Scif-fi movie a box office bomb, also economic boon

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The Disney movie John Carter cost hundreds of millions to make, and it looks to be a huge box office bomb, but some are not losing out because of the film, such as the state of Utah.

The character of John Carter of Mars was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the same author that brought the world Tarzan. While Tarzan has become one of those enduring legendary characters, and who has been portrayed in dozens upon dozens of films, John Carter has only just come to the big screen for the first time. The story is that of a Confederate soldier who tires of the Civil War and somehow finds himself transported to Mars, where there is another civil war going on that he feels he can fight.

According to Hollywood sources, the movie that just came out this past week, garnered just over $30 million for the weekend. The expectations for the film were high and Disney, who produced the movie, even had their eyes on a series of films featuring the titular character. After this weekend, however, it looks like Disney may be taking a huge write-off, perhaps up to $165 million worth, on the film. The movie was beaten by the computer-animated family movie The Lorax, instead, and reviews were, at best, lukewarm.

However, there are some who are saying that the movie John Carter may not have put everyone involved in its production into the red. For example, the state of Utah, where many scenes were filmed. The barren sections of the state served as the Red Planet in the movie.

According to Utah’s governor, the movie generated somewhere around $20 million for parts of the state. The filming also created over 200 jobs while filming was done in the state.

As for Disney, there are already rumors circulating that the movie studio is throwing the film’s director, Andrew Stanton under the bus. Reportedly there has been in-fighting between the director and the studio over how the movie was to be marketed, stemming back to the first movie trailer for the film which played during the Super Bowl.

According to some, the initial movie trailer gave little idea of what the movie was about. Subsequent trailers, it has been reported, failed to clear up what the film was about, leaving movie-goers confused and uninterested in the big-action and big-effects film. Disney says that it was Stanton who took control of the early parts of the marketing campaign.

Whatever the reasons for the apparent bombing of the box office for this film, it seems that not everyone involved in the filming is unhappy. For residents in Utah, it was a grand adventure to have a big Hollywood movie being filmed there for a time and it even created some much-needed jobs while the film was in town.

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