It might be one of the biggest box office bombs in history, but John Carter isn’t all that bad. Disney’s epic sci-fi boasts plenty of expansive worldbuilding, a sweeping musical score, solid visual effects and an old fashioned sense of adventure, but a muddled marketing campaign that made it look derivative of other films of a similar nature couldn’t entice audiences to show up in their droves, despite the fact that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ source material inspired everyone and everything from George Lucas’ Star Wars to James Cameron’s Avatar.
Armed with a budget of $263 million, John Carter flopped hard after topping out in its theatrical run with just $284 million in the coffers, causing a loss of up to $200 million for the Mouse House when marketing, promotional and distribution costs were factored in. Naturally, the planned trilogy was dead in the water, although the sprawling extraterrestrial blockbuster has gone on to find a second life as something of a cult classic.
Insider Daniel Richtman is now claiming that a John Carter reboot is in early development, but the tipster doesn’t offer any additional information. Of course, he also said that a Disney Plus show based on the Barsoom series was in the works last year and didn’t divulge much then, either, so it’s not clear whether or not he’s talking about the same project.
In any case, as much as fans would love to see it happen, the rights would probably be a major sticking point and deal breaker for any potential John Carter reboot. Ownership reverted back to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in late 2014, and after watching Disney mishandle the property once before, the author’s estate wouldn’t exactly be desperate to strike another agreement with the same company in the event that it happened all over again. That being said, as far as we’re aware, no studio has stepped in to pick them up, so they’re still up for grabs.