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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 117): Panel Discussion – Is Mars Cursed?

In episode 117 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks a panel of SF Signal Contributors: Is Mars cursed?

This week’s panel:

© 2012
Featuring original music by John Anealio


About Patrick Hester (527 Articles)
Patrick Hester is a writer, blogger, podcasting dude, Denver transplant and all around Functional Nerd. Don't hate him cuz he has a cool hat.

5 Comments on The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 117): Panel Discussion – Is Mars Cursed?

  1. Very enjoyable podcast.

    re: John Carter: Where the frell did Disney sink $100,000,000 in advertising? Did you see the posters they put up for the movie? I could have photoshopped something better my own self.

    Yeah, ‘Barsoom’ would have been a better title. Or ‘A Princess of Mars’. Or LotR 5. Or ‘Star Wars: Episode 0.001’. (Liked the ‘Henry Jones’ comment very much.)

    BTW Disney did not say they lost money on _John Carter_. They said they were going to take a $200,000,000 ‘write-down’ this quarter on the movie. For those who don’t know, that’s accountant-speak for cookin’-the-books. I distinctly recall that _Star Wars_ set new records for gross gate income when it came out in 1977. Has it yet made a profit on the books? Were I George Lucas and a movie showed a profit, I would fire every accountant in the department.

    I saw the movie twice in the theater. I would have seen it more, but it was gone after 3 weeks. I, too, shall buy the DVD, rip it to disk, and watch it again and again. (Remember when the critics said _Blade Runner_ was a bust?) I heard Disney already has a sequel in the works? Is this true?

  2. I agree that John Carter was marketed poorly, and the clips that were show as previews were very generic. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I’ve not yet seen “John Carter.” I think it was a mistake to drop the “Of Mars” from the film’s name. From the previews, it didn’t even appear to be a science fiction story to me; it looked more like a generic action movie. In fact, the clips that were shown seemed to focus only on the computer-generated graphics and not on the story itself. Disney definitely dropped the ball when marketing this.

    I know this sounds old school, but I think as an industry, film makers have become too reliant on special effects to entertain and to get people excited about movies. On the other side, I look at a classic SciFi like “Lost In Space,” and my kids ages 9, 11 and 14 can’t wait to watch the weekly episode that’s shown on TV in my market every Saturday at 8PM. The special effects are laughable by today’s standards, but the story and the character acting by Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith) is exceptional. I think that if film makers want to get the masses excited about science fiction again, they need to sell a quality story instead of just the special effects.

  3. There is a LARGE “Back to Barsoom” group on Facebook ( and with a website and a petition to Disney’s Chairman for a sequel (

    The film did very well overseas, the 2nd highest grossing international picture so far this year. It also did well in Japan. The marketing was obviously flawed.

    Good article on the background at

  4. So far (I’m listening as I comment), no one – not even Fred – has mentioned the film Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, a film that I am positive has made its budget back and then some.

    I mention it because it is probably THE SINGLE WORST FILM to have “Mars” in the title and to feature Mars as setting.

    And it is proof positive that making a profit is not the indicator by which a film’s worth should be mentioned.

    John Carter was an atrocious film, a bad adaptation and suffered greatly from the director (Stanton) trying to make the “Pixar method” apply to live action – which he has now admitted in several interviews did not work.

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