John Carter

Theatrical release poster

Directed byAndrew Stanton
Screenplay by
Based onA Princess of Mars
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Produced by
CinematographyDan Mindel
Edited byEric Zumbrunnen
Music byMichael Giacchino


Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Release date

  • February 22, 2012 (Los Angeles)
  • March 9, 2012 (United States)

Running time

132 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
  • $306.6 million (gross)[2]
  • $263.7 million (net)[2]
Box office$284.1 million[3]

John Carter is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Andrew Stanton, written by Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon, and based on A Princess of Mars (1912), the first book in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film was produced by Jim Morris, Colin Wilson, and Lindsey Collins. John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch in the title role, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy and Willem Dafoe. The film chronicles the first interplanetary adventure of John Carter and his attempts to mediate civil unrest amongst the warring kingdoms of Barsoom.

Several developments on a theatrical film adaptation of the Barsoom series emerged throughout the 20th century from various major studios and producers, with the earliest attempt dating back to the 1930s. Most of these efforts, however, ultimately stalled in development hell. In the late-2000s, Walt Disney Pictures began a concentrated effort to develop a film adaptation of Burroughs works, after an abandoned venture by the studio in the 1980s. The project was driven by Stanton, who had pressed Disney to renew the screen rights from the Burroughs estate. Stanton became the new films director in 2009. It was his live-action debut, as his previous directorial work for Disney was on the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL-E (2008).[4][5] Filming began in November 2009, with principal photography underway in January 2010, wrapping seven months later in July 2010.[6][7] Michael Giacchino, who composed many Pixar films, composed the films musical score.[8] Like Pixars Brave, the film is dedicated in the memory of Steve Jobs.[9]

John Carter was released in the United States on March 9, 2012, marking the centennial of the titular characters first appearance. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats.[10][11][12] Upon release, John Carter received a mixed critical reception, with praise for its visuals, Giacchinos score, and the action sequences, but criticism toward the characterization and plot. The film flopped at the North American box office, but set an opening-day record in Russia.[13] It grossed $284 million at the worldwide box office, resulting in a $200 million writedown for Disney, becoming one of the biggest box office bombs in history. With a total cost of $350 million, including an estimated production budget of $263 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Due to the films poor box office performance, Disney cancelled plans for a sequel (titled Gods of Mars) and the trilogy Stanton had planned.[14]


In 1881, Edgar Rice Burroughs is summoned by a telegram from his uncle, John Carter, a former American Civil War Confederate Army captain. On arriving, hes told Carter has died suddenly and has been entombed, unembalmed, in his mausoleum which only opens from the inside. Carters lawyer explains Burroughs is to inherit everything and that Carter wanted only Burroughs to read his private journal.

In a flashback to 1868 in the Arizona Territory, Union Colonel Powell arrests Carter. Powell, knowing Carters military background, seeks his help in fighting Apaches. Carter escapes, but fails to get far from the pursuing U.S. cavalry soldiers. Attacked and chased by Apaches, Carter and a wounded Powell hide in a cave which Carter recognises as the object of his search: the ‘Spider Cave of Gold’.

At that moment, a Thern materialises in the cave and, surprised by the two men, attacks Carter with a knife. Carter kills him but accidentally activates the Therns powerful medallion and is transported to a ruined and dying planet, Barsoom. Because of his thicker bone density and the planets low gravity, Carter is able to perform feats of incredible strength and leaps. He is captured by the four-armed Tharks and their Jeddak Tars Tarkas.

Elsewhere on Barsoom, the cities of Helium and Zodanga have warred for a millennia. Sab Than, Jeddak of Zodanga, armed with a special weapon obtained from the Thern leader Matai Shang, plots a ceasefire and an end to the war by marrying the Princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris. The Princess escapes and is later rescued by Carter. They and Tarkass daughter Sola travel to the end of a sacred river to find a way for Carter to get back home. They learn more about the ‘ninth ray’, a source of infinite energy and how the medallion works, but are attacked by Shangs minions, the Green Martians of Warhoon.

The attackers are fought off by Heliums ships, but the price is Dejah reluctantly agreeing to marry Sab Than. She gives Carter the medallion and tells him to return to Earth. But Carter stays and, with Sola, seeks the Tharks help in overthrowing Zodanga. However, Tarkas has been overthrown and an injured Tarkas and Carter are pitted in a coliseum against two Great White Apes. Carter kills the apes and Tarkass usurper and becomes leader of the Tharks.

The Zodangan army double-crosses Helium and invades. The Thark army joins the battle on Heliums side, to their surprise, and they triumph. Sab Than is injured by Carter but killed by the Therns weapon. Shang escapes.

Carter becomes Prince of Helium by marrying Dejah. On their first night, Carter decides to stay on Barsoom and throws away his medallion. Seizing this opportunity, Shang briefly reappears and sends him back to Earth.

Carter embarks on a quest to look for clues of the Therns presence on Earth, hoping to find another medallion. After ten years, an archeological dig on the Orkney Islands makes a key find.

Back in the present, Burroughs reads that Carter has now returned to Barsoom but his body on Earth is under threat from Therns and Burroughs is to be its protector for if its harmed then his Barsoom projection will die. Carter warns Therns may even be attempting this before his nephew has finished reading the journal.

Burroughs runs back to Carters tomb and unlocks the door, having been told hes the key and remembering his uncle called him Ned. As he opens the door and finds it empty, a bowler-hatted Thern, who was observing Carter before his death and is now following Ned, steps forward from the dark to attack. Carter appears and kills the Thern, taking his medallion. Ned realises Carter never found his own medallion, and instead faked his own death to lure a Thern into a deadly trap. Carter confirms this, and Ned agrees to be his protector on Earth. Carter re-enters the tomb, whispers the code, and is projected back to Barsoom.




The film is largely based on A Princess of Mars (1917), the first in a series of 11 novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs to feature the interplanetary hero John Carter (and in later volumes the adventures of his children with Dejah Thoris). The story was originally serialized in six monthly installments (from February through to July 1912) in the pulp magazine The All-Story; those chapters, originally titled Under the Moons of Mars, were then collected as a novel and published in hardcover five years later from A. C. McClurg.

Bob Clampett involvement[edit]


In 1931, Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett approached Edgar Rice Burroughs with the idea of adapting A Princess of Mars into a feature-length animated film. Burroughs responded enthusiastically, recognizing that a regular live-action feature would face various limitations to adapt accurately, so he advised Clampett to write an original animated adventure for John Carter.[15] Working with Burroughs son John Coleman Burroughs in 1935, Clampett used rotoscope and other hand-drawn techniques to capture the action, tracing the motions of an athlete who performed John Carters powerful movements in the reduced Martian gravity, and designed the green-skinned, 4-armed Tharks to give them a believable appearance. He then produced footage of them riding their eight-legged Thoats at a gallop, which had all of their eight legs moving in coordinated motion; he also produced footage of a fleet of rocketships emerging from a Martian volcano. MGM was to release the cartoons, and the studio heads were enthusiastic about the series.[16]

The test footage, produced by 1936,[17] received negative reactions from film exhibitors across the U.S., especially in small towns; many gave their opinion that the concept of an Earthman on Mars was just too outlandish an idea for midwestern American audiences to accept. The series was not given the go-ahead, and Clampett was instead encouraged to produce an animated Tarzan series, an offer that he later declined. Clampett recognized the irony in MGMs decision, as the Flash Gordon movie serial, released in the same year by Universal Studios, was highly successful. He speculated that MGM believed that serials were played only to children during Saturday matinees, whereas the John Carter tales were intended to be seen by adults during the evening. The footage that Clampett produced was believed lost for many years, until Burroughs grandson, Danton Burroughs, in the early 1970s found some of the film tests in the Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. archives.[16] Had A Princess of Mars been released, it might have preceded Walt Disneys Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to become the first American feature-length animated film.[18]

Disney progression[edit]

During the late 1950s, famous stop-motion animation effects director Ray Harryhausen expressed interest in filming the novels, but it was not until the 1980s that producers Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna bought the rights for Walt Disney Studios via Cinergi Pictures, with a view to creating a competitor to Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio were hired to write, while John McTiernan and Tom Cruise were approached to direct and star. The project collapsed because McTiernan realized that visual effects were not yet advanced enough to recreate Burroughs vision of Barsoom. The project remained at Disney, and Jeffrey Katzenberg was a strong proponent of filming the novels, but the rights eventually returned to the Burroughs estate.[18]

Paramount effort[edit]

Producer James Jacks read Harry Knowles autobiography, which lavishly praised the John Carter of Mars series. Having read the Burroughs novels as a child, Jacks was moved to convince Paramount Pictures to acquire the film rights; a bidding war with Columbia Pictures followed. After Paramount and Jacks won the rights, Jacks contacted Knowles to become an adviser on the project and hired Mark Protosevich to write the screenplay. Robert Rodriguez signed on in 2004 to direct the film after his friend Knowles showed him the script. Recognizing that Knowles had been an adviser to many other filmmakers, Rodriguez asked him to be credited as a producer.[18]

Filming was set to begin in 2005, with Rodriguez planning to use the all-digital stages he was using for his production of Sin City, a film based on the graphic novel series by Frank Miller.[18] Rodriguez planned to hire Frank Frazetta, the popular Burroughs and fantasy illustrator, as a designer on the film.[19] Rodriguez had previously stirred-up film industry controversy owing to his decision to credit Sin Citys artist/creator Miller as co-director on the film adaptation; as a result, Rodriguez decided to resign from the Directors Guild of America. In 2004, unable to employ a non-DGA filmmaker, Paramount assigned Kerry Conran to direct and Ehren Kruger to rewrite the John Carter script. The Australian Outback was scouted as a shooting location. Conran left the film for unknown reasons and was replaced in October 2005 by Jon Favreau.[18]

Favreau and screenwriter Mark Fergus wanted to make their script faithful to Burroughs novels, retaining John Carters links to the American Civil War and ensuring that the Barsoomian Tharks were 15 feet tall (previous scripts had made them human-sized). Favreau argued that a modern-day soldier would not know how to fence or ride a horse like Carter, who had been a Confederate officer. The first film he envisioned would have adapted the first three novels in the Barsoom series: A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars. Unlike Rodriguez and Conran, Favreau preferred using practical effects for his film and cited Planet of the Apes as his inspiration. He intended to use make-up, as well as CGI, to create the Tharks. In August 2006, Paramount chose not to renew the film rights, preferring instead to focus on its Star Trek franchise. Favreau and Fergus moved on to Marvel Studios Iron Man.[18]

Return to Disney, Stanton involvement[edit]

Andrew Stanton, director of the Pixar Animation Studios hits Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL-E (2008), lobbied the Walt Disney Studios to reacquire the rights from Burroughs estate. Since Id read the books as a kid, I wanted to see somebody put it on the screen, he explained.[20]

He then lobbied Disney heavily for the chance to direct the film, pitching it as Indiana Jones on Mars. The studio was initially skeptical. Stanton had never directed a live-action film before, and wanted to make the film without any major stars whose names could guarantee an audience, at least on opening weekend. The screenplay was seen as confusing and difficult to follow. But since Stanton had overcome similar preproduction doubts to make WALL-E and Finding Nemo into hits, the studio approved him as director.[21] Stanton noted he was effectively being loaned to Walt Disney Pictures because Pixar is an all-ages brand and John Carter, in his words, was not going to be an all-ages film.[22] By 2008 they completed the first draft for Part One of a John Carter film trilogy; the first film is based only on the first novel.[23] In April 2009 author Michael Chabon confirmed he had been hired to revise the script.[24][25][26]

Following the completion of WALL-E, Stanton visited the archives of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., in Tarzana, California, as part of his research.[18] Jim Morris, general manager of Pixar, said the film would have a unique look distinct from Frank Frazettas illustrations, which they both found dated.[27] He also noted that although he had less time for pre-production than for any of his usual animated projects, the task was nevertheless relatively easy since he had read Burroughs novels as a child and had already visualized many of their scenes.[28]



On John Carter, Stanton was crafting a complicated, inter-planetary story with live action period elements and more than 2,000 visual-effects shots delivered by four companies. The director said he coaxed Disney to adopt some of Pixars iterative style ...

—Columnists Dawn C. Chmielewski and Rebecca Keegan, writing in the Los Angeles Times[20]

Principal photography commenced at Longcross Studios, London, in January 2010 and ended in Kanab, Utah in July 2010.[7][29] Locations in Utah included Lake Powell and the counties of Grand, Wayne, and Kane.[30][31] A month-long reshoot took place in Playa Vista, Los Angeles.[32] The film was shot in the Panavision anamorphic format on Kodak 35mm film.[32] Stanton denied assertions that he had gone over budget and stated that he had been allowed a longer reshoot because he had stayed on budget and on time.[33] However, he did admit to reshooting much of the movie twice, far more than is usually common in live action filmmaking. He attributed that to his animation background.[21] The thing I had to explain to Disney was, Youre asking a guy whos only known how to do it this way to suddenly do it with one reshoot. he explained later. I said, Im not gonna get it right the first time, Ill tell you that right now.[20] Stanton often sought advice from people he had worked with at Pixar on animated films (known as the Braintrust) instead of those with live-action experience working with him.[34][35] Stanton also was quoted as saying, I said to my producers, Is it just me, or do we actually know how to do this better than live-action crews do?[34] Rich Ross, Disneys chairman, successor to Dick Cook, who had originally approved the film for production, came from a television background and had no experience with feature films. The studios new top marketing and production executives had little more.[21]


The head of Walt Disney Studios Marketing during the production was M. T. Carney, an industry outsider who previously ran a marketing boutique in New York.[36] Stanton often rejected marketing ideas from the studio, according to those who worked on the film.[37] Stantons ideas were used instead, and he ignored criticism that using Led Zeppelins 1975 song Kashmir in the trailer would make it seem less current to the contemporary younger audiences the film sought. He also chose billboard imagery that failed to resonate with prospective audiences, and put together a preview reel that did not get a strong reception from a convention audience.[21] Stanton said, My joy when I saw the first trailer for Star Wars is I saw a little bit of almost everything in the movie, and I had no idea how it connected, and I had to go see the movie. So the last thing Im going to do is ruin that little kids experience.[38] Following the death of Steve Jobs, Stanton dedicated the film in his memory.[39]

Although being based on the first book of the series, A Princess of Mars, the film was originally titled John Carter of Mars, but Stanton removed of Mars to make it more appealing to a broader audience, stating that the film is an origin story. Its about a guy becoming John Carter of Mars.[40] Stanton planned to keep Mars in the title for future films in the series (which were never produced).[40] Kitsch said the title was changed to reflect the characters journey, as John Carter would become of Mars only in the last few minutes of the picture.[41] Former Disney marketing president Carney has also taken blame for suggesting the title change.[36] Another reported explanation for the name change was that Disney had suffered a significant loss in March 2011 with Mars Needs Moms; the studio reportedly conducted a study which noted recent movies with the word Mars in the title had not been commercially successful.[42] Earlier, two and a half years before the premiere of the film, on December 29, 2009, a low-budget film produced by the independent film company The Asylum, entitled Princess of Mars, was released direct-to-DVD in the United States. Stanton has referred to the competing film as a crappy knock-off.[43]

Music and soundtrack[edit]

John Carter: Original Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedMarch 6, 2012
Sony Scoring Stage (Culver City)
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerMichael Giacchino
Professional ratings
Review scores
Film Music Magazine(A)[45]
Movie Music UK4.5/5src=[46]

In February 2010, Michael Giacchino revealed in an interview he would be scoring the film.[48][49] Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack on March 6, 2012, three days before the films release.

1.A Thern for the Worse7:38
2.Get Carter4:25
3.Gravity of the Situation1:20
4.Thark Side of Barsoom2:55
5.Sab Than Pursues the Princess5:33
6.The Temple of Issus3:24
7.Zodanga Happened4:01
8.The Blue Light Special4:11
9.Carter They Come, Carter They Fall3:55
10.A Change of Heart3:04
11.A Thern Warning4:04
12.The Second Biggest Apes Ive Seen This Month2:35
13.The Right of Challenge2:22
14.The Prize Is Barsoom4:29
15.The Fight for Helium4:22
16.Not Quite Finished2:06
18.Ten Bitter Years3:12
19.John Carter of Mars8:53
Total length:1:13:56


Theatrical run[edit]

Although the original film release date was June 8, 2012, in January 2011 Disney moved the release date to March 9, 2012.[10][50][51] A teaser trailer for the film premiered on July 14, 2011 and was shown in 3D and 2D with showings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2; the official trailer premiered on November 30, 2011. On February 5, 2012 an extended commercial promoting the movie aired during the Super Bowl,[52] and before the day of the game, Andrew Stanton, a Massachusetts native, held a special screening of the film for both the team members and families of the New England Patriots and New York Giants.[53]

Home media[edit]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released John Carter on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download on June 5, 2012. The home media release was made available in three different physical packages: a four-disc combo pack (1 disc Blu-ray 3D, 1-disc Blu-ray, 1 DVD, and 1-disc digital copy), a two-disc combo pack (1 disc Blu-ray, 1 disc DVD), and one-disc DVD. John Carter was also made available in 3D High Definition, High Definition, and Standard Definition Digital.[clarification needed] Additionally, the home media edition was available in an On-Demand format. The Blu-ray bonus features include Disney Second Screen functionality, 360 Degrees of John Carter, deleted scenes, and Barsoom Bloopers. The DVD bonus features included 100 Years in the Making, and audio commentary with filmmakers. The High Definition Digital and Standard Definition Digital versions both include Disney Second Screen, Barsoom Bloopers, and deleted scenes. The Digital 3D High Definition Digital copy does not include bonus features.[54] In mid-June, the movie topped sales on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks overall disc sales, and Nielsens dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, with the DVD release selling 980,812 copies making $17,057,283 and Blu-ray and 3-D releases selling 965,275 copies making $19,295,847, with a combined total of $36,353,130 in its first week alone.[55][56]


Box office[edit]

John Carter grossed $73.1 million in North America and $211.1 million in other countries, for a worldwide total as of June 28, 2012 of $284.1 million.[3] It had a worldwide opening of $100.8 million.[57] In North America, it opened in first place on Friday, March 9, 2012 with $9.81 million.[58] For three days, it had grossed $30.2 million, falling to second place for the weekend, behind The Lorax.[59] Outside North America, it topped the weekend chart, opening with $70.6 million.[60] Its highest-grossing opening was in Russia and the CIS, where it broke the all-time opening-day record ($6.5 million)[61] and earned $16.5 million during the weekend.[62] The film also scored the second-best opening weekend for a Disney film in China[63] ($14.0 million).[64] It was in first place at the box office outside North America for two consecutive weekends.[65] Its highest-grossing areas after North America are China ($41.5 million),[66] Russia and the CIS ($33.4 million), and Mexico ($12.1 million).[67]

Although the film grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, it lost a considerable amount of money due to its cost. At the time of its release, Disney claimed the films production budget was $250 million, although tax returns released in 2014 revealed its exact budget was $263.7 million after taking tax credits into account.[2] Before the film opened, analysts predicted the film would be a huge financial failure due to its exorbitant combined production and marketing costs of $350 million,[68] with Paul Dergarabedian, president of, noting John Carters bloated budget would have required it to generate worldwide tickets sales of more than $600 million to break even ... a height reached by only 63 films in the history of moviemaking.[69] On May 8, 2012, the Walt Disney Company released a statement on its earnings which attributed the $161 million deterioration in the operating income of their Studio Entertainment division to a loss of $84 million in the quarter ending March 2012 primarily to the performance of John Carter and the associated cost write-down.[70] The film resulted in a $200 million writedown for Disney, ranking it among the biggest box-office bombs of all time.[68]

The films failure led to the resignation of Rich Ross, the head of Walt Disney Studios, even though Ross had arrived there from his earlier success at the Disney Channel with John Carter already in development.[71] Ross theoretically could have stopped production on John Carter as he did with a planned remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or minimized the budget as he did to The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp.[72] Instead, Stanton was given the production budget requested for John Carter, backed with an estimated $100 million marketing campaign that is typical for a tentpole movie but without significant merchandising or other ancillary tie-ins.[42] It was reported that Ross later sought to blame Pixar for John Carter, which prompted key Pixar executives to turn against Ross who already had alienated many within the studio.[73] The 2013 book John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood cites many factors in the films commercial failure, but author Michael D. Sellers insists the film tested very well with audiences and failed more because of marketing problems (which included not mentioning Mars, Barsoom, or Edgar Rice Burroughs on promotional posters, which meant that many fans of the Burroughs books were completely unaware of the film and its subject matter until after it bombed) and changing management at the studio.[74]

In September 2014, studio president Alan Bergman was asked at a conference if Disney had been able to partially recoup its losses on The Lone Ranger and John Carter through subsequent release windows or other monetization methods, and he responded: Im going to answer that question honestly and tell you no, it didnt get that much better. We did lose that much money on those movies.[75]

Critical response[edit]

One week before the films release, Disney removed an embargo on reviews of the film.[76] The film holds a 52% rating at the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 235 reviews, its consensus reads: While John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization.[77] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average out of 100 to critics reviews, the film holds a score of 51 based on 43 reviews, signifying Mixed or average reviews.[78]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, Derivative but charming and fun enough, Disneys mammoth scifier is both spectacular and a bit cheesy.[79] Glenn Kenny of MSN Movies rated the film 4 out of 5 stars, saying, By the end of the adventure, even the initially befuddling double-frame story pays off, in spades. For me, this is the first movie of its kind in a very long time that Id willingly sit through a second or even third time.[80] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, commenting that the movie is intended to foster a franchise and will probably succeed. Does John Carter get the job done for the weekend action audience? Yes, I suppose it does.[81] Dan Jolin of Empire gave the film 3 stars out of 5, noting, Stanton has built a fantastic world, but the action is unmemorable. Still, just about every sci-fi/fantasy/superhero adventure you ever loved is in here somewhere.[82] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, calling the film undeniably silly, sprawling and easy to make fun of, [but] also playful, genuinely epic and absolutely comfortable being what it is. In this genre, those are virtues as rare as a cave of gold.[83]

... the movie is more Western than science fiction. Even if we completely suspend our disbelief and accept the entire story at face value, isnt it underwhelming to spend so much time looking at hand-to-hand combat when there are so many neat toys and gadgets to play with?

—Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times[81]

Conversely, Peter Debruge of Variety gave a negative review, saying, To watch John Carter is to wonder where in this jumbled space opera one might find the intuitive sense of wonderment and awe Stanton brought to Finding Nemo and WALL-E.[84] Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D rating, feeling, Nothing in John Carter really works, since everything in the movie has been done so many times before, and so much better.[85] Christy Lemire of The Boston Globe wrote that, Except for a strong cast, a few striking visuals and some unexpected flashes of humor, John Carter is just a dreary, convoluted trudge – a soulless sprawl of computer-generated blippery converted to 3-D.[86] Michael Philips of the Chicago Tribune rated the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying the film isnt much – or rather, its too much and not enough in weird, clumpy combinations – but it is a curious sort of blur.[87] Andrew OHerir of called it a profoundly flawed film, and arguably a terrible one on various levels. But if youre willing to suspend not just disbelief but also all considerations of logic and intelligence and narrative coherence, its also a rip-roaring, fun adventure, fatefully balanced between high camp and boyish seriousness at almost every second.[88] Mick LaSalle of San Francisco Chronicle rated the film 1 star out of 4, noting, John Carter is a movie designed to be long, epic and in 3-D, but thats as far as the design goes. Its designed to be a product, and its a flimsy one.[89] A.O. Scott of The New York Times said, John Carter tries to evoke, to reanimate, a fondly recalled universe of B-movies, pulp novels and boys adventure magazines. But it pursues this modest goal according to blockbuster logic, which buries the easy, scrappy pleasures of the old stuff in expensive excess. A bad movie should not look this good.[90]

In the UK, the film was savaged by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian, gaining only 1 star out of 5 and described as a giant, suffocating doughy feast of boredom.[91] The film garnered 2 out of 5 stars in The Daily Telegraph, described as a technical marvel, but is also armrest-clawingly hammy and painfully dated.[92] BBC film critic Mark Kermode expressed his displeasure with the film commenting, The story telling is incomprehensible, the characterisation is ludicrous, the story is two and a quarter hours long and its a boring, boring, boring two and a quarter hours long.[93]


Organization Award category Nominee(s) Result
ASCAP Awards Top Box Office Films Michael Giacchino Won
Annie Awards[94] Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar and Catherine Elvidge Nominated
Nebula Awards Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon
Golden Trailer Awards[95] Golden Fleece Ignition Creative and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film Michael Giacchino Won
Film Music Composition of the Year – John Carter of Mars Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Special Effects Chris Corbould, Peter Chiang, Scott R. Fisher and Sue Rowe

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Prior to the films release, the filmmakers reported that John Carter was intended to be the first film of a trilogy.[96] Producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins began work on a sequel based on Burroughs second novel, The Gods of Mars.[97] However, the films poor box office performance put plans for sequels into question.[98]

In June 2012 co-writer Mark Andrews said in an interview that he, Stanton, and Chabon are still interested in doing sequels: As soon as somebody from Disney says, We want John Carter 2, wed be right there.[99] Despite criticism and Disneys financial disappointment with the film, lead actors Taylor Kitsch and Willem Dafoe all showed strong support,[100][101][102] with Kitsch stating I would do John Carter again tomorrow. Im very proud of John Carter.[103]

In September 2012, Stanton announced that his next directorial effort would be Pixars Finding Dory, and that the plan to film a John Carter sequel had been cancelled.[104] Kitsch later stated he would not make another John Carter film unless Stanton returns as director.[105] In a May 2014 interview, he added, I still talk to Lynn Collins almost daily. Those relationships that were born wont be broken by people we never met. I miss the family. I miss Andrew Stanton. I know the second script was awesome. We had to plant a grounding, so we could really take off in the second one. The second one was even more emotionally taxing, which was awesome.[106] Stanton tweeted both titles and logos for the sequels that would have been made with the titles being Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars.[14]

On October 20, 2014, it was confirmed that Disney had allowed the film rights to the Barsoom novels to revert to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate.[107] In November 2016, Stanton stated, I will always mourn the fact that I didnt get to make the other two films I planned for that series.[108]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Carter. British Board of Film Classification. February 15, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Sylt, Christian (October 22, 2014). Revealed: The $307 Million Cost of Disneys John Carter. Forbes. Retrieved December 7, 2014. The tax payment to John Carter gave the picture a net budget of $263.7 million which is far more than estimates predicted.
  3. ^ a b John Carter. Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  4. ^ Lambie, Ryan (June 19, 2011). What We Know About John Carter. Den of Geek. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  5. ^ Sciretta, Peter (January 13, 2011). John Carter of Mars to be Pixars First Live Action Film, Bryan Cranston Joins Cast. SlashFilm. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  6. ^ Blaber, Genevieve (June 12, 2009). Utah is Beginning to Look Like Mars. Latino Review. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Disney wraps up Mars movie shooting in Utah. Standard-Examiner. August 2, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Boucher, Geoff (June 16, 2011). John Carter: Andrew Stanton on Martian history, Comic-Con and ... Monty Python?. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (February 28, 2012). John Carter Dedicated to Steve Jobs. New York. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
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