On the surface, Ridley Scott's The Martian, released later this month, has the makings of a hit. It is based on a genuine online-to-self-published-ebook-to-must-read-bestseller literary phenomenon. It comes from the directorial hand of the genre genius behind Alien and Blade Runner and it reunites stars Matt Damon with the isolated on a distant planet plot of the $600 million earning critical hit Interstellar.
It's Robinson Crusoe on Mars pitch is clever and original, or it would be if Robinson Crusoe On Mars hadn't already been made in 1964 and promptly flopped at the box office. And this leads us to the issue at hand. The biggest challenge for Damon's interplanetary castaway isn't going to be sciencing the sh*t out of growing some potatoes, it's going to be combating the legacy of virtually every Mars set film that has come before and proved a critical and commercial disaster.
In fact, by now it could be said that the chances of anything decent coming from Mars are a million to one. It's got so bad that even the remake of virtually the only good Mars movie, Total Recall, was too timid even to get its ass to Mars.
For those that did, it was not a successful move. Here are ten times filmmakers tried to turn the fourth rock from the sun into cinematic gold and failed.