‘John Carter of Mars’ & Andrew Niccol’s ‘Now’ Change Titles

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:25 pm,

Two of the more intriguing sci-fi flicks that’ll hit theaters over the next year include Walt Disney Picture’s John Carter of Mars adaptation and writer/director Andrew Niccol’s Now for 20th Century Fox. The twist, however, is that neither film will be arriving under either of those titles.

Both these projects have been renamed by their respective studios, for unspecified reasons. Has either one of them been re-titled in a fashion that makes them sound that much more interesting? Read on…

Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo) is making his live-action directorial debut with the John Carter of Mars movie, which is based on the first entry in Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsoom literary series. The plot revolves around Civil War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is unexpectedly transported to Mars after taking refuge in a mysterious cave. He thereafter gets involved in a war between the inhabitants of the red planet.

Disney has selected to shorten the film’s name to merely John Carter – and frankly, it’s a strange move. The project not only loses some of its immediate brand recognition, it’s also no longer easily identifiable as an imaginative sci-fi genre piece. For all the casual moviegoer will know, John Carter could be some melodrama along the likes of John Q, or a spinoff of Get Carter. Probably not what Disney is hoping for.

The most obvious answer is that Mouse House officials felt the “Mars” is kind of a stigma after the box office failure that was Mars Needs Moms. However, considering what a financial and critical dud that film was, it doesn’t seem likely that too many people will remember it in the future.

Mars Needs Moms Trailer John Carter of Mars & Andrew Niccols Now Change Titles


Shifting gears now to…. Now:  Niccol’s latest mind-tickling sci-fi project was originally titled I’m.Mortal before it was retitled Now last fall. Fox officials seemingly did not think highly of the film’s tricky-to-use name, so they’ve gone ahead and changed the title again, to In Time.

Niccol is best known for crafting stories that revolve around provocative “what if” scenarios (see: The Truman Show, Gattaca, Simone) and In Time will be no exception. The film takes place in a future where the aging gene in humans can be shut off once they reach age 25. Thereafter, individuals must purchase time units and are genetically engineered to die once they (literally) run out of time.

In Time likely won’t benefit drastically (for better or for worse) from the title change, seeing how Niccol’s films (with the exception of Truman Show, which he did not direct) are generally critical hits, but fail to that well at the box office. That could change slightly with his new project, seeing as that it features more bankable screen stars (and starlets) like Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde .


In Time is scheduled for theatrical release this fall on October 28th.

John Carter will hit theaters next year on March 9th, 2012.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox (via Dark Horizons)

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  1. The March release is strange too. I’m wondering if they are expecting an Avatar like movie that stays in theaters for a long time, because it’s a special 3-D experience. Maybe they’re just assuming people will call it “John Carter” and they simpy have a lot of confidence that the product will sell itself.

    • I’m thinking that, with regards to the March release date, Disney is hoping to imitate Alice in Wonderland’s success – to some degree, that is.

  2. What idiots some of the suits must be in Disneys labryinth of legal morass. They have basically reduced one of the first moives of the original fantasy epic to a persons name. It conveys nothing about the movie nor does it evoke any sense of interest to find out more about the movie. John Carter doesnt have the same ring Wall-E is going to have no matter how they spin it.

  3. 1) Wow, it took so long to get the new name (which should have been in the headline of this post).

    2) You are over-anylizing the change.

    3) Shorter names are almost always better for films.

    4) John Carter fans (if there are really any left) probably already know Disney is making the film. Removing the words “of Mars” has no affect.

    5) The general public will learn about the film through trailers and reviews—not the name.

    • Heh, well, over-analyzing is the name of the game here at Screen Rant – and I try to encourage people to actually read my whole article (hence why the new titles weren’t listed in the headline).

      I do agree, the trailers and reviews are what will ultimately help sell John Carter to non-fans. As for films with shorter titles… that is generally quite true, but there are exceptions when it concerns a franchise (see: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) – and we all know that Disney has a thing for starting new franchises. 8-)

      • I’d never even heard of the book series until I heard about the movie. I thought John Carter of Mars was a cooler title

    • John Carter fans (if there are really any left)

      Serious?? There are many ERB fans out there, I count myself as one, are not happy about the change so you are incorrect.

      Shortening a name of a film does not help a film succeed that is asinine to think so. Let’s look at a number of films out there with long names, Pirates of the Caribbean, why not simply shorten it to Pirates? Because it doesn’t connect the film to the long running franchise that Disney has had since the 50’s, well the same is true with John Carter of Mars.

      A new film such as this which is trying to gain a whole new following of fans needs all the help it can get to draw in new people.

  4. “The Kimut of John Carter”, “The Epic Adventures Of John Carter”, “John Carter and The Chronicles of Mars”, “John Carter and the 4th Stone”, all sound much better. I know they don’t want “Mars” anywhere near the title but they need to spice up the name. Names are’nt everything but they do add a lot to what is percieved of a movie. It’s not the be all end all result, but first impressions can either help or hurt a movie and the name is a part of the first impression and selling point.

  5. Renaming John Carter of Mars is a BIG (and silly) mistake. As Sandy pointed out it’s now just some guy’s name. Has anyone else noticed Hollywood’s trend to shorten movie titles to be as brief as possible?

    They REALLY need to give the public a bit more credit for being able to discern this movie from something else that has had the word “Mars” in the title…….”OMH is this Carter person going to invade the Earth like in Mars Attacks???!” or “Is this guy a space pilot like in Mission to Mars???”

    /face palm

  6. Now they have to spend extra money just telling the public what the original title itself could have done.
    Silly Change.

  7. Oh and about John Carter fans,
    What about general movie fans who dont know John Carter from a hole in the ground?

  8. i cant wait for now/in time/ the movie involving time/ time/ young actors getting the push in a great story about time movie.

  9. Are they going to keep the original title for international distribution like what they’re doing with Tintin (Secret of the Unicorn)?

  10. Trust me when I say this,… anyone who knows” John Carter” ,… will know he’s from Earth, transported to Mars.
    There is no stigma attached to Mars, and the first novel’s name has already been claimed.
    Disney will do beyond great in this venture, and we will all get to meet John Carter of Mars,… by the way, “of Mars” is a misnomer, since his travels will cross the solar system, Mars is just where he landed first!…
    which is known as Barsoom,.. there are still planets to be investigated, such as Jupiter, which is known as Jasoom,…. there is a lot more in store!
    If this first movie is a hit, we will all get to see “John Carter” expand his realm,… to even “Beyond the Farthest Star”…
    which is my personal favortite!!!!

  11. Rally the troops,.. I can’t wait to see this movie!!! I’ve beeen waiting my whole life to see these stories brought to screen, just glad Disney had the guts to do so!!! I can’t wait to see these films!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. My screen saver folder contain all 11 of Whelans covers,… revolving,…. I trust more die-hard fans of John Carter have the the same… can I hear a “Boo-yah”?