Bryan Cranston Is Still Sour His Underrated Blockbuster Didn’t Do Better

Bryan Cranston thinks the negative reputation of 2012's John Carter is due to box office performance and not its artistic merits.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

Bryan Cranston is still frustrated that the 2012 science fiction adventure film John Carter, in which he portrayed a 19th-century Union Army colonel,  is regarded as a flop. According to a new interview with Collider, Bryan Cranston feels that the Disney movie did not get its due at the time (or now, for that matter), due to financial conversations. Specifically, the Breaking Bad star feels that film critics have largely been replaced by news reports that value box office returns rather than the artistic merits of a movie.

Bryan Cranston John Carter

Bryan Cranston has starred in many movies and television, but perhaps none with quite the reputation as John Carter. The Disney film was directed by Andrew Stanton (best known for the Pixar films Finding Nemo and WALL-E), who co-wrote it along with Mark Andrews (of Pixar’s Brave) and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, and starred Taylor Kitsch (still hot from Friday Night Lights), Willem Dafoe, and Thomas Haden Church. It was based on an influential series of science fiction adventure novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and was expected to be the start of a new franchise.

In short, it was a pretty big deal. As one might expect, actors like Bryan Cranston were very invested in the huge budget, widely promoted John Carter, and likely not very pleased when it developed a reputation as one of Disney’s biggest modern failures. As Collider pointed out, the movie made $284 million at the box office, which is not a small amount of money; however, it also had a gargantuan budget of approximately $350 million. Reportedly, the box office failure of John Carter put the entire Walt Disney Company into the red for a quarter, which is both impressive and horrifying. 

Although Bryan Cranston starred in a historic bomb like John Carter, it has not seemed to have affected his career adversely. He has starred in massive box office successes like the most recent reboot of Godzilla and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in the David Fincher biopic Trumbo, as well as less notable films like Why Him?, The Infiltrator, and Get a Job. Bryan Cranston also returned for the feature film reboot of Power Rangers, a television series he had appeared on multiple times in his earlier years as an actor.

In other words, Bryan Cranston has a certain sense of loyalty to his past projects, whether it is Power Rangers or John Carter. In the same vein, he reportedly is pursuing a reboot of his Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, though Frankie Muniz says one (unnamed) original member of the cast is still currently a holdout. It seems unlikely that even Bryan Cranston will be able to get a reboot of John Carter off the ground, but he is still ready to defend its reputation.