One would think that no marketing campaign could be as clumsy and tone deaf as Disney’s John Carter campaign, but then along comes AJoe Wright’s Pan, distributed by Warner Brothers who will be distributing Tarzan — and look what happened. The $150M family epic opened this weekend to an absolutely epically anemic $15M (John Carter opened at $31M)…..All I can say is — Wow. Is it possible that a Peter Pan prequel was simply unmarketable to today’s audiences? Or did WB just fail to crack the code?
A week before the release, Hollywood Reporter ran a “Pan is tracking terribly” article very similar to articles that appeared before the release of John Carter. In that article, the concern was that it might open as low as $30M when the target was closer to $60M.
Well, it’s a lot worse than that.
Is this relevant to anything other than a look back at John Carter?
What about a look forward to Tarzan?
Could something like this happen to Tarzan?
You betcha. A concept that is perceived as old, tired, outdated.. . . it could happen if they don’t crack the code on how to market it.
In short, families didn’t show much interest in Wright’s Peter Pan origins tale, starring Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund and newcomer Levi Miller. The film received scathing reviews and a B+ CinemaScore from audiences. Warners has had a tough ride at the box office this year, and “Pan” furthers its woes after box-office losers “Jupiter Ascending” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” The studio declined official comment on “Pan,” but one distribution source said “the movie failed to bring in an audience of any size.”
Originally, the live-action family title was set to open this past July and be a prominent summer player, but Warners knew there were problems and pushed its release back at the eleventh hour, saying reshoots were needed. The film is a special-effects extravaganza, with virtually no real sets.