project.

    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    but the numbers don't lie.
    We're talking about Hollywood accounting, the numbers always lie.

    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    Art, even commercial art, is about far more than the money it makes back, and a studio taking a risk on a talented filmmaker with a big idea should never be something that is discouraged, ripped apart, or frowned upon.
    I'd like to actively discourage it if the result is John Carter. I have tons of respect for Andrew Stanton, but he made a Michael Bay movie, and Michael Bay movies should be discouraged. I hope he wasn't trying to make a Michael Bay movie but he did. Is it fair that he made a Michael Bay movie but didn't get to make Michael Bay money? No, that's not fair.

    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    There's not nearly enough risks and big ideas being taken in Hollywood right now and we're left in this stagnate state of the same five franchises being dragged back to theaters for sequels every year.
    I really am curious as to what big idea you see in John Carter. The only reason Disney was willing to spend so much was because they were hoping to create a new companion for the five franchises being dragged back to theaters for sequels every year.

    Anyway, on topic, The Avengers will likely make a lot of money regardless of its quality because it has something that John Carter didn't: A audience excited at the very idea of the movie. Odds are it will be another Michael Bay movie (the current trailer looks like they just digitally replaced a Transformer with the Incredible Hulk) but maybe it will transcend

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex S. View Post
    I'd turn that around, considering my view of the movie, and ask "why wouldn't a director with substantial acclaim tackling an ambitious project take a greater beating than a no-name director tackling forgettable kids' fluff if that acclaimed director does a surprisingly poor job?"

    Of course, I might also argue that "Conan the Barbarian with super powers" isn't all that ambitious a project.
    Is John Carter up to par with the likes of Finding Nemo and WALL•E? No. But in my opinion, and the opinions of most others (based on user feedback from sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes) It was a solid movie that was well directed, with a script that was bogged down with a lot of exposition. However, opinions are irrelevant on this point because I was referring to the beating that both John Carter and Andrew Stanton were taking months prior to the movie even being finished.

    As for ambition, this movie has been in a state of development hell for the better part of 80 years. If 80 years worth of filmmakers have tried and failed to bring it to the screen I'd say that makes it an ambitious project all on its own. Whether or not you think it is good does not discredit the ambition that the project took to realize.

    We're talking about Hollywood accounting, the numbers always lie.
    True, but based on the official numbers, which is all any of us really have to go off of, the statements made by these publications are way off base.

    I'd like to actively discourage it if the result is John Carter. I have tons of respect for Andrew Stanton, but he made a Michael Bay movie, and Michael Bay movies should be discouraged. I hope he wasn't trying to make a Michael Bay movie but he did. Is it fair that he made a Michael Bay movie but didn't get to make Michael Bay money? No, that's not fair.
    I think you and I have a fundamentally different opinion on what makes Michael Bay movies lousy. For me, the reason Michael Bay movies aren't worth mentioning is because they are shallow, pandering, and abandon storytelling and character development in favor of sex jokes, explosions, and boobs. He treats the audience like dribbling idiots and just shove copious amounts of candy colored images into every frame to make people go "oooooh." John Carter, on the other hand, was not pandering or shallow, it introduced audiences to this new world with a complex history and lore and led them through it without holding their hands. It did have big action spectacle, but it was all in service of the story and characters, not just long, dragged out, overblown scenes of mindless action that interrupts what little story is present in a Michael Bay film. You may not have liked John Carter, but it was made by someone who cares about story and characters and knows how to tie all the elements in to service the narrative. Whether you liked that narrative or not is beside the point.

    I really am curious as to what big idea you see in John Carter. The only reason Disney was willing to spend so much was because they were hoping to create a new companion for the five franchises being dragged back to theaters for sequels every year.

    Anyway, on topic, The Avengers will likely make a lot of money regardless of its quality because it has something that John Carter didn't: A audience excited at the very idea of the movie. Odds are it will be another Michael Bay movie (the current trailer looks like they just digitally replaced a Transformer with the Incredible Hulk) but maybe it will transcend
    The big idea is tackling one of oldest and most defining works of science fiction in a way that was worthy of its legacy. To bring a project that 80 years of filmmakers had been unsuccessful at realizing to the big screen. Again, whether you feel it achieved that goal is irrelevant, it was an ambitious project.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    Is John Carter up to par with the likes of Finding Nemo and WALL•E? No. But in my opinion, and the opinions of most others (based on user feedback from sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes).
    Light years from Finding Nemo and Wall-E, but I had hopes that some of the achievement of those would creep into John Carter.

    And based on user feedback from sites like Rotten Tomatoes, John Carter is not as good a movie as such Michael Bay classics as Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Island, Bad Boys II, Pearl Harbor, and Armageddon.


    However, opinions are irrelevant on this point because I was referring to the beating that both John Carter and Andrew Stanton were taking months prior to the movie even being finished.
    But still, that press narrative is hardly unique among massive budget movies. So why did John Carter fail when others succeeded?

    As for ambition, this movie has been in a state of development hell for the better part of 80 years. If 80 years worth of filmmakers have tried and failed to bring it to the screen I'd say that makes it an ambitious project all on its own. Whether or not you think it is good does not discredit the ambition that the project took to realize.
    Oh, well, if ambition is just making a big thing that other people didn't then I can grant that. I view it as more transcending the material.


    True, but based on the official numbers, which is all any of us really have to go off of, the statements made by these publications are way off base.
    And by official numbers the movie is going to cost Disney shareholders $200 million.

    [quote]I think you and I have a fundamentally different opinion on what makes Michael Bay movies lousy. [quote]

    No, we are in agreement on that. We are disagreeing on whether John Carter was anything more than that. I have no doubt that Andrew Stanton attempted to make something better than a Michael Bay movie, I just think he failed.

    You may not have liked John Carter, but it was made by someone who cares about story and characters and knows how to tie all the elements in to service the narrative. Whether you liked that narrative or not is beside the point.
    I have no problem with the narrative. I also agree that it was made by someone who cares about character and story. That's why it was disappointing that he failed, in my opinion, to do much that was interesting in either of those regards.

    But this is all subjective stuff. I'll grant you that the headline should just be "John Carter loses metric boatloads of cash for Disney" instead of "John Carter loses more money for Disney than any other movie ever in the history of history."

    Again, whether you feel it achieved that goal is irrelevant, it was an ambitious project.
    Again, I take that as a very limited definition of "ambitious," putting it in a realm where I don't really care if it is achieved. Simply doing something that others have failed to do isn't all that noteworthy if in doing it, you don't do anything interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IllusionOfLife View Post
    As for ambition, this movie has been in a state of development hell for the better part of 80 years. If 80 years worth of filmmakers have tried and failed to bring it to the screen I'd say that makes it an ambitious project all on its own.
    Sometimes, it just means that an idea is better off not being brought to the screen.

    I wonder how many of those 80 years was spent not having the technology to do what the random filmmakers wanted to do, because in that case, those years don't count.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dban3 View Post
    Its not that way anymore. DVD sales over the last 2 years or so have fallen way, way, off with a struggling economy and the advent of cheaper ways to get movies into home whether that is streaming or the RedBox kiosk concept. If you look at your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart. the actual floorspace consumed by DVDs (and Blu-Rays) for sale has shrunk considerably.
    I didn't say there was a lot of money to make in physical media. There are other folks on this board who can speak better on this but as I understand it (perhaps from another thread on this site even), the studios aim to recoup (at least most of) their investment on tie-ins and domestic reciepts. Then foreign, broadcast, and home sales (OnDemand, Digital download, and DVD) are then mostly profit (using real math, not studio math where the landscaping budget gets thrown into the ledger). I don't mean to imply that they're releasing films solely on the hopes of getting my mom to buy a VHS tape.

  19. #18
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    Bob Iger personally moved the Walt Disney Company to acquire Marvel for 4 billion dollars. As a smart business man, he knew he could recoup his investment and turn a tidy profit in a relatively short time and he's doing just that with at least 6 Marvel movies (not including The Avengers) in various stages of production and pre-production, the Marvel featured Disney Xd cable channel, and the various other assortment of Marvel digital and printed media. To Alex's point, The Avengers will succeed because the audience is already on board. This is about business, not art.

    The Hollywood power brokers and insiders can throw themselves a party on Oscar night celebrating artistic movies that most people will never see (with the exception it seems almost anything James Cameron makes for some reason). The rest of year its about making movies that puts rear ends in the seats. Stockholders care little about awards for artistic merit, they like to see their $40 stocks go to $50. That takes an audience. Michael Bay movies are junk food movies for the masses and they make money for Universal because the audience is, like the Marvel world, already on board. They know what they are going to get - two hours of entertainment and things blowing up and they are perfectly fine with that. I don't blame them a bit for spending their hard earn money anyway they see fit. And here is something else to consider, Michael Bay movies employ large amount of people for long periods of time. That is good for the movie industry as a whole. Many people who work in the film industry are not studio employees with lifetime careers and benefits. They work as independent contractors moving from job to job marketing their services to filmmakers and producers. It can be a tough life sometimes when, as often happens in Hollywood, opportunities that look like sure things often fall through the cracks. If Universal contracts Michael Bay to produce 3 more Transformer movies, a large group of technical and non-technical craftsmen just got steady paychecks for the next 6 - 8 years. Good for them, good for their spouses and families as well.

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    Wow! As a simple moviegoer with far less insight into the business world behind it as some of our active posters here, this thread has been fascinating, entertaining, and educational for me. My personal opinions fit somewhere in the middle on the issue of John Carter itself.

    I had never heard of the character or book before, and didn't know that it invented many of the base characteristics of science fiction, and was the inspiration for many of the genre's more famous authors. I love most things Disney, but the marketing for JC left me feeling lackluster about it. But when all the negative press kicked in I did feel a certain unfairness was present. For that as much as anything else I decided to go see the movie a few weeks ago.

    It was actually pretty darn good, and an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. I tend to like movies that are entertaining and not too heavy, but that have well-developed characters and a good moral story (not preachy, but that reward things like honesty, hard work, etc.--the classic Disney formula). John Carter fit the bill. Neat effects, a nice combination of action and romance, and a story that kept moving the whole time so that I never got bored.

    Now here's where I'm going to polarize those of you masochistic enough to have this thread this far. The other movie that comes to mind that I enjoyed similarly but that got similarly lambasted by the critics and audiences (for the most part) was Pearl Harbor. I actually really liked the special effects, the combination of action and romance, and the story that culminated with the good guys winning against all odds.

    It does bother me that the movie-going public seems to blindly attend every Transformers, Hangover, superhero-of-the-day movie and reward that mindless entertainment mindset in Hollywood. That's why I love it when a movie (Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) gives far more than that and is then rewarded with huge box-office take.

    I'll share more thoughts later. For now, dinner is ready!

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  21. #20
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    The Hangover movies, GAG!!

    I am looking forward to Avengers.

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    I did not know anything about the book, etc. We went to see John Carter because it was Disney...although I thought it was a weird title. That, more than anything threw me off of wanting to see it (but the fact that it was a Disney movie outweighed the name, for me). Saw it with hubby and son....we were all entertained and thought it was a pretty good (not great) movie. Not sure we have the highest standards, but still....

    Even though the name was from the book, I think they could have changed it or added to it or something. Maybe would have been more appealing with a different name...it didn't seem to have a high degree of recognition for the general public anyway. It just isn't the type of title that we are used to hearing/seeing and I wonder if people tuned it out for that reason?

    Of course, the critics didn't help. I don't usually worry about some bad critic reviews (they don't seem to line up with my opinions, in general), but do have second thoughts if a movie is just totally trashed.

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    So long before a ticket was sold, The Avengers pocketed over $100,000,000 from corporate partners (the most visible one being the cans of diet Dr. Pepper in my refrigerator tattooed with Avenger superheros). And Disney/Marvel opened the movie this weekend in several countries ahead of the official US opening on Friday that seems to have picked up a little over $175,000,000 in foreign ticket sales. This is how its supposed to be done. This is marketing. This is why the Marvel Studios creative team under helm of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is flying into May and while the Disney Studios team under the former helm of the fired Rich Ross hung by the John Carter albatross have a lot of work to do. It is also why Kevin Feige is frequently mentioned to be on the short list of candidates to take over all of Disney Studios. It all starts by being able to read the public tea leaves and give people movies they are willing to pay their hard earned money to see.

    Last edited by dban3; 04-29-2012 at 09:10 AM.
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    dban, I have to ask. Do you have (pardon the expression) a dog in this fight? I may be reading too much into it, but you seem to have an abnormally elevated interest in the success or failure of John Carter. While it was certainly atrocious in the case of John Carter, you may be the only person who believes that you can compare the marketing of the two films.


  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohthatjeff View Post
    dban, I have to ask. Do you have (pardon the expression) a dog in this fight? I may be reading too much into it, but you seem to have an abnormally elevated interest in the success or failure of John Carter. While it was certainly atrocious in the case of John Carter, you may be the only person who believes that you can compare the marketing of the two films.
    For me, it's a fascinating study in contrast. Both films were made under the Disney banner and trotted out at the last D23 Expo. They were made on about the same budget - John Carter, 250 million - The Avengers, about 220 million. John Carter was made by Disney Studios, The Avengers was made by Marvel Studios, a wholly owned Disney subsidiary. Why was one almost seemingly doomed to failure from the get-go, the other is already on a record breaking pace overseas and hasn't even opened in the US? One picture seemed to be wrapped in one bad decision after another, the other seems to be just the opposite - a smartly run operation run by Marvel, a company known to get value out of a dollar almost to a fault. One cost the head of the Walt Disney studios his job, the other movie is produced by someone who may take his place if he seems to want it (which is debatable as the question seems to be why would you want to be saddled with Walt Disney Studios when you can pretty much call your own shots at Marvel).

    It's a study in business, a study in marketing, a study in reading the your audience. The Avengers and all Marvel productions that are well made are primed with an audience willing to pay their hard earned money to escape. John Carter was based on a hundred year old book, while being a classic, had limited appeal. Why did it cost so blasted much money?

    To be fair. I questioned why Disney made TRON: Legacy as well. Another strange decision. Walt Disney Studios seems to be a rudderless ship held together by a little guy named Johnny Depp right now. Some point to the fact that things may be on the right track since Walt Disney Studios falls under John Lasseter's creative umbrella, the same John Lasseter that is given directors credit for the obscenely lazy Cars 2 effort

    Bob Iger needs to get a personal grip on his Studios division. He needs to get a man (or woman) in there who knows the history and legacy of Disney films, knows how to read current market trends and can see into the future a little bit, can fiscally drop the hammer when it needs to be, and is a bit of a Hollywood insider who has connections and can call out favors with a handshake and a smile. Tough, very tough shoes to fill.

    Yes, part of me wanted to see John Carter fail because the people who continually said yes to this project came across as being arrogantly "the smartest guys in the room" including the acclaimed director. John Carter needed to fail to bring about change. Iger is about to address that shortly. The sad thing about movies is things are already a couple years into the pipeline. Wreck-It-Ralph due later this year will probably do OK but probably not beyond that. Frankenweenie may be too much of a stretch for a main stream audience. Until Walt Disney Studios gains some direction, the real power of Disney movies comes from Pixar in Emeryville and Marvel in Manhattan Beach. All that comes out of Burbank and Glendale is a lot of head scratching.

    Climbing back down off my soapbox and into my closet now.

    Oh... and I like to needle my Disney friends when Marvel succeeds and a Disney project slips on a banana peel.
    Last edited by dban3; 04-30-2012 at 08:13 PM.
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  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dban3 View Post
    Bob Iger needs to get a personal grip on his Studios division. He needs to get a man (or woman) in there who knows the history and legacy of Disney films, knows how to read current market trends and can see into the future a little bit, can fiscally drop the hammer when it needs to be, and is a bit of a Hollywood insider who has connections and can call out favors with a handshake and a smile. Tough, very tough shoes to fill.
    I like your use of the term "ruderless" but I wonder if the marketting for John Carter wasn't the result of someone dropping the hammer. The executives may have seen that John Carter was a bad deal and decided not to throw good money after bad. Mind you, the limited marketing they did do was pretty bad, but I wouldn't be suprised if they didn't just spend the contract's minimum. I still wouldn't compare the two films (unless I missed the five sucessful films that set up John Carter).

    It's still a struggling economy and studios are going to throw their money where they get the most likely to see a return on investment. So that means Finding Nemo 4, Johnny Depp playing an eccentric charactera with goofy outfits and a horrible accent, Super Obscure Marvel Guy, and UHF 2. (Okay, that last one was just wishful thinking.)

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