John Carter is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Andrew Stanton, written by Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon, and based on A Princess of Mars (1912), the first book in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film was produced by Jim Morris, Colin Wilson, and Lindsey Collins. John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch in the title role, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Willem Dafoe. The film chronicles the first interplanetary adventure of John Carter and his attempts to mediate civil unrest amongst the warring kingdoms of Barsoom.
Several developments on a theatrical film adaptation of the Barsoom series emerged throughout the 20th century from various major studios and producers, with the earliest attempt dating back to the 1930s. Most of these efforts, however, ultimately stalled in development hell. In the late-2000s, Walt Disney Pictures began a concentrated effort to develop a film adaptation of Burroughs’ works, after an abandoned venture by the studio in the 1980s. The project was driven by Stanton, who had pressed Disney to renew the screen rights from the Burroughs estate. Stanton became the new film’s director in 2009. It was his live-action debut, as his previous directorial work for Disney was on the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL-E (2008). Filming began in November 2009, with principal photography underway in January 2010, wrapping seven months later in July 2010. Michael Giacchino composed the film’s musical score. The film is dedicated in the memory of Steve Jobs.
John Carter was released in the United States on March 9, 2012, marking the centennial of the titular character’s first appearance. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats. Upon release, John Carter received a mixed critical reception, with praise for its visuals, Giacchino’s score, and the action sequences, but criticism toward the characterization and plot. The film flopped at the North American box office but set an opening-day record in Russia. It grossed $284 million at the worldwide box office, resulting in a $200 million writedown for Disney. With a total cost of $350 million, including an estimated production budget of $263 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Due to the film’s poor box office performance, Disney canceled plans for a sequel (titled Gods of Mars) and the trilogy Stanton had planned.
John Carter is a war-weary, former military captain who’s inexplicably transported to the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars) and reluctantly becomes embroiled in an epic conflict. It’s a world on the brink of collapse, and Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.