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Stars & D23 members come out for the LA premiere of "John Carter"

Stars & D23 members come out for the LA premiere of "John Carter"

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Given that "John Carter" is mostly set on the red planet, it's only appropriate that the stars who attended Wednesday night's premiere of this Andrew Stanton film ...

Photo by Shelly Valladolid

... walked down the red carpet at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live.

Walt Disney Pictures really went all out for "John Carter" 's LA premiere. Persuading Academy Award-winners like Helen Mirren to come for this event ...

Photo by Shelly Valladolid

... not to mention crafting a giant three dimensional version of the "John Carter" logo. Which many entertainment reporters then used as a backdrop as they interviewed members of this movie's cast onsite at the premiere.

Photo by Shelly Valladolid

But you know what made "John Carter" 's LA premiere different from most other movie premieres in Hollywood? The fact that Walt Disney Studios actually reached out to D23 and then invited members of the Official Disney Fan Club to come on out to the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on Wednesday night so that they could participate in this event. Which meant that these folks got plenty of face time with fan favorites like Bruce Boxleitner.

Photo by Shelly Valladolid

Speaking of this "TRON" and "TRON: Legacy" star ... Boxleitner revealed on the red carpet that he and Edgar Rice Burroughs' grandson Danton had tried to turn "A Princess of Mars" into a TV mini-series back in the 1980s. But sadly none of the networks back then were willing to take a risk on a television version of  this seminal work of science fantasy.

Photo by Shelly Valladolid

"That's why I'm here tonight," Bruce explained. "To represent Danton. I'm just glad that someone was finally able to bring his grandfather's story to the big screen."

And speaking of TV version of sci-fi projects ... Though Boxleitner admitted that he wasn't really supposed to talking about "TRON: Uprising" (Not yet, anyway), what Bruce then went on to say is that -- based on the footage that he's seen so far for this new Disney XD animated series -- "TRON" fans will not be disappointed.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"It definitely ties in with the original 'TRON' film as well as 'TRON: Legacy.' But 'TRON: Uprising' is also stronger enough to stand on its own. I think that 'TRON' fans are really going to love all of the new characters  as well as how this animated series looks," Boxleitner continued.

And speaking of animation, Dr. Ed Catmull --  the President of both Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios -- also turned up at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on Wednesday night. Though -- to hear Ed talk -- he wasn't there in any official capacity. Catmull was just there to support Stanton, his longtime friend and colleague.

Photo by Shelly Valladolid

After a little bit of prodding, though,  Ed did open up a bit about a few projects that Pixar currently has in the works, among them the soon-to-be-released "Brave" (which is being directed by Mark Andrews. Who -- fyi -- co-wrote the screenplay for "John Carter" with Andrew Stanton) ...

"Brave" director Mark Andrews chats with bloggers
at "John Carter" 's LA premiere.
Photo by
Shelly Valladolid

... and "Monsters University." Which Kids in the Hall vet Dave Foley (who is best known as the voice of Flik in Pixar's "A Bug's Life" and Wayne the Christmas Elf for those Disney's "Prep and Landing" holiday specials) will be voicing a character for. Though neither Catmull nor Foley were willing to talk about who this character might at Wednesday night's premiere.

Dave Foley and his daughter Alina. Photo by Shelly Valladolid

And speaking of "John Carter" 's premiere ...  One of the main reasons that reporters & bloggers go to events like this is to get face time with the stars of the movie which is about to open. And Taylor Kitsch (who plays the title character in "John Carter") could not have been more gracious. This 30-year-old from Austin, TX good-naturedly answered the same three questions over & over & over again ("Did you do your own stunts?," "How did you get in shape for the film?," "Had you read the 'John Carter' books when you were a kid?) while repeatedly signing autographs & posing for pictures on both sides of the red carpet.

Taylor Kitsch at the "John Carter" premiere. Photo by Shelly Valladolid

Once the last of the stars had gone through, it was now time for the premiere itself. And the Studio had thoughtfully set up a separate theater for D23 members so that these Disney fans could also check out "John Carter" on Wednesday night. And Andrew Stanton made a  brief appearance in that theater to offer up an interesting bit of theater: That -- thanks to the huge amount of visual effects & performance capture that had to be done for "John Carter" to properly capture the look & feel of Mars -- this allegedly live-action Walt Disney Pictures release actually had more animation in it than "Finding Nemo" did.

Andrew Stanton and his wife Julie at the LA premiere
of "John Carter." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

Then the film rolled. And given how poisonous the buzz has been about "John Carter," I have to admit that I was surprised by how entertaining this Walt Disney Pictures release was. It's a terrific big-screen adaptation of this Edgar Rice Burroughs book.

And I think that the Studio was hoping that all of these D23 members who attended the LA premiere would feel just as I did. Given that -- as they exited that theater at the Regals Cinemas L.A. Live -- these Disney fans were handed a commemorative litho as well as made aware of  a "I saw it first" website. Which they were supposed to then share with friends & family.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

So don't believe what you hear about bad tracking for "John Carter." Better yet, make plans now to make tracks to see this Walt Disney Pictures release when it opens in theaters on March 9th.

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  • I feel bad. I like all of the people involved in making this movie, and I hear from reports that it's pretty good, but I really think it's going to bomb pretty badly. It was a hard film to market in the first place, and I really don't think Disney has done a good job explaining the legacy of the story.

  • Regardless of quality, I'm starting to think the combination of horrible marketing and an odd release date will sink the movie.  Newsweek's article about the movie in this week's issue didn't say anything about the film being bad, and plenty of good movies have bombed in their initial release.

    I still think changing the title was a bad move.  "John Carter" sounds like a George Clooney lawyer movie.  "John Carter of Mars" sounds...well, much more descriptive, for one.

  • I think the problem for me with this movie, and indeed the book is that it's so terribly outdated.  The book was written in 1911, when there was almost nothing known about Mars, except that it looked like there were canals on it.  Today, we know so much more.  We've had probes land on it, we have pictures of the martian surface, and we all instinctively  know that this movie simply cannot take place or Mars.  This moves the film out of speculative fiction and straight into fantasy.  It would be fairer to say Alice in Wonderland is a more scientifically accurate story. I could watch this film, and maybe even enjoy the action, but there still would be this nagging thought in the back of my mind saying "This is Mars?  Why is there an atmosphere?"

  • "John Who? Oh, that movie that...WAIT. What's that movie about?"

    Shame. This movie looks decent but there has been little marketing for it, and what was done... was done either too late or poorly.

    The decision to take "of Mars" off of the title was a BAD choice, not dissimilar to Pixar's decision to change their upcoming feature to simply "Brave". Another "what the heck is this movie about" useless simplification of a once descriptive and captivating movie title.

    The marketing machines over at Disney failed to deliver any movie trailer that detailed and described the premise of this movie. And that horrible 15 second TV spot of "explosions and mayhem", that aired during the Super Bowl, did nothing to convince me, a member of it's target audience (18-40 year old males)  of being even remotely interested in seeing the movie. It looked like a direct to dvd sequel trailer for "Prince of Persia 2". This over-budgeted movie "John Carter of Mars" or "John Carter" or now just "JC", as illustrated in their cool-hip logo on the red carpet event that no one attended, is so poorly marketed that I fear it will tank at the box office, worse than an Adam Sandler movie. It seems even Disney has little hope for "John Carter". Shame too, because I know if anyone can direct this movie, it's Stanton and his understanding of telling amazing stories paired with even more amazing visuals.

    Plagued with reshoots, script reworks and last-minute marketing; I think it's obvious to everyone including Disney that this movie will do poorly in sales, and might not even break even. I WILL still see it however. Having read the novel and a biased love for Disney and Pixar movies: it's an easy decision to buy a ticket!

    March 9th will be interesting! And at midnight, I know that my ticket will be spent on boosting any box office numbers, however small. I just hope this movie does "better" than the trailer's look! Time will tell.

  • That is actress LYNN COLLINS pictured with ANDREW STANTON not his wife. I have seen 'John Carter' and can't stop thinking about it. Posters, TV spots and trailers are nothing, the film is forever. Can't wait to see it again next week!

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