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'John Carter' & Eddie Murphy Bomb

John Carter Mars Taylor Kitsch Lynn Collins
Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, John Carter

March 20, '12, update: Disney has announced that John Carter's disappointing box office returns means the Andrew Stanton-directed sci-fier / actioner will lose $200 million this quarter. The studio's total operating loss is estimated to range between $80 and $120 million.

John Carter has been a downright flop in North America, where it has grossed only $53.22 million after ten days. Overseas, however, despite stories to the contrary, the film is performing well, having collected an estimated $126.1 million to date. Had John Carter cost $100 million, all would been (reasonably) well. But with a reported price tag of $250 million, plus another estimated $100 million or so in marketing / distribution expenses, John Carter would need to earn about $700 million to recover its cost at the worldwide box office.

Disney will likely fare much better with the upcoming The Avengers, starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner as various Marvel superheroes, and the Pixar production Brave, featuring the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, and others.

John Carter features Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, and Willem Dafoe. Kitsch may have better luck this summer with another mega-production, Peter Berg's Battleship.

Next, Andrew Stanton, best known for the Oscar-winning animated feature WALL-E, will be credited for the characters found in Monsters University, which comes out in 2013. Stanton has no future directorial projects listed on the IMDb, though John Carter: Gods of Mars is listed as being “in development.”

In February, when asked about Gods of Mars, Stanton told Ain't It Cool:

Yeah, well I mean if we go that way it's going to be a huge movie again and you can't get started early enough. Nobody has ever made a promise to me, but nobody has ever also led me on, it's been a very honest discussion from day one with Disney of like “Look, this may work. This may not work and if it works then we will go for another one. If it doesn't we won't,” but I always need as much prep time as I can to get stuff right and I'm talking about the story. You can never be working on the story long enough. You need as much time as you can get, so if this ends up going on the shelf as a script I still consider it pretty damn good practice and we will be ready if we ever do go to it again.

Considering the box office performance of the first John Carter, chances are Disney won't be all that willing to spend money on a sequel. Last year, Disney lost about $70 million as a result of another costly Martian flick, the Robert Zemeckis-produced Mars Needs Moms.

Taylor Kitsch / Lynn Collins / John Carter image: Disney Enterprises.

March 18

John Carter movie Taylor Kitsch
John Carter movie: Taylor Kitsch and pal

John Carter has definitely flopped in North America, where the Disney release has collected only $13.51 million this weekend, March 16-18 – down an alarming 55 percent from a week ago according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Directed by WALL-E's Andrew Stanton and featuring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, and Willem Dafoe, John Carter's North American gross currently stands at $53.17 million. The sci-fier / adventure / fantasy reportedly cost an astronomical $250 million, in addition to an estimated $100 million in marketing and distribution expenses in North America alone.

That's the bad news. In fact, the really, really bad news for a studio that last year had to cope with a box office disaster named Mars Needs Moms. Perhaps Disney should stay forever away from any more Mars-set adventures – even if the studio chooses to drop the planet's name from their films' titles, as was the case with John Carter.

Now, the good news is that overseas John Carter has been performing quite well. Though down 40 percent from last weekend, Stanton's film topped the international box office with an estimated $40.7 million in 54 territories according to The Hollywood Reporter. John Carter's international cume to date is $126.1 million, thus lifting its worldwide total to a not-unimpressive $179.27 million after about ten days.

Now, remember: Disney will get only about 50-55 percent of the film's grosses in the United and Canada, and about 40 percent of the grosses elsewhere. For the time being, that roughly translates into approximately $75 million for a studio that has spent – if reports are accurate – at least $350 million on John Carter.

Taylor Kitsch / John Carter photos: Disney Enterprises.

Taylor Kitsch John Carter Barsoom
Taylor Kitsch, John Carter

March 11, '12, update: Including $500,000 from Thursday midnight screenings and with admission prices inflated by 3D/IMAX showings, Disney's John Carter collected a slightly better than expected $30.6 million this weekend (March 9-11), while trailing the animated Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, according to studio estimates. At 3,749 theaters, including 2,614 3D screens and 290 IMAX locations, Andrew Stanton's live-action feature debut averaged a mediocre – for a costly 3D film with blockbuster pretensions – $8,163 per site.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 17 percent of the film's business came from the IMAX theaters and 66 percent from IMAX/3D showings. In other words, overall ticket sales weren't all that hot, as John Carter's weekend figure was heavily inflated by costlier – ranging from 25-40 percent – admissions prices.

As mentioned in my previous John Carter article, a year ago Disney released the Robert Zemeckis-produced, Simon Wells-directed animated feature Mars Needs Moms. The animated sci-fier took in a disastrous $6.8 million on its first weekend out, which is way lower than John Carter's gross – but remember that whereas Mars Needs Moms cost a reported $150 million, John Carter is supposed to have cost $250 million. And bear in mind that marketing and distribution expenses could easily have added another $100 million to that amount, though official figures haven't been made available. And finally, don't forget that studios collect only about 50-55 percent of a film's domestic gross; and about 40 percent from abroad.

John Carter is and will remain a much weaker performer than either James Cameron's Avatar or George Lucas' similarly-themed Star Wars, so comparisons are pointless there. However, John Carter looks pretty bad even when compared to other March action movies such as Zack Snyder's 300 (2007) and Watchmen (2009), which, without the 3D ticket-price boost (and without adjusting for inflation), took in $70.88 million and $55.21 million, respectively, on their first weekend out. Their per-theater averages were, respectively, $22,844 and $15,291.

Additionally, John Carter is trailing Tarsem Singh / Henry Cavill's Immortals' $32.2 million, Louis Leterrier / Sam Worthington's Clash of the Titans' $61.3 million, and Roland Emmerich's March '08 release 10,000 B.C.'s $35.86 million.

Disney is surely hoping that John Carter will follow on the footsteps of another domestic box office disappointment, the Mike Newell-directed period adventure Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which debuted in late May 2010 to tepid business in North America – $30.09 million on its opening weekend – while building a strong following overseas. Eventually, the $200 million-budgeted Prince of Persia, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton, ended up collecting only $90.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, but $244.3 million abroad.

So far, things look promising for John Carter in some countries. It had what's supposed to be “the best ever” opening day in Russia, collecting a estimated $17 million to date. The film's total take in 55 countries, including France, Brazil, South Korea, and Mexico, was an estimated $70.9 million.

Comparisons to Prince of Persia's initial performance overseas are impossible to make because the Jake Gyllenhaal movie opened in only 19 territories in late May 2010, grossing $18 million. After 13 days – and the addition of numerous countries – the film had scored $97.7 million abroad.

The John Carter cast includes Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara, Thomas Haden Church, and several furry creatures. WALL-E's Andrew Stanton co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon. John Carter has a poor 35 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Taylor Kitsch / John Carter photo: Disney Enterprises.

Eddie Murphy A Thousand Words flop
Eddie Murphy, A Thousand Words

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which received about as many bad reviews as the Andrew Stanton / Taylor Kitsch sci-fier John Carter, easily maintained its position at the top of the North American box office this weekend, March 9-11. The Lorax took in $39.1 million (down 44 percent from last weekend), according to studio estimates. Domestic total: $121.95 million. Budget: $70 million.

As mentioned in my previous article (see link above), John Carter was no. 2 with $30.4 million. At no. 3, the widely panned low-budget flick Project X added $11.55 million (down 45 percent). Domestic total: $40.12 million. Budget: $12 million.

Starring Martha Marcy May Marlene actress Elizabeth Olsen, Silent House opened with $7.01 million at 2,124 locations, for a mediocre $3,300 per-theater average. It gets worse: the Laura Lau / Chris Kentis-directed horror flick received an F rating from movie audiences. The silver lining: It reportedly cost less than $1 million, though it's unclear how much distributor Open Road Films spent on marketing.

At no. 5, the flag-waving Act of Valor drew $7 million, for a cume of $56.1 million after three weekends. According to Deadline.com, the film was acquired for $13 million by Relativity Media, which committed to spend another $30 million marketing/distributing it.

The no. 6 movie was the latest Eddie Murphy box office disaster, A Thousand Words. Murphy was to have hosted the 2012 Oscar ceremony, but dropped out show producer Brett Ratner was fired/resigned following his use of an anti-gay slur and comments about sex with Lindsay Lohan.

As mentioned in my previous article on A Thousand Words, no one can know for sure if the box office take of the $40 million-budgeted ($70 million according to some sources) DreamWorks / Paramount release would have been higher had Murphy kept his Oscar gig. But one thing is certain: it wouldn't have been much lower than its $6.35 million at 1,890 locations. As for its approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, it couldn't be any lower, period: 0 percent. Directed by Brian Robbins, the comedy (actually shot in 2008) co-stars Kerry Washington.

And don't expect the international market to rescue A Thousand Words, as Murphy's movies almost invariably perform much better in the United States than elsewhere.

“Performing better,” however, doesn't mean “performing well.” No less than two Eddie Murphy movies are among the five worst super-saturated releases (3,000+ theaters) ever in North America: Brian Robbins' Meet Dave, co-starring Elizabeth Banks, and Karey Kirkpatrick's Imagine That. Meet Dave earned $5.25 million in July 2008; Imagine That grossed $5.5 million in June 2009. Both movies ended their run way below $20 million. A Thousand Words will undoubtedly follow that same path.

Apart from the Shrek movies, Murphy's last major domestic hit ($100m+ in 2012 dollars) was another Brian Robbins-directed comedy, Norbit, which earned $95.67 million in 2007, or about $110 million today. Murphy's last domestic blockbuster ($200m+ in 2012 dollars) was Doctor Dolittle, which grossed $144.15 million in 1998, or about $245 million today.

Curiously, Murphy could do no wrong in the '80s and early '90s: his string of hits, all of them for Paramount, included his biggest box office success, Beverly Hills Cop (1984), in addition to 48 Hrs., Coming to America, Trading Places, The Golden Child, and Boomerang. Poor reviews for some of those movies didn't matter; audiences flocked to watch his antics – no matter how unfunny.

But from the mid-'90s on, Murphy's box office record became wildly erratic. He has had a handful of major hits (Doctor Dolittle, The Nutty Professor) and several solid performers (Dreamgirls, Norbit), but also numerous disappointments (Showtime, I Spy, Bowfinger, Life, Tower Heist) and more than a few downright bombs (Holy Man, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Imagine That, Meet Dave, A Thousand Words).

The aforementioned Tower Heist, directed by Brett Ratner and co-starring Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidibe, and others, underperformed last year, grossing $78 million in North America and $74.8 million abroad.

Rounding out the top twelve movies in North America this weekend were:

  • Ryan Reynolds / Denzel Washington's Safe House with $5 million (down 32 percent);
  • Rachel McAdams / Channing Tatum's The Vow with $4 million (down 34 percent);
  • Reese Witherspoon / Chris Pine / Tom Hardy's This Means War with $3.75 million (down 33 percent);
  • Josh Hutcherson / Dwayne Johnson / Vanessa Hudgens' Journey 2: The Mysterious Island with $3.68 million (down 44 percent);
  • Tyler Perry's Good Deeds' $3 million (down 57 percent);
  • Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist, starring Best Actor Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, with $2.3 million (down 37 percent).

A Thousand Words photo: Bruce McBroom / DW Studios.

March 10

Taylor Kitsch Lynn Collins John Carter
Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, John Carter

What Disney doesn't need is another Mars Needs Moms box office disaster. Though not quite as cataclysmic, that's what they're getting with John Carter – at least in North America.

Including $500,000 from Thursday midnight screenings, and with admission prices inflated by 3D/IMAX showings, Andrew Stanton's live-action feature debut collected an estimated $9.81 million on Friday, as per studio figures. At 3,749 locations (including 290 IMAX theaters), John Carter averaged a mediocre – especially for a 3D film – $2,619 per site.

A year ago, the Robert Zemeckis-produced, Simon Wells-directed Mars Needs Moms took in $6.8 million on its first weekend out. That's way lower than John Carter's expected $28 million – but bear in mind that whereas Mars Needs Moms cost a reported $150 million, John Carter is supposed to have cost $250 million. See the difference? And that doesn't include what Disney has spent pushing their two megabudgeted sci-fiers.

Comparing John Carter to, say, James Cameron's Avatar or George Lucas' similarly-themed Star Wars would be cruel. But John Carter looks pretty bad even when compared to other March actioners such as Zack Snyder's 300 (2007) and Watchmen (2009), which, even without the ticket-price 3D boost (or without adjusting for inflation), took in $28.1 million and $24.5 million, respectively, on their first day.

Disney's hope is surely that John Carter will follow on the footsteps of another domestic box office disappointment, the Mike Newell-directed period actioner Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which debuted in late May 2010 to tepid business in North America – $10.2 million on opening day – while building a strong following overseas. Thus, the $200 million-budgeted Prince of Persia ended up collecting only $90.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, but $244.3 million abroad. So far, things look promising for John Carter in Russia and East Asia, but less so in Western Europe. (Curiously, in the John Carter photo above, Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins resemble Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton in The Prince of Persia.)

In addition to Kitsch and Collins, the John Carter cast includes Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara, Thomas Haden Church, and several furry, cuddly creatures. Stanton co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon.

Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, John Carter photo: Disney Enterprises.

Eddie Murphy A Thousand Words Cliff Curtis
Cliff Curtis, Eddie Murphy, A Thousand Words

Eddie Murphy was to have hosted the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony, but dropped out after one of the show's producers, Brett Ratner, was fired (or resigned) following his use of an anti-gay slur and his comments about sex with Lindsay Lohan. Of course, no one can know for sure if the box office take of the $40 million-budgeted DreamWorks/Paramount release A Thousand Words would have been higher had Murphy kept his Oscar gig. But one thing is certain: it couldn't have been any lower. Nor could its approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes: 0 percent.

Murphy, who'll turn 51 next April 3, has had a string of box office disappointments – in some instances downright disasters – in recent years. A Thousand Words, which was actually shot in 2008, is his latest. The Brian Robbins-directed comedy co-starring Kerry Washington scored a paltry $1.92 million at 1,890 North American locations on Friday, according to studio estimates. It's expected to gross between $6-$7 million for the weekend. And don't expect the international market to come to the rescue, as Murphy's movies perform much better in the United States than elsewhere.

Even so, no less than two Eddie Murphy movies are among the five worst super-saturated releases (3,000+ theaters) ever in North America: Meet Dave, co-starring Elizabeth Banks, and Imagine That. Meet Dave took in $5.25 million in July 2008; Imagine That earned $5.5 million in June 2009.

Additionally, the Brett Ratner-directed Tower Heist, co-starring Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidibe, and others, underperformed last year, grossing $78 million in North America and $74.8 million abroad.

Apart from the Shrek movies, Murphy's last major domestic hit ($100m+ in 2012 dollars) was the 2007 comedy Norbit, which earned $95.67 million, or about $110 million today. Murphy's last domestic blockbuster ($200m+ in 2012 dollars) was Doctor Dolittle, which grossed $144.15 million in 1998, or about $245 million today.

Ironically, Murphy could do no wrong in the '80s and early '90s: his string of hits, all of them for Paramount, included his biggest box office success, Beverly Hills Cop (1984), in addition to 48 Hrs., Coming to America, Trading Places, The Golden Child, and Boomerang.

But from the mid-'90s on, his box office chart has consisted of a mix of major hits (Doctor Dolittle, The Nutty Professor), solid performers (Dreamgirls, Norbit), disappointments (Showtime, I Spy, Bowfinger, Life), and major bombs (Holy Man, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Imagine That, Meet Dave, A Thousand Words).

Eddie Murphy / Cliff Curtis / A Thousand Words photo: Bruce McBroom / DW Studios.

March 9, '12, p.m.

John Carter movie Taylor Kitsch monster
John Carter movie: Taylor Kitsch & pal

John Carter earned a relatively meager $500,000 at Thursday midnight screenings in the United States despite recent ads comparing it to George Lucas' Star Wars and James Cameron's Avatar. In France, it had the sixth biggest opening day of the year, smack between the Clint Eastwood / Leonardo DiCaprio biopic J. Edgar and the Josh Hutcherson / Dwayne Johnson / Vanessa Hudgens fantasy/adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. And earlier today, Deadline.com reported that John Carter looks poised to collect only $9.5-$11 million at 3,749 North American locations, including 290 IMAX houses, on Friday, and at most (a 3D/IMAX-inflated) $33 million for the weekend.

Directed by Andrew Stanton and starring Taylor Kitsch in the title role, John Carter cost Disney a reported $250 million. Not to mention millions more spent on marketing. In other words: Disney may have in its hands another box office cataclysm not unlike last year's Mars Needs Moms.

The good news: as per the studio, John Carter earned $6.5 million on opening day in Russia. That's supposed to be the best ever debut in that country. Also, Disney is probably rooting for John Carter to turn out to be (at the very least) like the Jake Gyllenhaal vehicle Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which had a disappointing opening in North America, but ended up performing quite well abroad. It remains to be seen whether most international moviegoers will be as enthusiastic as the Russians or as blasé as the French.

Also in the John Carter cast are Willem Dafoe, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara, and Thomas Haden Church. Stanton co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon.

If John Carter does indeed become a major box office disappointment, it won't be the only one this weekend. The Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words and the horror thriller Silent House are each expected to score only about $10 million at, respectively, 1,890 and 2,124 locations.

Directed by Brian Robbins, A Thousand Words also features Kerry Washington. Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, Silent House stars Martha Marcy May Marlene's Elizabeth Olsen and Adam Trese. Here's wondering if things for A Thousand Words would have been any better had Murphy kept his Oscar ceremony-hosting gig.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax will in all certainty take the no. 1 spot this weekend once again. Estimates hover around the $40-45 million range.

John Carter Willem Dafoe Taylor Kitsch
John Carter: Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas (center), Taylor Kitsch

As reported earlier today, John Carter earned a paltry $500,000 at Thursday midnight screenings in North America despite recent ads comparing the Andrew Stanton sci-fier to George Lucas' Star Wars and James Cameron's Avatar. Things haven't gotten much better since.

As per Deadline.com, John Carter is expected to collect slightly less than $10 million at 3,749 North American locations, including 290 IMAX houses, on Friday. The film's weekend box office take is expected to reach (a 3D/IMAX-inflated) $28 million – or about $5 million less than the maximum amount predicted based on early Friday showings. To say that's bad news for Disney would be a major understatement.

Starring Taylor Kitsch in the title role, John Carter cost Disney a reported $250 million, in addition to millions more spent on marketing. In other words: Disney may have in its hands another box office disaster not unlike last year's Mars Needs Moms. It'll be up to the international market to come to Disney's and John Carter's rescue. Things look promising in Russia; less so in France.

Also in the John Carter cast are Willem Dafoe, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara, and Thomas Haden Church. Stanton co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon.

As mentioned before, if John Carter does indeed become a box office dud, it won't be the only one this weekend. The Eddie Murphy comedy A Thousand Words and the horror thriller Silent House are each expected to score only about $6 million at, respectively, 1,890 and 2,124 locations. That's about $4 million less than weekend estimates released earlier today.

A Thousand Words will thus become another Eddie Murphy bomb, along the lines of Imagine That and Meet Dave. Here's wondering if A Thousand Words would have lured more moviegoers had Murphy kept his Oscar ceremony-hosting gig.

Directed by Brian Robbins, A Thousand Words also features Kerry Washington. Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, Silent House stars Martha Marcy May Marlene's Elizabeth Olsen and Adam Trese.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax will remain at the no. 1 spot this weekend. Estimates hover around $40 million. The no. 3 movie will be the reviled Project X, with an estimated $11.5 million. The flag-waving Act of Valor should also land among the top six.

March 9, '12, early morning

John Carter Mars Movie Taylor Kitsch
Taylor Kitsch in Disney's John Carter Mars Movie

Directed by WALL-E's Andrew Stanton, and starring Taylor Kitsch in the title role, Disney's $250 million-budgeted sci-fi/adventure John Carter opened on Wednesday in France. Though by far the biggest new release that day, John Carter sold a relatively modest 66,583 tickets at 505 sites according to CBO-Box Office – placing it in the sixth slot among the year's top opening-day movies, smack between Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, starring the internationally popular Leonardo DiCaprio, and the 3D adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which stars Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, and Vanessa Hudgens.

According to France Soir, John Carter doesn't have much time to continue its box office dominance among the new releases in France. Opening next Wednesday is Florent-Emilio Siri's Cloclo, starring Jérémie Renier as '60s and '70s singing sensation Claude François and Benoît Magimel as François' manager, Paul Lederman. The biopic, which has already garnered a number of good reviews, is expected to become an early 2012 blockbuster.

At least Disney can console itself with the fact that John Carter fared much better than its French-made (though also infinitely less costly) newly released competition. In fact, John Carter sold nearly as many tickets as the three runners-up combined.

Starring Jean Reno and Michael Youn, Daniel Cohen's Comme un chef / The Chef was a major disappointment, selling only 25,075 tickets at 360 locations. Philippe Lellouche's Nos plus belles vacances (“Our Greatest Vacation”), with Julie Gayet, Gérard Darmon, and Vanessa Demouy, lured 22,099 moviegoers into 241 movie houses, while Xavier Palud's thriller A l'aveugle (“Blindly”), featuring Jacques Gamblin and Lambert Wilson, sold 20,572 tickets at 255 sites.

Also faring modestly was Eric Guirado's Possessions, a socially conscious drama/thriller starring Jérémie Renier, Julie Depardieu, and Jean Dujardin's wife, Alexandra Lamy. Possessions sold 689 tickets at 14 Parisian locations.

John Carter opens in the United States on Friday. For the domestic box office crown, Disney's entry is expected to face tough competition from last weekend's champ, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.

Taylor Kitsch / John Carter photo: Disney Enterprises.

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4 Comments to 'John Carter' & Eddie Murphy Bomb

  1. Brian

    Prince of Persia revisited? On what planet is a film that made $335,000,000 at the international box office a flop? People in this country really need to get over themselves and understand that this country not the center of the universe and hasn't been for some time now. When studios look at profitability thay don't just look at U.S. numbers.

  2. Joe Yuna

    Great movie … a little brainy at the beginning to establish who he is and the Martians; but after that, a outstanding remake of the story as it was intended to be.

    If you are looking for ridiculous weapons that never hurt or kill the hero - forget this movie.

    If you want a cross between Gladiator, Star Wars and Avatar, this is the movie for you.

    It is refreshing to find a movie that goes beyond the mob's bang-bang and wham-smack-dunk fights and Hollywoood trying to look like soldiers by swearing when their actors are liberal whimps.

    This is old fashioned American Hollywood adventure without today's vulgar and just mindless plots of vampires and street punks turned good who never fight for any real cause.

  3. Geoff

    Why the slow/low start? Maybe because 300 and watchmen didn't come out in 3d

    John Carter.

    About 100 years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs imagined the quintessential scifi hero… John Carter. Mysteriously transplanted to Mars (Barsoom), Civil War vetran Carter, (Taylor Kitsch), discovers a planet inhabited by 3 metre tall, green, 4 armed barbarians, in the midst of yet another war. Finding himself a prisoner, he escapes and tries to find his way back to Earth. However, he becomes distracted, after meeting the beautiful princess, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) who has been promised in marriage to Sab Than (Dominic West), the villainous leader of the Zodangans. Only John Carter can save the princess and the planet. Sure enough, the stuff of pulp fiction and Saturday afternoon movie serials.

    As with most things Hollywood these days, we are presented with this in “spectacular” 3D. Which in my view is just a way to bump up admission prices or try to sell a flop as something special. But hey, that's just my opinion. So I went in search of a 2D version to watch, visually unadulterated by technology and me, unencumbered by glasses.

    The basis for John Carter is Burrough's 1912 novel, “A Princess of Mars”. John Carter is a movie that has moments of greatness and heroic imagery. But it falls short of its promise, even though it is rumoured Disney spent $250 million on making it. It's a pity, because the cast are great, the special effects are great, and the Director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E), who also co-wrote the screenplay, does a fine job in bringing the story to life.

    The only problems I have with it, is some of the camerawork, which was obviously set up for… you guessed it… 3D. Kitsch, whom some of you may remember as Gambit in Wolverine is great as John Carter. An Earthman who finds he has “super” powers on Mars due to its lower gravity. Here he's faster and stronger than anyone else. Handy in a fight and also pretty handy when it comes to picking up girls.

    Another former Wolverine escapee is Lynn Collins as the beautiful Princess Dejah. Smart, feisty and handy with a sword. Will she win our hero's heart?

    Mark Strong gets to play the baddy again, this time as the evil Thern leader Matai Shang. A formidable opponent that is not going to be easy to overcome.

    It's a tale of good versus evil, with non-stop action, great concepts brought to life in a a slew of special effects. Remember that the ideas in John Carter came before all the blockbuster scifi movies of the last century. Ships fly, hoards battle, mystery and action abound… and there's those gargantuan white apes.

    This may be the beginning of a new franchaise. I for one say; more power to John Carter. Hell, I even warmed to Woola, I'm sure you will too.

    Can't wait for the bigger and better next episode.

  4. Sunnyforever

    Why not enjoy a good movie from a great book. No huge blood and guts, just pure imagination. The lack thereof keeps some from liking movies that are pure fun.