“When I saw I you, I believed it was a sign, that something new can come into this world,” says Tars Tarkas, the giant green Thark, as voiced by soulful Willem Dafoe in the teaser trailer for John Carter. Sadly, when the feature film entered our world, or at least in our cinemas, its reputation had already been tarnished by a soaring budget, backstage turbulence, and muddled marketing. Not until the release of Michael D. Sellers‘ winning book, John Carter and The Gods of Hollywood, have we truly appreciated all of what truly unfolded behind the scenes, of what John Carter could have been.
Before I dive into the book, let me share with you my experience with the film. I followed John Carter‘s production process extensively years prior to its March 2012 opening, as I was just as excited as any other Andrew Stanton fan of this Academy Award-winner directing an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Though I was not terribly familiar with the material, I felt enchanted by the riveting content. I was more than thrilled to be one of only thousands of individuals to see early scenes of John Carter at the Disney D23 Expo in August 2011. Some felt apathetic over the clips. Me, I was engaged every second. My fascination with this project led me to write many John Carter articles for Fused Film, the site I previously wrote for, and I have continued to throw in references to Carter in many of my Geeks of Doom pieces. I was on cloud nine when I saw that a book about this topic entered the market.
It has been just a few days since we officially learned that some major issues were happening within the production of Spider-Man 4 (which they’re apparently presenting as SPIDER-M4N; this needs to be stopped immediately), and that the movie would be on hold indefinitely until script and character differences were fixed.
Well, it didn’t take long for other gigantic Summer 2011 titles to swarm the vacated premium real estate: Box Office Mojo has made the changes that reveal that the other Marvel powerhouse in Kenneth Branagh‘s Thor has moved up from May 20, 2011 to Spidey 4‘s empty May 6, 2011 spot. At the very same time, the fourth film in another gold mine franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, swooped into the now-open May 20 spot left by Thor. At the the time of the latter move, Pirates 4 had yet to settle into a specific date, having only declared a Summer 2011 release.
The move for Thor is not a huge one, but this will likely make it the first biggie of the Summer season, and if a leaked X-Men Origins: Wolverine can make $85 Million as an opener, then Thor should set the bar in hard to reach places. Along with with the addition of Pirates of the Caribbean 4, May just may just already be the biggest month of 2011.
Not much was known of the new Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie that was well on its way to us, but one might imagine that Disney had plans of bringing another massive water-filled adventure much like their Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. They had gotten so far as to hire Terminator Salvation director McG to helm the flick, and names like Will Smith were rumored for the role of Captain Nemo. None of this matters anymore now, as Disney has slammed the brakes on with force and stopped all forward progress on the project.
The movie was set to tell an origins tale of the fabled Captain Nemo and the building of his ship, the Nautilus. It was actually on the fast track at one point, but it appears that the controversial firing of popular chairman Dick Cook may have knocked it off its course for the time being. The original 1954 film starred Kirk Douglas and it was Disney’s very first live-action film production.
It’s been sheer chaos in the world of Disney lately. It began with a ton of exciting announcements out of the D23 Expo, but was capped off with the shocking news that long time and much-loved Chairman Dick Cook was leaving, most likely due to being fired (Read: Unexpected Cherry On Top: Disney Chairman Dick Cook Fired? “˜Pirates 4″² Doomed?!). When this news broke, as you’ll recall, it didn’t take long before Cook’s friend Johnny Depp shared his distaste for the news, and that he now wasn’t so sure if he wanted to do Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — the fourth movie in Disney’s mammoth franchise — anymore.
To add to this madness, a source has told Cinema Blend that while there’s a chance Depp will still do On Stranger Tides, he “definitely” will not be doing the fifth and sixth installments that they have planned for the franchise. It looks like Disney may have to throw a pile of the money at the most popular actor working today in order to will him back once more, but after that, they are saying that they would even go as far as replacing Captain Jack Sparrow with an entirely new character — which would quite possibly be the ballsiest move ever made.
If you visit the site everyday (or any movie site, for that matter), you know that recently there was a massive shower of Disney-related news announced at their D23 Expo — most of which were revealed by Disney Chairman, Dick Cook. Most of the news was very exciting, including big news about a Muppet takeover, information on big Pixar sequelsToy Story 3 and Cars 2, and the official title for the fourth movie in their Pirates franchise: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
After this Christmas morning of announcements, the last thing you would expect to top it all off would be bad news, but that’s just what we’ve been given. It’s being reported by Nikki Finke that after 38 years of service, and an impressively popular reputation, Chairman Dick Cook has now been fired by Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. There are reports that the two weren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye, as well.
It was initially reported that he had innocently just “stepped down” from his position, which Disney is standing by, even though Finke has multiple updates on her report that quote various Disney insiders who are saying that it was a firing, and not one that is being taken lightly. People that have worked with him are crushed by this news, and that it reminds them of when former Disney topper Michael Eisner fired Jeffrey Katzenberg. Even worse, they’re wondering who they could possibly replace him with, saying “I don’t know who Iger thinks he can find who’ll be able to come in there and already have relations with Spielberg, and Zemeckis, and Bruckheimer, and Lasseter, and Burton, like this guy had,” which is accompanied by rumors that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige “impressed the hell out of” Iger while the Marvel deal was being worked out…so take that as you will.
Click over for more, including the possible fate of Pirates of the Caribbean straight from the mouth of Johnny Depp, and the official statements from both Cook and Iger.