Andrew Stanton’s John Carter was one of the best science fiction movies in recent years, and a good adaptation of the source material. But you wouldn’t know that today with snarky film blogs dancing on its corpse once again, while reporting the news that Disney “lost” the rights to the franchise.
In reality, Disney’s rights to the character expired. This isn’t unusual for a Burroughs property, as the exact same thing happened to Disney and Tarzan not too long ago. Disney made an animated film (and crappy direct to video sequel) based on Burroughs’ Tarzan, and then their rights to the character expired. That means while Disney still owns the movie they made, they can’t make any sequels featuring the character.
The same thing happened with John Carter. After the Hollywood Trades torpedoed the movie before it was released with negative press filled with doom and gloom, Disney wrote off its box office failure, and we would never see Stanton’s two sequels.
Now the Burroughs Estate claims new movies are planned, but the franchise is so toxic it’s doubtful it’ll be any big budget studio movie. Most likely we’ll see some cheap Asylum-produced direct to video piece of shit starring a washed up Skinemax starlet as the Princess of Mars, and it’ll air on the SyFy Channel before being dumped in the WalMart $5 DVD bin.