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Old March 15 2011, 01:49 PM   #1
23skidoo
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Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

In some respects the fact there appears to be no threads at all on this forum dedicated to Mars Needs Moms probably answers this question to a degree, but I wonder what happened?

Apparently the Robert Zemeckis film, the latest in his motion-capture 3-D CGI series, tanked bigtime over the weekend, and looks like it could be the 3-D equivalent of Heaven's Gate as a mega-money loser ($150M budget, $7M opening weekend is a flop by any measure, even if one assumes it'll eventually make the money back on Blu-ray).

For my part, I never even heard of this film till it opened, unlike Rango which had quite a bit of advance publicity. I've even heard more about that CG film with the Gray that's coming out (I can't remember the title, though) then I did about this one. And my first impression was maybe this was a remake of Mars Needs Women, the old cult film from the 60s.

The reviews were mixed, but the didn't seem to be overly bad, certainly no better, no worse than Battle for LA or Red Riding Hood, which both did better.

I won't call it the "bubble popper" but is it possible audiences are starting to grow tired of these 3-D animated extravaganzas? I see Rango stayed at No. 2 and I believe that's a good old-fashioned 2-D film. Chinks in 3-D's armor? I certainly hope so as one who dislikes that format, but other than pushback against 3-D I can't really see any other reason why a film like Mars Needs Moms would have tanked so spectacularly.

Thoughts?

Alex
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Old March 15 2011, 02:20 PM   #2
Nowhere Man
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I don't think it got a lot of press and the press it did get was sort of bad or shifty. They were more concerned with Seth Green getting replaced than the actual movie. Look at Rango, it's gotten awsome press, the trailers are awsome and theres one where we see Johnny Depp actually acting out the scene, how cool is that? We get an understanding of what the movie is all about. From the MNM trailer all I know is that things fly around and stuff happens. I don't know what this film is about. Plus it just doesn't seem to appeal to adults at all, maybe i'm wrong. This looks like one of those throw away animated movies, not a Toy Story or Cars. I would expect better from Zemeckis, but then again even the greats fall into the CG trap every once in a while. Lucas fell in and became the dark overloard.
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Old March 15 2011, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I think Rango killed it as far as demographic competition, and honestly, the name is cringeworthy. What I saw of it in the trailers was also rather creepy--total "Uncanny Valley" effect.
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Old March 15 2011, 03:11 PM   #4
JRoss
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

Looks like garbage, so nobody wants to see it. Yes, a lot of people are getting tired of 3D. Getting tired of paying a lot more per ticket for something that in now way enhances the film.
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Old March 15 2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

My kids had ZERO interest in seeing this. I think, for a while, we've had a glut of cheapo CGI animated movies that tried to rely too heavily on the "wow" factor of the new technology.. And then compound that with 3-D... Because these cheapo movies are so bad, movies with a big budget seem more likey to tank.

I read this morning that the instant flop of MNM was the final straw in having Disney kill Zemeckis' plans to redo "Yellow Submarine" (Thank God)...
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Old March 15 2011, 04:11 PM   #6
Brian
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I haven't been moved to see it because:

Even though much of today's animated fare is not just for kids (see: Rango), the title of this film makes it seem like it's solely for kids.

Dead-eyed CGI humans. They haven't improved much since Polar-zombie Express.
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Old March 15 2011, 04:21 PM   #7
Captain Craig
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I think a few problems existed for Mars Needs Moms. The biggest being that it looked uninteresting. I treat the 12yr old next door to a movie once a month for walking my dogs and his words were "the Mars movie looks dumb, lets see Rango".

-It looked dumb
-Good competition in Rango and Gnomeo&Juliet
-In 3-D

If a movie already looks questionable audiences, it seems, aren't inclined to pay the upcharge and gamble on the flick. Audiences, imo, are starting to wise up to this 3-D gimmick which it has quickly become. Splashing 3-D into the film for a few minutes is not getting value for your $$$$.

That said had it been in straight 2-D it would've only done marginally better. Accounting for the gap in price between the two formats. It's biggest problem was the concept is dumb to it's target audience. I don't care how well the book(s) sold.
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Old March 15 2011, 04:34 PM   #8
God Magnus
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I think part of it was promotion and part of it was the core concept. I saw trailers for the movie, but that's it. No advance interviews, no print ads (until the movie came out, then they were everywhere). Rango on the other hand has been all over the place (TV, trailers, billboards etc.).

Then the concept is well, odd. The title is IMO cringe worthy and the story wasn't explained well in the trailers. Sure, Mars needs mothers...why? Do all their moms suck at their jobs? Did they all leave to start a war elsewhere or something? Without that "hook" there wasn't anything to grab you for the movie.

I'm also not a big fan of the designs in the movie. Nothing "popped" on the technology side and the aliens just didn't seem interesting in any way.

I am sad that Zemeckis didn't produce a winner here. I'd like to see a cool, live action film from him again. It's been too long.
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Old March 15 2011, 04:41 PM   #9
JoeZhang
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

The posters made it look awful - there is one where the alien kid looks like some creepy sex offender looking to grab some kid off the streets.
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Old March 15 2011, 04:45 PM   #10
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
I think a few problems existed for Mars Needs Moms. The biggest being that it looked uninteresting. I treat the 12yr old next door to a movie once a month for walking my dogs and his words were "the Mars movie looks dumb, lets see Rango".

-It looked dumb
-Good competition in Rango and Gnomeo&Juliet
-In 3-D

If a movie already looks questionable audiences, it seems, aren't inclined to pay the upcharge and gamble on the flick. Audiences, imo, are starting to wise up to this 3-D gimmick which it has quickly become. Splashing 3-D into the film for a few minutes is not getting value for your $$$$.

That said had it been in straight 2-D it would've only done marginally better. Accounting for the gap in price between the two formats. It's biggest problem was the concept is dumb to it's target audience. I don't care how well the book(s) sold.
I think having it in 2D would've helped sell more tickets but wouldn't have come close to saving it. As you said, there was strong competition. Apparently, Disney had already closed the animation studio responsible for MNM months ago and the only reason this film was released was because they'd sunk so much into it already. That doesn't make a lot of sense considering a wide release costs serious money in marketing, and they would've lost less had they just pulled the plug as soon as they realized the movie wasn't shaping up.
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Old March 15 2011, 05:22 PM   #11
C.E. Evans
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

No self-respecting kid would want to see a movie with "Mom" in the title...
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Old March 15 2011, 05:24 PM   #12
Mr Light
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I saw very little advertising for it... compared to Rango which was just everywhere.
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Old March 15 2011, 06:03 PM   #13
Electric Coleslaw
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I think the actual title of this movie is "Disney Needs Writeoffs".
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Old March 15 2011, 06:11 PM   #14
Hyperspace05
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

What happened??? Do you even have to ask?

I'll tell you what happened - They made a film that looks like crap. So nobody saw it.

It's not any more complicated than that.
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Old March 15 2011, 07:01 PM   #15
davejames
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Re: Mars Needs Moms: what happened?

I don't think 3D fatigue had anything to do with it. For whatever reason, scifi-themed animated movies (aimed mostly at boys) have just never done very well (going all the way back to Treasure Planet and Titan AE). Why they suddenly thought THIS one would work is a complete mystery.

Especially with a crap title like that.
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