Bryan Cranston on "John Carter", echoing alot of the comments in this thread:
AVC: Speaking of movies about Mars: Just about everyone else has weighed in on this, but as a cast member in John Carter, what did you think about the way it was received at the box office?
Bryan Cranston: I thought it was unwarranted. I enjoyed the film; perhaps I’m too close to it, but I really did. I thought it was a fun family adventure. You know, I think… [Hesitates.] Something’s happened in our society which I don’t think is beneficial, and that’s that you see the public being fed box-office news. Newscasts now, every local station—I’ve been traveling around the country a lot, and you see the local news, and they give box-office reports. What movie came in at No. 1, making how much money in just a week, and No. 2 made this much money, and No. 3, and they go down and do the top five in 20 seconds of time, when they should be giving a review.
Give a review! Give an informative, intelligent review of a film that actually helps people decide what movies they’d like to see. “Hey, here’s what I recommend for the family, and if you’re an adult, here’s what I recommend for you. It’s a little out-there, but it’s a fun adventure, blah blah blah…” In the same amount of time, you can actually give some informative news to someone, as opposed to… Why is it all of a sudden important for average Americans to know how much money a movie made at the box office? Once again, that equates in their mind with “This is what is good.” “If it makes money, it is good. If it doesn’t make money, it is not good, don’t waste your time.” And it’s killing art. It’s the same thing Ronny Cox was saying: There’s dozens of dollars to be made out there in folk music… [Laughs.] But does that mean don’t go see folk music, just because it doesn’t pull in multi-millions of dollars on concert tours? So we just have to get away from that.
I kept hearing, “It’s not tracking. John Carter is not tracking well.” I was like, “What do you mean it’s not tracking?” “Oh, it’s only going to make $18 million this weekend. That’s not good. It’s going to collapse, it’s going to be a flop.” And this is before anyone had even seen it, before any reviews had come out. I think it’s totally legitimate for someone to take it to task and say, “Artistically, I think this was good and this was not so good.” That’s fine. I have no problem with someone doing that. I just have this problem with someone looking at it from a strictly financial standpoint and determining worth by that component. An opinion, even if you hated it, I can’t argue that point, because, okay, if that’s how you felt. But you say, “Well, it only made $37 million, it can’t be any good,” well, I have a problem with that. “Did you see it?” “Well, no…” Sorry to get up on my high horse there. [Laughs.] But there are people who just hold on the money and treat it as a review of the film. And it’s not.