I was clearly not alone in certain sentiments about Disney’s marketing of John Carter. I stressed that they should be promoting both director Andrew Stanton’s previous hits and, most importantly, the enormous influence Burroughs’s stories have had on subsequent blockbusters.
Now, some savvy Barsoom fans have edited a new trailer from the official trailers and clips released so far, and it is a significant improvement over everything Disney has released to date.
How is that fans have created a more coherent, engaging, and promotionally competent trailer than Disney’s own marketing department?!
And Disney has access to the entire movie and a hell of a lot more resources. These guys have just used the scraps of footage Disney have released. Disney marketing seriously needs to have a meeting to discuss how they can’t achieve this kind of simple work.
The trailer is actually quite similar in some ways to what’s been released, but most importantly it presents a straightforward narrative that audiences can grasp. It doesn’t even do anything radical: this is just the basic trailer Disney should have been able to devise a hundred variants of.
The major distinctions are not being afraid of 1) naming Finding Nemo and Wall-E and 2) the age of the John Carter property. As fans have been screaming since it became clear Disney had little idea how to market this film, this trailer turns that age into a benefit with the line “the epic tale that inspired one hundred years of filmmaking”. After all, it looks like a modern production in every other way, so why not tell us that we’re now seeing the original – the straight dope. What if it’s better than the diluted stuff that came after, we might wonder…
To deliberately encourage audiences to think a film is generic and bland for the trade-off that it will at least be recognisably generic and bland is symptomatic of the dismaying conservatism that dominates the Hollywood development process. Kudos to the John Carter Files for rejecting that and helping out a movie that needs all it can get.
[In fact, looking at their site they’ve got quite the grassroots campaign going. And Andrew Stanton tweeted his love for this trailer! Check out the John Carter Files.]