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By now you should know that Andrew Stanton’s upcoming Disney film “John Carter of Mars” has shortened its title to just “John Carter”. (The original title, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, was “A Princess of Mars”.) If this wasn’t obvious to you, then all the official posters and trailers should have given the title change away.
So why did they do it?
According to director Andrew Stanton, it was because boys hate princesses, and girls hate planets. No, really. The director recently told Bleeding Cool during a trip to London:
Here’s the real truth of it. I’d already changed it from A Princess Of Mars to John Carter Of Mars. I don’t like to get fixated on it, but I changed Princess Of Mars… because not a single boy would go.
And then the other truth is, no girl would go to see John Carter Of Mars. So I said, “I don’t won’t to do anything out of fear, I hate doing things out of fear, but I can’t ignore that truth.”
All the time we were making this big character story which just so happens to be in this big, spectacular new environment. But it’s not about the spectacle, it’s about the investment. I thought, I’ve really worked hard to make all of this an origin story. It’s about a guy becoming John Carter. So I’m not misrepresenting what this movie is, it’s John Carter.
Mars is going to stick on any other film in the series. But by then, it won’t have a stigma to it.
I guess when you think about it, it kinda makes sense. The film is a PG-13 action-adventure movie, definitely more “fantasy” than “science fiction”, and I suspect Disney is hoping to lure in a lot of young male teens (or tweeners) who may not otherwise go see anything with the word “Princess” in it. Likewise, girls may see the word “Mars” and immediately think “science fiction”, and bail. Not the geeky girls, of course, but let’s face it, there’s not nearly enough of those to make a film successful.
And thus, it’s just “John Carter”, or you could call him “John”, but just don’t call him “John Carter of Mars”.