‘John Carter’ Sequel: A Fanboy Delusion
This is going to seem like a strange article to have written. The reason it came about is because modern pop-culture fan behaviour can be a fascinating thing to observe. From the elaborate costumes at conventions to the dedication people have to preserving online committees. As a fanboy myself it makes me feel as though I’m part of something bigger. But sometimes you encounter a group of fans who are just…nuts.
Last week we published a movie review of the Blu-Ray release of John Carter. Not wanting to spoil anything but it was pretty mediocre. Shortly after this review was published we were hit up by a group on twitter called ‘Back to Barsoom’ who were voicing their desire to see a sequel get made. I paid it little heed, as we get many notifications about a range of causes. It’s nice having some issues brought to our attention (thanks Edward James Olmos!) so we can get on board with them, but a John Carter sequel wasn’t on our list of priorities.
Then the comments started arriving on the review. Unlike most comments that would simply berate us for having a different point of view or acknowledging why we have a different opinion the authors of these comments seemed determined to make us change our minds. They all followed a similar thread, taking a quote out of the review and countering it with carefully selected statistics that they felt proved that the movie was a ‘hit’. Comments frequently end with the poster urging viewers to see it and ‘make up their own minds’, oblivious to the fact that its Flixster score suggests that people have made up their own mind and they weren’t impressed.
Sensing that this was not the work of a group of like-minded fans who are particular enamored with a below par sci-fi film, I checked out who they people were. This is when I found that most of them belonged to the aforementioned ‘Back to Barsoom’ collective who campaign heavily for a sequel to John Carter and feel the way to do this is by attacking critics and collecting signatures.
It seems that nobody explained to ‘Back to Barsoom’ how the Hollywood system works. If a movie is not a financial success out of the gate you can assume that a follow up effort is going to be very, very unlikely. Considering that John Carter left Disney out of pocket some $61 million it is outright delusional of anyone to think that they will risk backing a sequel. It’s possible that they really want to make a sequel – god knows they wanted it to be a franchise – but Disney is a business and it would be irresponsible to invest in a sequel. Picketing studios demanding a sequel is not going to change economic facts.
I know what it’s like when your dreams of potential movies are dashed. When Shane Black’s genre distorting modern noir classic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang hit cinemas I was in love. After setting up the tone and the relationship between the characters I wanted nothing more than a sequel. Sadly the box office wasn’t kind to it and although it was a cult hit, a sequel was not on the cards. I was disappointed, but I instead turned my attention to what the director would do next. And what he’s doing is awesome.
The ‘Back to Barsoom’ group can’t seem to shake the notion that John Carter wasn’t successful enough to get a sequel. They claim that it’s really a ‘hit’ and a financial success, and if only people would see it then they’ll find out for themselves what a masterpiece it is. They turn a blind eye to any figures that don’t support their claims and insist that it has “grossed nearly as much as other films which are considered ‘hits’”, and is a best selling Blu-Ray.
If you’re still reading at this point you may be wondering where I’m going with all of this. It’s not a response to their comments on our review (the responses to those comments were made directly) but because I’m outright astounded that people would invest so much time, effort and money in such a trivial cause. It’s…a movie. And a rather plain one at that. I love movies to an unhealthy extent but eventually you have to draw the line and say that this is not an important goal to peruse, especially when the amount of effort dedicated to it could’ve been redirected to an actual cause.
So in conclusion I would like to present the Top 10 Worthy Causes to Support Instead of a John Carter Sequel.
10. Campaigning for Better Social Networking Privacy
This is also a pretty trivial issue, but I’m putting it here because ‘Back to Barsoom’ are about to find out that I’ve raided their very public Facebook and Twitter accounts to find information to use in this article.
9. Petitioning for Better Gun Control
At the recent San Diego Comic Con the ‘Back to Barsoom’ group set up a stall to collect signatures on a petition for John Carter 2, because this is the only cause on the mind of cinema patrons these days. Or, in the wake of the tragic Colorado shooting, they could collect signatures to encourage the government to revisit gun control. Now before everyone gets all “2nd Amendment” in comment section there is another side to the issue…
8. Petition for Better Mental Health Services
Because let’s face it, some of the John Carter fans are going to need it.
7. Supporting Alzheimer Research
As author Terry Pratchett discovered after being diagnosed with the condition, Alzheimer’s effects just as many people as cancer yet only attracts a fraction of the public support.
6. Sponsor Children in Need
Setting up stalls at Comic Con cost money. Sponsor a child. It’s a better use of your dollars.
5. Join the Protest for a Good Cause
When organising a protest one of the hardest things to do is get people to actually show up. Considering some of the fans of John Carter make a point of turning up at random TV studios to promote their cause why not join other protests?
4. Help the Homeless
You’re getting out into the public space to promote a pointless cause, why not slip a couple of bucks to someone who needs it? Disney certainly can’t afford it after John Carter flopped.
3. Support Reading Programs in Public Schools
The amount of budget assigned to the public school system in many western countries is dangerously low. Not only is this creating poor working conditions for teachers and students alike. Perhaps you can support the system by promoting the reading of classic sci-fi literature by raising funds for the schools to buy Burroughs books.
2. Invest in Some Design Courses
Not a cause directly, but after spending some time working on your design skills you could volunteer your time and skills to a better cause than campaigning for a movie. Also, your website won’t look like this:
1. Pretty Much Anything
The world is full of causes to support, and we cannot possibly narrow it down to ten. Open the phone book, stick in a pin and go for it.