In recent years, one of the most mis-managed attempts at launching a franchise was Disney’s John Carter. No one can quite agree on what went wrong, though casting, script, and poor marketing probably all share at least part of the blame. Suffice it to say that John Carter did not launch a franchise and star Taylor Kitsch remains a not-quite-household name. But, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel series might get another chance at the big screen, though not with Disney, as the company has just lost the rights to the character.
The rights to John Carter were recently regained by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., the publishing company created by Burroughs in 1923. While some of Burroughs’ works have passed into the public domain, the two most famous characters – Tarzan and now John Carter – remain under their control. The company also intends to do right by their founder’s work, announcing that they “hope to have John Carter of Mars become another major franchise to entertain world-wide audiences of all ages.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. will have their work cut out for them on this one, though. Many viewers were only introduced to John Carter via the ill-fated Disney movie, and not via Burroughs’ work. It could take a bit of convincing to get audiences back into seats for another film, Disney or no Disney.
Still, there have been more than a few versions of Burroughs’ Tarzan over the years, so there’s no saying that John Carter cannot have a longer shelf-life than we might expect. It will be interesting to see what the company can come up with to convince us to give John Carter and his escapades on Mars another chance.
As always, we’ll let you know more about what the future holds for John Carter just as soon as we hear anything new.