In a press release dated October 15th (but for some reason only making the rounds on the Internet now…), Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. has announced that the movie, television, and merchandise rights for John Carter of Mars have reverted back to the estate.
This means, on the one hand, that Walt Disney Pictures will definitely not be making the next John Carter movie, as we all surmised. A $200 million loss will do that.
But it also means, on the other hand, that it looks like we will be getting more John Carter movies. In the press release, the estate says they will be “…seeking a new studio to continue this seminal Sci-Fi adventure.”
Check that word “continue”. Does that indicate that Burroughs will move forward with the sequel to Disney’s John Carter? It’s really too soon for a reboot, and it’s not without precedent to continue with another studio. The Chronicles of Narnia started life at Disney, as well, with the first two movies produced there. But after Disney decided not to produce the third film, Walden Media set up shop with Fox 2000 and continued the series with the same cast. Similarly, back in the 80s, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was produced by Golan-Globus after Warner Brothers had produced the first three in the series with Christopher Reeve.
“John Carter of Mars was the creative stimulus behind such movie classics as Superman, Star Wars and Avatar,” said James Sullos, President. “Edgar Rice Burroughs was the Master of Adventure and his literary works continue to enjoy a world-wide following. We will be seeking a new partner to help develop new adventures on film as chronicled in the eleven Mars novels Burroughs wrote. This adventure never stops. Along with a new Tarzan film in development by Warner Bros., we hope to have John Carter of Mars become another major franchise to entertain world-wide audiences of all ages.”
And for those latecomers, here’s a trailer made by The John Carter Files that captures everything the Disney marketing execs missed:
For more on the troubled history of getting John Carter to the big screen, you should read John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood by Michael Sellers. It’s a fascinating, sad journal of the winding path many filmmakers have taken over the last hundred years to make a movie worthy of the book. Andrew Stanton got as close as anyone has ever been able to get. Will he get the chance to do it again?
This comes after the Burroughs estate also resolved their legal differences with Dynamite Entertainment, making an announcement back in May that they had reacquired the comic book rights from Disney and Marvel and had struck a long-term deal for the comics publisher to re-brand Dynamite’s knockoff titles under the official license.