Disney’s Rights to John Carter Revert Back to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

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After the monumental failure of 2012’s John Carter, which led to huge losses and the ouster of Walt Disney Studios head Rich Ross, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. has announced that the movie, television and merchandise rights have reverted back to their company, with plans to entice a new studio to adapt the author’s “Mars” cycle.

This is odd news, especially given that the rights to many of Burroughs’ earliest works, including “A Princess of Mars” and “Warlord of Mars,” are in the public domain in the US, though not in certain countries. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. previously tried to sue Dynamite Comics over their publication of John Carter comic books in countries where the trademark still stands, though it was settled earlier this year. There is nothing to prevent direct-to-DVD knockoffs of John Carter, as low-rent studio The Asylum made in 2009 with Princess of Mars, starring Antonio Sabato Jr. and Traci Lords.

Hence, there is nothing to stop ANY studio from making a John Carter movie–even one with star Taylor Kitsch if they were feeling particularly kamikaze–yet having Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.’s approval will give any production entity worldwide coverage. If there is any demand for a reboot of the property–which did gross over $284-million worldwide–it will likely be on a reduced budget and without the 2012 film’s director, Andrew Stanton. The company has faith that there are still many fans around the globe who want to see Carter ride his eight-legged thoat into the sun in cinematic triumph

“‘John Carter of Mars’ was the creative stimulus behind such movie classics as ‘Superman,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Avatar,'” said ERB President James Sullos. “Edgar Rice Burroughs was the Master of Adventure and his literary works continue to enjoy a world-wide following. We will be seeking a new partner to help develop new adventures on film as chronicled in the eleven ‘Mars’ novels Burroughs wrote. This adventure never stops. Along with a new ‘Tarzan’ film in development by Warner Bros., we hope to have ‘John Carter of Mars’ become another major franchise to entertain world-wide audiences of all ages.”