This morning I decided (more on a whim than anything else) to pick up the new 3D Blu ray of JOHN CARTER only to discover that it is sold out – everywhere. First I went to Target. It had the lowest price in the area, twenty bucks (with a Disney discount coupon), according to my admittedly informal research. The movie was gone. A sympathetic store manager looked up the inventory on the computer for the other Target stores and they were sold out as well. He called three stores indicating that a few copies remained. They were just running behind in updating their “in-stock” numbers to zero.
I tried Fry’s and Best Buy and it was the same story. Several employees said that they’d sold out on Tuesday, when JOHN CARTER first became available. All of them expressed astonishment at how quickly the title had headed out the door.
I finally managed to track down JOHN CARTER in Arlington when a guy at Best Buy said, “Your timing is perfect. We just got in another shipment.” I had just about resigned myself to go to Wautaga, where the Target manager said there were still some discs available – maybe (he couldn’t get them to answer the phone!).
Normally, I would have been my usual furious self when I
became aware of the dimensions of this phenomenon. Instead, I was absolutely thrilled at what strikes me as
being a rare and heartfelt and vast outpouring of consumer confidence and good will, not to Disney, but
to Andrew Stanton, writer / director / creative force behind TOY STORY, A BUG’S LIFE, FINDING NEMO, and WALL-E. At least, that's my interpretation -- and my hope.
I haven’t been online yet to check things out, but I bet this same scenario is being played out everywhere. Thanks to the internet, I suspect that enough people have heard about the poor handling of a decent movie, and the resulting blow dealt to a wonderful director, to begin to redress the financial fiasco that was the initial theatrical release of JOHN CARTER.PS – Ray Bradbury might also have something to do with what is going on here.