Disney's 'John Carter': Why did it fail?

By now, the arguments seeking to explain Disney's "John Carter" debacle have flown so fast they've almost contradicted themselves.

The Taylor Kitsch-starring science-fiction epic, which grossed just $30.6 million this weekend on a budget of more than $250 million, should have played more heavily to the sci-fi crowd, one argument went (the film didn't go to Comic-con and dropped "Mars" from its title). Or maybe it was the opposite -- Disney should have made the film look and feel more accessible. Those indecipherable creatures in its billboards and its television spots emphasizing the arcana of Barsoom battles didn't exactly scream an all-ages must-see.

The truth is that both sides are a little right. Disney could have played harder to the base and potentially made the film work -- presuming, of course, that the budget and expectations were commensurately modest from the outset.

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-- Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

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