If all the reports are to be believed, John Carter might actually need to show on Mars to recoup all of its expenses. The film is dealing with a pair of stories that points to ballooning budgets and low tracking scores moving toward the film’s March 9 release.
First, director Andrew Stanton is denying a Hollywood Reporter article that contends the film’s budget swelled from $175 million to $300 million, telling the trade paper’s Heat Vision blog, “I want to go completely on record that I literally was on budget and on time the entire shoot. Disney is so completely psyched that I stayed on budget and on time that they let me have a longer reshoot.”
That leads us into the second piece of bad news, which is that early tracking figures for the film have been soft, making Disney nervous. Deadline reports that several studio executives sent emails pointing out the numbers, noting that people — women, especially — just don’t seem to know or care about John Carter.
Considering the film is based on a 100-year-old character who has only recently been kept alive in comics, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Perhaps removing “of Mars” from the title has added to the confusion in potential audiences. However, a Disney executive said the Super Bowl ad drew interest and will be followed up by an avalanche of advertising.
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