With just two days to go until release, the creators of Disney's John Carter are still battling industry pessimism about their movie. Some pundits and rival studios have long since declared it a bomb, but director Andrew Stanton remains optimistic, while his producers are just plain confused by all the negativity.
Producers Lindsey Collins and Jim Morris have heard all the talk, about how no one knows what their movie is, about how the title should have included of Mars, about how poor the tracking is, about how high the budget was. They know a lot of people seem to be rooting for them to lose even before they've seen the film, but they're taking a rather Zen approach to dealing with it.
"You can sit there and get caught up in it," Collins said in a new interview with Bleeding Cool. "Certainly, with some of it, you get indignant and you want to address it, but on the other hand you come back to the belief that, really, the only thing we can control on this movie, we've already done, which is we've made it and, ultimately, it's a movie we're really proud of. After that you can control almost nothing. Not in terms of the press on it, what's out there and what's not."
But Collins and Morris haven't entirely surrendered to fatalism when it comes to the bad press surrounding the John Carter release date.
"What's been weird to me is that I just don't get it," Morris said. Collins also chimed in with the same thought: "I don't get it either."
When asked where all this negativity came from in the first place, Morris seems to blame industry pundits eager to bash Disney's recent choices in marketing staff. He also speculates that some of it might just be the fault of a "slow news day," and bashes early critics of the film by declaring that "judging it and condemning it before you've seen it is bizarre."
Morris is also puzzled over all the focus on Carter's reported $250 million budget, as well as rumors that it went as high as $300 million. Even if it did, he says, what does it matter in the age of the mega-blockbuster?
"It's so stupid, though, because all of these Hollywood major films, these tentpoles, cost this money," he said. "This isn't some anomaly. This isn't Heaven's Gate or something. We're much cheaper than the new Batman movie!"
All their retorts aside, Collins and Morris know that it's impossible to silence the critics at this point with anything but solid commercial and critical performance for their film. In a way, though, they seem happy that they get to combat bad buzz, because—as Collins notes—it's better for audiences to be pleasantly surprised by a film than the other way around.
"We can't figure it out. But the good news is, to see the silver lining, that it's such the better place to be than the reverse," she said. "In reverse, everybody has tons of hype and excitement going in to the movie, and then they see it and they go 'Oh...' And we're actually in the reverse. We're getting tons of flak from people who haven't seen the movie, but everybody who has, almost to a person, saying that they found it a really great movie."
John Carter opens Friday.
(via Bleeding Cool)