Tuesday, March 13, 2012

John Carter of Mars

It was warm enough to eat lunch on my deck. This is my idea of how spring should begin -- in March. But there's probably some kind of cold blast still in the works. It might have been a mild winter, but it isn't going to give up that easily.


When I read absurd things involving large sums of money, I go to the World Bank table of national GDPs for a sense of just how insane the sum is. The recent Disney bomb John Carter, I'm told, cost about $250 million to make, plus $100 million more or so in marketing costs. So -- are there any small nations with a GDP of about $350 million? Yes. Roughly speaking, Tonga, in 2010.


And to think, $100 million in marketing, which even reached the likes of me, didn't boost its prospects. A month or so ago, I saw a commercial for the movie. My reaction was entirely, "where's the of Mars in the title? Does it really have anything to do with Edgar Rice Burroughs?"


Interestingly, the Los Angeles Times said on Monday -- on its business page -- that "based on a century-old character created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter was meant to appeal to young males. But a surprisingly older crowd turned up to see the movie this weekend, as 59% of the audience was over age 25."


Not so surprising, since I'm sure that the current crop of adolescent boys have little familiarity with John Carter of Mars. Former adolescent boys, such as me, are much more likely to have heard of the character, even read some of the books, as I did in early adolescence -- just about the right time for it -- starting with A Princess of Mars.

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