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John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  632 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
How did Disney's film become a calamity of historic proportions? Michael Sellers, a Hollywood filmmaker himself, saw the disaster approaching and fought to save the project — but without success. In John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, Sellers details every blunder and betrayal that led to the doom of the motion picture — and that left countless Hollywood careers in the ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published November 28th 2012 by Universal Media
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Jan 27, 2013 Rusty rated it really liked it
Shelves: prose, non-fiction
Well, I'm now an expert on what went wrong with Disney's, John Carter. Go ahead, ask me anything.

Did the giant Disney mega-flop, John Carter, fail due to things that had almost nothing due to the movie itself? I think so.

The book, written by a huge fan of the series of books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs more than a century ago, tells a pretty entertaining and hard to believe, even if it is all true, tale of how a movie that was a quarter of a billion dollar investment, was abandoned by the st
Nov 24, 2013 James rated it it was ok
Just as John Carter the film, which was actually very entertaining, was derailed by poor advertising and general mismanagement by Disney studio bigwigs, this book, which contains nuggets of insight into the world of film distribution and marketing, is marred by indulgent writing, too many rhetorical questions that we already know the answers to, and a horrendous lack of copy-editing, thus spelling and grammatical errors abound. It's overlong too. Still, it explained a lot about how a £250million ...more
Jan 25, 2013 Jeremiah rated it really liked it

This book is a bit of a mixed bag, but ultimately is an important one. I somewhat felt that the author padded out the book with more context than was necessary about the history of Burroughs and of the John Carter series. There was some information that I did not know already (that ERB had tried to get a comic strip made with King Features and it fell apart, only to have Flash Gordon coincidentally appear soon after) that was interesting, but did not have much bearing on the central problem that
David Hoggan
Apr 07, 2013 David Hoggan rated it liked it
I didn't see John Carter when it first came out, in spite of the fact that my friend Kerry Conran, director of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, was originally attached to the project, and my acquaintance, Andrew Stanton, ended up directing it. I suppose I was suckered in by the negative press and inept marketing on the part of Disney Studios that Michael Sellers addresses in the book. When I was actively pursuing a career in Hollywood around 20 years ago, I used to read "insider" books lik ...more
Norman Felchle
Feb 25, 2014 Norman Felchle rated it liked it
I'm torn between two and a half stars and three...but I'll go with three for the writer's passion.
Then again...his passion isn't always a good thing. He admits he's a fan, but that's only half of it. He worships Edgar Rice Burroughs as if he were an unassailable god-genius of literature and all must submit to his perfection or suffer dire consequences.
The book is also repetitive and, in places, tedious.
It feels overlong by a third (it's 348 pages.
Another minor annoyance is the seeming lack of a
Michael Burnam-Fink
Feb 06, 2013 Michael Burnam-Fink rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Michael Sellers has done something impressive with this book. He's made the disastrous marketing campaign and boardroom politics that sabotaged John Carter nearly as thrilling as one of Edgar Rice Burrough's planetary romances.

Sellers has an ax to grind. He's the man responsible for, the amazing fan-trailer, and as longtime Barsoom fan, he's using this book to push for sequels. Just because he has an agenda does not necessarily mean that his facts or interpretations are wr
Vic Heaney
Feb 13, 2013 Vic Heaney rated it it was amazing
I first read the wonderful series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs about John Carter of Mars (which he wrote before he got round to Tarzan of the Apes) when I was a small boy. They occupied my father's bookshelves which I was devouring at the age of 10 or so. My brother still remembers me excitedly telling him how great the books were and he became a fan too - and still is.

John Carter first arrived in print 100 years ago but Burrough's imagination was so stupendous that film-makers have felt un
Richard Guion
Mar 10, 2013 Richard Guion rated it liked it
I spent more time reading this book than I spent watching the movie John Carter! It is a good recap and analysis from both a fan and business perspective about why the movie was so reviled by the press and Disney itself. John Carter's failure at the box office was a perfect storm of events: Dick Cook getting fired after green lighting the movie, Rich Ross and the new Disney marketing department never fully realizing how to sell the movie, a series of disastrous trailers in the US that never expl ...more
Robert Greenberger
Apr 07, 2013 Robert Greenberger rated it liked it
Michael Sellers brings his passion for all things Barsoomian to this analysis of how Disney botched the John Carter film. The book carefully lays out the history of Edgar Rice Burroughs, his John Carter stories and the influence it has had on writers and filmmakers ever since. He carefully documents from a wide variety of sources and boils it all down into easily digestible analysis. As a study of modern day Hollywood gone awry, this is fascinating.

The book is devoid of original reporting which
Dec 13, 2012 Khanada rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of reading this book before it was released, when it was still in edit mode. I was so impressed with the detail and thoroughness of the book and how it was well balanced in its approach. Hollywood and filmmaking have always been a huge fascination for me, and the drama around John Carter and its struggle at the box office is quite a tale. I also love the many great references offered so that the reader can refer to articles and such to back up all of the details that are pres ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Ku rated it really liked it
I recommend this book to people who are interested in transforming a book into a movie. This book is about the process of how the John Carter of Mars novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs were made into a big budget Hollywood film, and examines the process and its aftermath.

The book has three distinct parts. First, background story on Edgar Rice Burroughs, which is interesting (I've never read ERB) and essential to understand the rest of the story.

Second part was my favorite, as it talks about the arti
Nigel Mitchell
Jul 12, 2013 Nigel Mitchell rated it it was amazing
First of all, I never saw "John Carter." I thought it looked interesting, but I heard a lot of bad buzz, so I ignored it. Only after reading this book did I realize what a mistake I had made. This book gives a thorough overview of the John Carter franchise, the production of the movie from concept to world premiere, and the aftermath of loyal fans left begging for a sequel which never comes. Besides the tragic story of a good movie sabotaged by its own studio and bad publicity, I found this book ...more
Terry Collins
Mar 20, 2014 Terry Collins rated it liked it
An eye-opening analysis of how Disney spent a fortune on a film that, once finished, had a new regime in power with little to no interest in promoting what is now regarded as an unheralded classic in the high adventure / pulp fantasy genre. Towards the end of the book, the author falls into the trap of repeating himself and tilling the same soil previously covered, but his passion for the film John Carter is infectious. The Kindle edition comes with plenty of hot links to take you to online trai ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Not only does this book offer great insight into the commercial disaster that was John Carter, it also gives the reader a greater understanding of the inner workings of Hollywood and the film industry. Although I have yet to read a book by ERB, I found this to be a very interesting, well-researched and informative read. Now the only thing left for me to do is read A Princess of Mars :)
Aug 28, 2015 Brian rated it liked it
I don't usually watch movies for a variety of reasons which aren't really important to this review, but I do remember the marketing leading up to the release of John Carter. This was before I had read A Princess of Mars, but I still knew who John Carter was through geek osmosis even if I didn't know all the details, so I was baffled at the posters with arena combat against white apes, the near-lack of Dejah Thoris in any of the promotional materials, and the fact that the title left out the most ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Trevor rated it liked it
As one of those guys bummed at the disappointing box-office of John Carter, I was definitely hoping somebody would tackle telling the story of its unfortunate failure. Thankfully, Michael Sellers (creator of the John Carter Files website, and the guy that made that John Carter fan trailer that blew away anything Disney put out) has done just that. Though I would have preferred a documentary on the subject, this book does a pretty darn good job highlighting everything that went wrong during both ...more
Larry Zieminski
May 30, 2014 Larry Zieminski rated it liked it
I knew almost nothing of the history of John Carter or the entire Barsoom series. I remember being interesting in the movie when the first trailer hit (especially when I found out Andrew Stanton was directing), but when it hit theaters and was hailed as a box office bomb, I skipped it. On impulse I bought the film on Blu-Ray when it was released and found a somewhat enjoyable movie, hampered by some odd pacing decisions and a lead actor who didn't seem to fit with the role. The film isn't terrib ...more
Roger McCoy
Feb 04, 2014 Roger McCoy rated it it was amazing
Intriguing and engaging, John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood examines the long, storied history of the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' pulp classic A Princess of Mars as a theatrical film for the first time.* The story is fascinating to the point that I didn't want to put this book down.

John Carter is commonly viewed as one of the biggest flops in history. But why? And what happened? And why do some say that it's not only financially viable but a good idea to move ahead with the two sequel
Charles Dee Mitchell
May 24, 2013 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: golden-age-sf, film
Here is everything and more than you are likely to ever want to know about why John Carter, the 2012 Disney adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1912 novel Princess of Mars, has become known as a classic Hollywood disaster story. (Headlines referred to the beleaguered production as Ishtar on Mars.)

I assume the book will be information overkill for readers who are not ERB fans the equal of author Michael D. Sellers. And after reading his exhaustive but consistently entertaining book, I don't think
Feb 19, 2017 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid analysis

It seemed pretty obvious that there was a mis match between the marketing and the movie when I saw John Carter, which was a fun, action romance adventure with some epic settings. This book provides a clear review of what happened, and especially what didn't happen. Four stars as there are still a few grammar and spelling bugs to iron out, but no doubt they'll get corrected in future editions.
Aug 09, 2013 Dante rated it liked it
Recommends it for: PREMIERE magazine fans and those who like the behind-the-scenes machinations of Hollywood
I obtained this book for free as an Kindle/ promo, so I can't complain about the price! As a film buff, I have always been interested in the behind-the-scenes business of Hollywood, Sellers' book offers a very detailed analysis of what went wrong with the execution and promotion of JOHN CARTER, so it certainly satisfied me on that count.

Three stars (out of five) seems a bit like damning this book with faint praise; I think Sellers did a very good job of analysis here, and his passion f
Chris Aylott
May 21, 2013 Chris Aylott rated it liked it
This is one of those books where you admire the research and question the author's sanity. Actually, Michael Sellers comes off as completely rational, but he is clearly a Serious Edgar Rice Burroughs Fan, and I think he may have seen last year's John Carter movie through rose-tinted glasses as a result.

I liked the film. I thought the visuals were amazing, and I enjoyed most of the action. The actors were solid, the characters were entertaining, and the whole production seemed like something Burr
An insightful look into the problems plaguing the Disney movie John Carter, adapted from Edgar Rice Bourrough’s classic sci-fi novel series. It begins from ERB beginning his writing career, his troubles trying to get Hollywood interested in anything other than his Tarzan series, earlier failed attempts by other studios to get a John Carter movie off the ground, to the eventual Disney creation and the issues surrounding that effort.

I found this particularly interesting to read because I remember
Apr 01, 2015 Joel rated it really liked it
Shelves: film
John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood is, for the majority of its length, a very compelling true Hollywood story of what went wrong on the marketing side of the movie John Carter. Some of this I knew about (like changing the title from John Carter of Mars to the bland John Carter) and I remember thinking the trailers were completing missing the history of the property. But the majority was interesting and even if some of it would arguably be speculation (such as the talks of Disney buying Star W ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Othniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book whose central thesis is that the primary reason for the relative commercial failure of the Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation "John Carter" was poor marketing by Disney/Pixar - focusing on the (supposedly female-friendly) decision to remove "... Of Mars" from the title - rather than the qualities of the film itself. The suggestion is that it was sabotaged for sound (in the context of the movie industry) business reasons.

The author is an independent filmmaker and long-time Burroughs f
Mar 16, 2014 Jon rated it liked it
Really wish I could give a half star or that this system was out of 10. This book was pretty intriguing and worth the read for fans of ERB or the John Carter movie, and giving it 3 stars doesn't necessarily reflect that. I learned a ton about the life of ERB and his business, Disney and their "marketing" of this movie and a lot about how marketing works in hollywood in general -- the latter of which is really interesting information for anyone interested in film.

This isn't just a "regular fan" w
It's somewhat appropriate that this book is about John Carter, as much like the movie, it has potential but is hurt by some fundamental flaws. Firstly, the prose is somewhat stilted and it has a tendency to repeat many points. Second, the book starts off as a typical, third person recount of events, and then suddenly it turns into a first person account as the author gets involved. It's a somewhat jarring shift, and while the book's obvious bias is clear from the start, finding out that the auth ...more
Covers the history of Disney's John Carter movie from acquisition to postmortem/recriminations. The author is a self-described fan of both Burrows's books, director Stanton's films, and the movie in particular. He traces how multiple reorganizations at Disney during the film's production led to poor titling, branding & publicity decisions.

The author has assembled an incredibly large amount of data, almost all from pre-existing sources (there are no after-action interviews with those involved
Feb 20, 2013 Eero rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, free-ebook
Although I was a fan of the original ERB books (in translation) at a young age, I haven't yet seen the movie John Carter, partly because I hardly ever bother to see movies in the cinema these days. I was seriously considering it at the time, though, after seeing the trailers and reading some message board chatter, and reading this book prompted me finally to order the Blu-ray (hoping to get to see it in a few days). Even though seeing more of the world of Barsoom brought to cinematic life in seq ...more
Highly recommended book analyzing and detailing how Disney corporate shenanigans and poor marketing doomed what could have been an incredible franchise for them.

I'll admit that my conspiracy brain thought a lot of what happened to John Carter was Disney wanting a tax write-off/shield against the earnings of the Avengers. The truth behind it was far worse--less a plan and more a confluence of crappy decisions made by people far less invested in the movie than those creatives working on it.

Do yo
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