Taylor Kitsch, star of Disney’s notoriously pricey 2012 flop John Carter, reflects on the film and the life it has taken on since release.
Taylor Kitsch, star of John Carter, reflects on the film flopping at the box office and the life it has taken on since its release. John Carter was released in 2012, with WALL-E and Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton at the helm.
The film adapted the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs story A Princess of Mars, with Kitsch starring as the hero John Carter. Kitsch’s star was on the rise at the time, having appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine opposite Hugh Jackman and starring in Friday Night Lights.
Kitsch was john by an impeccable cast, which included Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Haden Church, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, and James Purefoy.
John Carter was a pricey gamble from Disney, who was hoping to kick-start a franchise, shelling out $250 million for the film’s budget.
The final product was a heavily CGI-fueled action-adventure spectacle that failed to attract audiences. Critics and viewers seemed to agree about the film, both offering middling reviews that called the film fun but uneven.
However, franchises have survived poor reviews before, and ultimately, the final nail in John Carter’s coffin was the poor box office returns. It opened to only $30 million before finishing with just over $73 million domestically.
While the film did pull in a worldwide box office total of $284 million, with the added heavy marketing costs, John Carter was still a misfire.
Disney has dealt with other big-budget bombs that were meant to become franchises. For example, there was Tomorrowland, from The Incredibles director Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which was critically panned and received backlash for casting Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead.
Still, as Kitsch points out with John Carter, these films are capable of having a second life with parents showing their kids and people discovering them after missing them in theaters. In the age of streaming, it seems nothing is truly gone forever, and many have come to view John Carter in a more positive light over the years.
Knowing that Kitsch has seen the rise of this cult following and appreciates it only makes it better.
John Carter was also, unfortunately, not Kitsch’s only misfire in 2012. That year saw the actor star in the critically panned Battleship, which was based on the board game and featured a similarly high budget while again failing to meet expectations at the box office.
Still, Kitsch has seen his career bounce back, going on to star in True Detective, Waco, and The Terminal List. Therefore, while John Carter may be remembered as a flop, Kitsch is still happy to have had the experience.