(For the record, I've not seen the movie yet)
OK, so Disney is desperately searching for a film genre to mine for a blockbuster. They've beaten their own folio to death, probably killing it for good with the abominable "Sorcerer's Apprentice".
Groping about, someone comes up with the bright idea of taking the Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series and putting it on film. Hey, the books are only a hundred years old!
A series of books so bad, it wasn't even Burroughs' primary money maker. A series of books so bad that, the previous film made from them went straight to DVD just three years ago AND starred a porn actress. A book written about a 19th Century Southerner. A series of books that haven't been popular since, I don't know...my dad read them forty years ago?
Yes, clearly the teens will eat this one up!
Now, does Disney do much advance marketing? Perhaps pushing the books ahead of production (a cheap and easy way to gauge whether its worth making the film)? Nope.
Do they go out and hire a stellar cast of character actors to surround a relatively unknown actor in support of his performance and to take some of the burden off the special effects ported pretty much directly from "Star Wars II"? Nope.
Do they even hire an experienced director, someone who's made just one successful live-action film, like Michael Bay or, well, anyone? Nope. They hire an animation director.
So they make a crappy film (remember, I'm basing it on the 51% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, not personal experience) about an antiquated series of books based on a anachronistic character by using a subprime director and cast...and what happens?