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John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood [Kindle Edition]

Michael D. Sellers
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)

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Book Description

How did Disney's film become a calamity of historic proportions?  Michael Sellers, a Hollywood filmmaker himself, saw the disaster approaching and fought to save the project - but without success. In John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, Sellers details every blunder and betrayal that led to the doom of the motion picture - and that left countless Hollywood careers in the wreckage.

JOHN CARTER AND THE GODS OF HOLLYWOOD examines every aspect of Andrew Stanton's adaptation and Disney's marketing campaign and seeks to answer the question: What went wrong?   It includes a history of Hollywood's 100 year effort to bring the film to the screen, and examines the global fan movement spawned by the film.
 Version 2.0 is now available as of February 23, 2013

Editorial Reviews


"A fair, factual, and enlightening assessment of what went wrong . . . the best corporate history I've read since Disney War." Daniel Butcher, Between Disney.

"A winning book . . . . I have no reservations in recommending John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. Even if you only remotely hold an interest in the film or the moviemaking method, do yourself a favor and purchase this book. I cannot remember an instance when I read 350 pages of anything in 24 hours, but my level of captivation in how methodically and interestingly the content was presented should substantiate why John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood is a must-read. Grade A." Brett Nachman, Geeks of Doom.

"A must read for every fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter and every film buff intrigued by the 'inside baseball' aspects of modern Hollywood." Richard A. Lupoff, Author of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Master of Adventure
"Extensively researched . . . fascinating . . . an engrossing experience, kind of like watching the Titanic headed for the fateful iceberg.  Josh Whalen,

From the Author

Effective February 23, 2013, the Kindle eBook is Version 2.0 which reflects substantive updates available as of that date as well as a thorough copy editing and Kindle formatting upgrade.

Product Details

  • File Size: 693 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Universal Media; 3.0 edition (November 28, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AFCZ1S4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,082 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
105 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story worthy of Edgar Rice Burroughs himself December 2, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Michael Sellers has taken a story worthy of Edgar Rice Burroughs himself and told it with style, skill, fairness, thoroughness - and great affection for the original material. He narrates the gripping saga of the 100-year-old novel's long march to the big screen, during which time much of Burroughs' creative genius was 'strip-mined' by such later icons as Lucas and Cameron. Along the way Sellers treats the reader to an insider's view of today's 'gods of Hollywood,' who are not the autocratic and capricious moguls of a bygone era but equally aggressive, corporate warriors navigating the narrow straits between ever-adjusting, long-term, strategic visions and those pesky, quarterly earnings reports. In this world, cinematic artistry becomes a consumer product; and even a $250-million tentpole film can be sacrificed on the altar of an executive coup or the next acquisition.

In true Burroughs style, this timely tale ends with its own, real-life cliffhanger: will the concluding installments of the Burroughs/Stanton trilogy ever see the light of day, or, more to the point, the warm, inviting light of an IMAX theater? Against all odds, Sellers shows how that just might happen.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read December 10, 2012
Until John Carter I was hardly aware of the impact marketing had on the overall box office career of a movie. I thought, naively, that the final product spoke for itself, and that movies found their audiences no matter what. It turned out I was far from the truth. It's not that John Carter is a perfect movie. If you ask me, I think The Avengers is a more perfect movie. But John Carter is more than a perfect movie in a way, because it's a touching one. It grew on me since I first saw it in the theater, in a way no other movie ever did. It turns out I was not alone in that state of mind, the movie drew spontaneously a fan base like few others in history (and among those fans, professionals that worked on John Carter!). And it still grows today.

The book written by Michael D. Sellers is also touching in a unique way. It is both a love letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel (which I dearly love also), and a journalistic approach to the way Disney handled its own movie, objective when it needs to be (and not afraid of sentences like "we don't know what happened exactly"), also subjective when it needs to. From his unique perspective as both a fan and a filmmaker in his own right, he has somewhat the best position to develop a well-informed point of view, with no stone unturned as far as I can tell.

But my favorite chapter is perhaps the smallest one: "What Would Walt Disney Think?". Indeed. When a company fails to live on its creative roots and only grows by acquisition of outside properties, while neglecting, by intent or most probably incompetence, its own, you wonder how the original spirit of its creator was perverted along the way. My sincere hope is that someone at the higher levels at Disney takes notice, and sees the reasoning behind the development of sequels.

This book is a passionate must-read, for fans but also for anyone interested in modern movie marketing techniques.
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81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Been waiting for this book to come out! November 28, 2012
Finally we are able to read and know what happened with the marketing (or lack there of) of the Disney film, John Carter (of Mars). As someone who is a huge fan of John Carter and thought it a brilliant, well cast and directed film,I am so disappointed regarding the lack of marketing and attention this film was initially given and the politics that played a part in why this happened. Now we are able to read about why this film was doomed from the start. As someone who interacts with thousands of John Carter fans, it is amazing and wonderful to hear how much people love this film who never saw it in the theater, but have discovered it now on DVD. Of course there is always the disappointment from them that they wished they had not listened to Disney and critics alike, and had seen the film on the big screen. It was a pleasure to be able to read this and understand just what happened and why so many people ended up unaware of not only what this film was about, but why that happened. Thankfully, I didn't listen to critics or Disney. I did get to see it on the big screen! And I wasn't disappointed a bit. I fell in-love with a wonderful movie and would love to see and support a sequel. Thank you Michael D. Sellers for The Gods Of Hollywood. I highly recommend this book and definitely give it the 5-star rating it deserves.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Informative, and Never Boring! December 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I downloaded the book on my Kindle just a few days ago and I loved it. It is very informative and really helped me understand the situation that surrounded the (unfortunate) failure of the movie. The author keeps the information coming at a steady pace but it is never overwhelming and never boring. He is concise and the book never gets so bogged down in minutia that you lose interest. I would highly recommend this book for fans of ERB and the movie as well as people who are just interested in movies in general.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What really happened to Disney's John Carter November 29, 2012
This book so impressed me! It's investigative approach is presented in a very balanced and fair way. All of the points made are backed up with direct quotes, articles, and referenced so that the author doesn't simply present his opinions alone. As I read I kept thinking how valuable this book would be for film students, Hollywood marketing classrooms, and it's a brilliant book for anyone interested in Hollywood and the corporate politics, media, and the ins and outs of film marketing. I loved the film John Carter and was so disappointed at the lack of reception it got here in the US. I had high hopes for sequels and even now, after all that's happened, I still hold out some hope that things could turn around. I've found that there are endless misconceptions about what actually happened and this book totally clears them all up. If you're a John Carter fan, then this book is a necessity! You simply have to read it and get the full, straight story about what happened to what was supposed to be a big blockbuster franchise for Disney. But even if you're not a John Carter fan and are not that interested in what happened with that film in particular, but if you ARE interested in the inner workings of the film promotion aspect, I would highly recommend this book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars well told account
A fascinating breakdown of what went wrong with the marketing push for John Carter. I found it most enjoyable. Recommended
Published 8 days ago by Anthony Roper
4.0 out of 5 stars How the movie industry works (or didn't work for "John Carter")
This book is FULL of technical (sometimes dry) details about what went wrong with the theatrical launch of "John Carter. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Gaia
5.0 out of 5 stars Blueprint for disaster.
This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in how movies are publicized. It is well researched, well written, and very enlightening. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary A. Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read
I had always wondered what the real story behind John Carter was and this book did not disappoint. I had always thought it was a fun movie and not deserving of the vitriol laid on... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. J McCulloch
3.0 out of 5 stars if a little light - it's certainly not of the same tone as something...
Not as formal a book as one would think, but an engrossing read and quite interesting. The author actually involves himself with the story - his fandom becomes part of the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jergen Hocks
4.0 out of 5 stars Even handed and engaging
I learned a lot about the business of marketing Hollywood films from this engaging recounting of a recent and epic failure. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fascinating insight into Hollywood politics - and some surprisingly inspiring moments!
Published 2 months ago by bdintokyo
3.0 out of 5 stars author repeats himself to much felt like was getting beat by a dead...
author repeats himself to much felt like was getting beat by a dead horse. still an educational read worth reading or at least skimming.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Needed a Better Proofreader
Very interesting story presenting of how things went awry for the now infamous flop, "John Carter". Read more
Published 3 months ago by ElRob
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read!
"John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood" is a wonderful read for anyone interested in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ landmark John Carter of Mars series or the internal workings of a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joseph Finley
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More About the Author

Michael D. Sellers is an award-winning filmmaker and author who served ten years as a CIA officer and was awarded the CIA Commendation Medal. His books include John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, and Daughter of Samar, which he wrote with his wife Rena. His films as writer and director include Beneath the Blue (2010), Eye of the Dolphin (2007), Karla (2006), and Vlad (2004). Prior to his career as a filmmaker and writer he served 10 years as a CIA Operations officer, earning the CIA's Intelligence Commendation Medal for his service in the Philippines during the violent coup attempt of December 1989. Sellers blogs at

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