February 10, 2012

John Carter Sequel Already Written?

On March 9th we're going to see one of the biggest experiments in blockbuster film-making. Disney's John Carter formerly John Carter of Mars could end up being one of the most expensive movies ever made. It's production budget is rumored to have skyrocketed past $300 million dollars that doesn't even include the money used to promote and market the film to audiences. The price tag could be around $50-100 million added to the production budget. Making the estimated cost of making this film between $350-400+ million.

The reason for the shock and awe about these numbers is that John Carter fans are mainly made up of readers of the novels. Since the books have been kicking around for 100 years it seems that everyone 35 and up will be familiar with the character. Disney's problem is that the John Carter brand isn't largely recognizable to the majority of their target audience which is 10-15 year old range. It's going to be a massive gamble for the studio when it's trying to land Star Wars sized returns without a ravenous fanbase to rely on. The project will likely have to aim for a worldwide box office return of $700 million just to be considered a success. Luckily, Andrew Stanton of Pixar is directing the film and isn't a stranger to massive box office successes.

Back when Disney was boasting John Carter as the first in a trilogy there was talk of actual progress on sequels. Director Andrew Stanton confirmed to SlashFilm on set of Carter that the second film was being written during the production. An outline for the trilogy seems to have been hatched by Stanton and the studio. When reports of the inflated budget and rumored problems in the editing room surfaced all talk of sequels stopped. There has been rumblings of successful screenings for the film recently which is a good news for Disney. In my opinion the only way we'll ever see a John Carter trilogy is if it's a monster in the international markets. If this turns out to a big hit the sequel could move into production quicker than expected.

"We outlined three altogether. But the nice thing about not doing anything in tandem is that we can learn from the first and go, “oooH! I like that guy. I like that situation. Let’s see if we can tweak that into the second and third.” We’re constantly growing and constantly adapting. We’re trying to stay ahead of it. We’re writing the second right now while we’re working on the first…"

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