Sunday, March 11, 2012

Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton

I never saw Brad Bird's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and I won't be seeing Andrew Stanton's John Carter. The analyst in me is still interested in the contrast between the two.

Brad Bird
Made a sequel to a successful franchise
The film starred one of the few actors who can still "open" a film
Made a film that had similarities to his animated film The Incredibles

Andrew Stanton
Made a film based on a 100-year-old book with no preceding movie
The film starred someone who has never before received top billing in a feature
Made a film that was not similar to his animated films Finding Nemo and Wall-E.

John Carter is being touted as a flop that may not hit $30 million for its opening weekend. While Bird emerged from Mission Impossible as somebody who is bankable in both animation and live action, Stanton is already being declared a live action failure. I found this paragraph from Deadline Hollywood interesting. I have no idea how valid it is, but the fact that this is the perception in at least part of Hollywood doesn't bode well for Stanton's future in live action. The ellipses are in the original; the paragraph is quoted verbatim.
"To summarize: this flop is the result of a studio trying to indulge Pixar… Of an arrogant director who ignored everybody’s warnings that he was making a film too faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first novel in the Barsoom series “A Princess of Mars”… Of the failure of Dick Cook, and Rich Ross, and Bob Iger to rein in Stanton’s excessive ego or pull the plug on the movie’s bloated budget … Of really rotten marketing that failed to explain the significant or scope of the film’s Civil War-to-Mars story and character arcs and instead made the 3D movie look way as generic as its eventual title… Disagree all you want, but Hollywood is telling me that competent marketing could have drawn in women with the love story, or attracted younger males who weren’t fanboys of the source material. Instead the campaign was as rigid and confusing as the movie itself, not to mention that ’Before Star Wars, Before Avatar‘ tag line should have come at the start and not at the finish. But even more I think John Carter is a product of mogul wuss-ism as much as it is misplaced talent worship. More detail to come."
Deadline Hollywood is not the only one examining John Carter's box office failure. The N.Y. Times wades in as well.

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