A movie version of the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs “John Carter of Mars” books has been hanging around in development hell at Disney for longer than I care to remember. Now, it looks like it may be the merger between Disney and Pixar which finally gets it done.

The news comes from an ER Burroughs tribute site, where they claim the Pixar team showed up at their offices to search through their archives in preparation for beginning work on a John Carter of Mars movie. Present were Jim Morris, Andrew Stanton, and Mark Andrews. Let me take just a moment to say how utterly jealous I am that someone got to hang out in a room with these guys and it wasn’t me. It was a good day to be a Burroughs collector.

Apparently Pixar is planning to make a big commitment to John Cater, so big that they’re doing an entire trilogy of John Carter films. Projected release date for the first one they say, is some time in 2012.

The big question for me is what kind of movie will this be? Before Pixar’s involvement, the movie had already gone through several incarnations. In one it was supposed to be an R-rated adventure movie full of bare-breasted women for adults. In another, it was being turned into a watered down family movie. With Pixar involved you probably assume they’re making a family movie… but if they’re looking for a new way to take computer animation and push it more towards the adult arena this would definitely be an incredible project for Pixar to do it with since, if you’ve read the books, you know that’s where they belong.

There’s a push for computer animation to try it’s hand at more adult films. Beowulf comes out this fall and it’s clearly geared towards adults. Much of James Cameron’s next movie Avatar is rumored to be CGI with motion-capture, and that’s definitely a not-for-kids movie. What if Pixar wants to take its shot at that market as well?

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