Andrew Stanton is the writer/director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, two of my favorite films of all time. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I saw John Carter and found it to be one of the worst movies I had seen all year. It didn't fair better with anyone else, getting negative reviews and losing Disney a reported $200 million. Up until now, Stanton has remained fairly quiet about the experience, in a recent interview with the LA times he finally opened up about what went wrong.
You can read the full interview here, but these are the highlights:
-One thing that Stanton doesn't blame for the failure is studio interference, the one thing that directors usually bitch about. "I was left alone from day one to the last day," in his own words.
-This was his first live action film, Stanton didn't seem to be ready for the different restrains and issues that come with a film that isn't done on a computer. He described his basic philosophy on filmmaking as "fail as fast as you can". With an animated film, you have the chance to fix most of your mistakes. Live action doesn't allow for that level of forgiveness. The film did have a number of reshoots, but those only served to generate negative publicity for the film.
-While many people cite bad marketing for the film's failure, Stanton doesn't seem to hold any grudges about it. "The truth was everyone tried their very best to crack how to sell what we had, but the answer proved elusive."
So, while I do kind of wish that Stanton acknowledged the very blatant flaws of the film itself, I appreciate that he seems to be taking its failure with humility and maturity. Your movie may have sucked, Mr. Stanton, but you certainly don't.