This weekend, the movie once titled John Carter of Mars -- but now simply titled John Carter -- arrives in theaters. John Carter is a very common name. So, that raised the question: Are people named John Carter excited to see the movie John Carter? To find out, I used an online phone directory and cold-called John Carters in every state asking, "Are you going to see John Carter?"
For every one person who answered, I made another 20 calls -- encountering an endless stream of disconnected phone lines, wrong numbers, voice mail and answering machines (yes, they still exist and, yes, people still play the "fooled you, this is an answering machine" joke). Unfortunately, in four states, John Carter didn't answer his phone (sorry, West Virginia, South Dakota, Alaska and Wisconsin). I can only assume that those John Carters are all in line for tickets.
As for the others, here is how John Carters across the United States answered my question, in the order that I spoke to them.
John Carter of Arkansas: "Is that science fiction? Yeah, probably not. We might buy it when it comes out on DVD."
John Carter of Maryland: "No, we just had a death in the family."
John Carter of Vermont: "I have no idea."
John Carter of Connecticut: "There's a movie coming out called John Carter?"
John Carter of New York: "He's deceased."
John Carter of Missouri: "No, I'm not. How did you get this number?"
John Carter of Oregon: "Yeah, I'm going to see it. It looks exciting. What the hell? I'm famous for a week!"
John Carter of Washington: "We saw it on Monday. We won an online contest for people named John Carter. I liked it, but I didn't realize it was a comedy." [Ed. note: It's not a comedy.]
John Carter of Hawaii: "Yeah, I'm John Carter. Oh, I don't think so. But I'm of an age that makes it difficult to go and see movies."
John Carter of California: "I was planning on it, yes, but not because of my name. I'm been a fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs' books since I was a kid."
John Carter of Nevada: "No, I'm not going to see it. Why the hell would I want to see John Carter? Someone else will go see it and tell me about it. I'm not spending $15 to see no damn movie."
John Carter of Idaho: "Absolutely. I probably wouldn't if it weren't for the name. But my name is John Carter so I thought I better check it out."
John Carter of Montana: "I will not. I live in rural Montana and the closest movie theater is 160 miles away."
John Carter of Wyoming: "John Carter? John Carter hasn't lived here in over 15 years."
John Carter of Utah: "Yes, we were invited to the premiere and already saw it. It was better than expected. We were worried that it would be awful and our name would be forever tarnished."
John Carter of Maine: "Of course. I've read all of the books. To this day it's the only place that I've ever read about three-dimensional chess. If you don't know anything about three-dimensional chess, I suggest you get to the library and check it out.
John Carter of New Hampshire: "John Carter died."
John Carter of Massachusetts: "No. I might see it if it plays on HBO."
John Carter of Rhode Island: "I was thinking about it. Want to hear a story? I bought a house in Providence and I was digging through some stuff left over from the previous owners. I found a John Carter comic book dated Jan. 20, 1976. My son, John Carter IV, was born on Jan. 20. I don't know much about the movie, and I've only seen one trailer. To be honest, I lost a lot of steam after watching that trailer."
John Carter of New Jersey: "I don't know. I haven't been feeling too well. I don't believe there's a plan."
John Carter of Pennsylvania: "No, I'm not. Goodbye."
John Carter of Virginia: "No, I'm not available for anything like that."
John Carter of North Carolina: "We are. And we're all really excited about it. Though, John Carter Sr. probably won't. He's 90 and that would be a little much for him."
John Carter of Delaware: "He's in the other room busy on the computer."
John Carter of South Carolina: "John Carter's been dead for over five years. So, no."
John Carter of Florida: "My wife's currently in the hospital. So, no, I'm not."
John Carter of Georgia: "I don't know what that is."
John Carter of Alabama: "I probably won't go see it. I'm 77 and don't make it to the movies much anymore."
John Carter of Ohio: "Actually, yes. Only because not only is it the full name, it's also the same birth date."
John Carter of Michigan: "Of course I am, all of my people keep asking me about it. It has my name and it's science fiction -- I'll see what it's like."
John Carter of Indiana: "No, I won't. I work nights and I haven't seen the advertisements."
John Carter of Illinois: "I was thinking about it. The name has a lot to do with it. I'm currently writing a book and my story is really off the wall, but it needs editing. Anyway, it looks similar to this movie. So, because of that and the name, I'm probably going to see it."
John Carter of Tennessee: "Yes, because everybody's giving me a ration about it. I wish they would have named it something else because I have a weird background and now people keep accusing me of being reincarnated."
John Carter of Kentucky: "Probably will if we don't rent it. The kids seem to like stuff like that."
John Carter of Iowa: "Probably not. I don't have time. One I'd really like to see is Ghost Rider 2, but I haven't even had time to do that. You know, I used to read a series of books called John Carter of Mars back in 1973, I used to trade them with my neighbor." [After being told the movie is based on those books.] "Oh... I wondered if it was, but I wasn't sure. Yeah, I probably won't see it."
John Carter of Minnesota: "Yes. Our grandchildren have seen the advertisements and they are thrilled. They are convinced that their grandfather is involved somehow."
John Carter of North Dakota: "I've heard something about that. Where's it playing?" [After being told that I don't know] "Golly sakes, the nearest theater is 50 miles away. I'll probably see it. Is it about football?"
John Carter of Nebraska: "I don't plan on seeing it. I don't know what else to say."
John Carter of Kansas: "I've seen it. I received a letter in the mail saying that I was invited. So I RSVPd and showed up. Yeah, I liked it."
John Carter of Texas: "My son is coming in from Lubbock to take us. It's weird to watch TV and see the name. I wonder if the movie theater will let us in for free?"
John Carter of Oklahoma: "Why are you calling? Oh. Well, he's been dead for over 10 years."
John Carter of Colorado: "I'm going to see it, but not because of the title. I'm going to see it because of the books. I'm really into science fiction."
John Carter of Arizona: "No, I'm not going."
John Carter of New Mexico: "I'm not seeing it this weekend, but I will see it. I've heard it's pretty good."
John Carter of Mississippi: "No, I have other plans. Though, my friends keep asking me how much money I've made off of it."
John Carter of Louisiana: "No, I'm not." [His wife jumps on the phone] "But I'm going! He doesn't even know about this movie, I've been trying to tell him. Hey, tell them to make a movie called Rosalyn Carter, because that's my name. Did you know there's a famous person with my name?"
Mike Ryan is the senior writer for Moviefone. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com, GQ.com, New York Magazine and Movieline. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter