I have to say, I’m getting pretty excited to see John Carter tomorrow night. In the piece I wrote yesterday regarding its marketing there were a few aspects of the marketing conundrum and budgetary mumbo-jumbo I didn’t touch upon. One being the film’s director, Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E), who has proven himself as an excellent storyteller and the other is to consider why Disney has had such a hard time marketing the movie in the first place.
How many times have you seen a movie and realized there simply is just no way to really market it to general audiences? Instances where the film and story are simply outside the scope of today’s traditional marketing schemes or what is normally bankable just… isn’t.
Look at Drive for example. There’s a great film that FilmDistrict essentially had to spoil to get audiences into the theater and as a result they marketed a movie that looked more like a Fast and the Furious entry than what it really was. Films such as The American and Haywire have caused studios fits in their attempt to market them to the point they had to betray the true nature of those films just to encourage people to get into theaters.
I mention this because my assumption is that John Carter is likely to be another one of those films, one that’s impossible to market — primarily for all the reasons people are complaining. The one thing that’s missing from the trailers is the story, but considering Stanton has proven himself to be a great storyteller, shouldn’t we assume there’s potentially a great story being told?
To this point, studios have shot themselves in the foot with the way they’ve used a director’s past achievements to sell their latest film. Clearly that won’t work here because it’s not as if you can sell general audiences John Carter with “From the director of WALL-E and Finding Nemo.” Most people will be confused, thinking to themselves, But wait, that’s not animation. Where’s the fish and robot?
I don’t think Paramount even used “From the director of The Incredibles” to sell Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but you better damn well believe if Brad Bird makes another action film “From the director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” will be on that film’s trailer.
Unfortunately, “From the director of WALL-E and Finding Nemo” doesn’t simply translate to “from a great storyteller”. So if you can’t use the director in your favor you normally turn to your star, in this case, Taylor Kitsch… whom no one outside of “Friday Night Lights” and die-hard X-Men Origins: Wolverine fans are familiar with. So what’s left? Edgar Rice Burroughs? Come on, that’s not going to cut it either.
All that’s left are special effects with a little bit of room for story, and the trailers may simply be having a hard time presenting that story inside a trailer that is also meant to appeal to the whiz-bang crowd that’s more interested in things blowing up from their $250 million blockbusters than actual story. Am I right? Wrong? Off my rocker? Thoughts?
By the way, a Twitter follower shot this to me earlier today:
I saw JOHN CARTER last thursday, and believe me! It was in no way Waterworld, it was exactly how a sci-fi epic should be made
Only thing I have to say to that, is that I wasn’t comparing the movie itself to Waterworld in my piece, only the naive journalism jumping on the budgetary talk. Other than that, I’m glad to hear it and can’t wait to see it.
Have a look at this final trailer below as we make way toward its release next Friday, March 9, and tell me if it increases your interest or not.