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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 (165 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
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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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,756 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 109 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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74 of 79 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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78 of 84 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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44 of 48 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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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on John Carter and a Hopeful Disney Sequel January 18, 2013
Great great read !!! This book tells it like it is and beautifully documents the bad decision making of Disney executives in the marketing of this movie - I was pleasantly surprised at how this author writes or rather tells a story in a manner that captivates and exposes the hidden details of a studio with interesting clarity - I can't over emphasize how good of a writer Sellers is which I didn't expect at all given the documentary subject I thought was about a movie and a movie studio - the history of these novels and the author Edgar Rice Burroughs is worth the read by itself - the research put into the in depth look about Disney makes this book fascinating to read - it is almost impossible to put it down - I have read many books by the great authors such as Raymond Chandler, Jules Verne, James Fennimore Cooper and I have to say the writing style of Sellers is a gift - Sellers is a great documentary writer who puts insight and feeling into the subject - this is simply refreshing to read - a great book and a fascinating read !

As a side note I find it very odd that fans should proclaim this a great movie and spent a quarter of a billion dollars of their own money to date to watch it in various formats but the snobs who prefer a movie about chainsaw hacking and failed relationships sniffed their pious noses at this well done movie

I would hope Disney has the good sense to make a sequel to John Carter and this time consult with people like the writer of this book about titles and marketing strategy and timing - there already is a huge fan base waiting for it to happen with money in hand !!!

Bring on the popcorn !!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for John Carter fans
This book covers and interesting topic: the inner workings of Hollywood, and how a major piece of literature could end up being a poor adaptation, something that has happened many... Read more
Published 12 days ago by HoneyBadger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about Hollywood and How it Works!
If you ever wondered how Hollywood makes its decisions about a film and the politics that go on behind the scenes in the industry, this is a book you will enjoy. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Wendy Van Camp
4.0 out of 5 stars window into movie business
As a film fan that enjoys the making-of features on DVDs, I found the description of all the behind the scenes efforts fascinating. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Paul Corr
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware
Are you the kind of person who feels mortally offended when Hollywood botches the filmed version of your favorite book? Read more
Published 1 month ago by MEC
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, though repetative
This book was obviously a labor of love for the author, he started a blog to raise support for the movie and edited the fan trailer that even got the notice of Andrew Stanton. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tina
1.0 out of 5 stars Not What You Think It Is
Before I start, I want to point something out: every negative review of this book has a TON of 'unhelpful' votes by the people who this book is intended for. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Troy Blackford
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably should have been titled "The Origions of Flash Gordon"
Some parts were interesting. As the original archetype for Flash Gordon, Star Wars and of course the sexy alien babes on star Trek, John Carter of Mars never had the instant... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kevin J. Kearney
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring Back John Carter!
When John Carter came out, I hadn't seen any of the marketing for it. One day I was walking near the theater, and I see that John Carter is playing! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pigglies
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Intriguing and engaging, John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood examines the long, storied history of the adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' pulp classic A Princess of Mars as a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roger McCoy
1.0 out of 5 stars couldn't finish it
I got this book for free, and the topic sounded really interesting to me. But I tried to read it and just lost interest after a couple chapters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Todd Bradley
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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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