So I found out a while ago that the new John Carter movie has flopped in the box office and the worst part is that it was a really good movie! Sure there were some cinematic corners cut to fit the first book into a two hour movie, but it stayed true to the source and had everything needed to deliver an outstanding film…except for the title.
I was disappointed to see that the show was called, simply, “John Carter” using bland, block font without any real hook to grab people’s attention. I mean, if I’d never read the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea of what this movie was about. It’s like painting gold nuggets brown and throwing them in a rock quarry. Everyone would pass them by not knowing the worth behind the paint, which is exactly what happened with this movie. You had action, romance, an amazing tale from a master storyteller and cutting edge CGI, but the first thing people see is John Carter and they end up confused; not intrigued or curious, just confused.
If I were at the reins of the advertisement for this movie, here’s what I’d have done differently: First off, instead of calling it John Carter, I’d have gone with "Barsoom: A Princess of Mars". In case you haven’t either read the books or watched the movie, Barsoom is the name of Mars in the Martian language and is the title heading of the chronicles written by E.R.B., while the first book of the series was A Princess of Mars. Both parts of the name would draw much more curiosity and intrigue than John Carter ever could. Would you have been just as interested in Pirates of the Caribbean if it were called Will Turner? And, of Course, I’d change the font into something more captivating and, dare I say, Boisterous instead of a font that figuratively hides back in the corner.
Secondly, I would have republished the first three books of the Barsoom series a year in advance to gain a following with the newer generations. Look at how Harry Potter and, more recently, The Hunger Games, have driven such a devoted fanbase. Republishing those first three books (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars) would have completely changed the game opening weekend.
Another thing that ought to be considered is that movies based on older books don’t always do well at the first go because there isn’t a huge fan base accumulated yet. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring, though did very well in theatres, was completely eclipsed by the following two films because of the inflated fan base. Then again, New Line Cinema rereleased the trilogy in bookstores which helped to bolster fans, unlike Disney who’ve seemed to turn a blind eye to the concept entirely with this movie.