Monday, March 1, 2010

ElecTRONic Chatter...

It's amazing how times change your perception of things...

Take the film "Tron" for example. When it came out it was a huge disappointment to Walt Disney Productions. They expected this to be their new "Star Wars" and when it was released not that many went and saw it. Over time, the storyline has proven to be ahead of its time (not the script, mind you). And as the passage of years goes by it's gathered more and more followers to where it's now a cult hit. Over the past decade there has been talk of finally making a sequel, but most of it was rumors that never made it anywhere other that the whispers of fan boys in pop culture's hallway.

Then there was that concept trailer that Walt Disney Pictures snuck in as a surprise for Comic-Con attendees a couple years ago. The crowds reaction was the final element needed to get the Suits to pull the trigger on the sequel. Soon with the release of "Alice" an actual 3D teaser for the film can be seen for the first time. This is the one many people got to check out last week when they followed that viral campaign to several locations across the country. And come late summer you can expect an actual trailer with more of the journey into the world of Tron. It's evolved a lot in a generation and this holiday season we're finally going to get to see it. We're a long way from the disappointment of 1982.

It's taken twenty-eight years to change this. 2010 will be a huge year for the sequel to Tron. Huge. And should the box office returns provide what Disney Suits with smiling faces then you can expect a whole lot more over the coming years. On the theatrical front, this could be the beginning of a new trilogy. And I'm not talking about including the original Tron. If all goes according to plan you could see this as the first in a trilogy of films that start with the word "Tron" and end somewhere else... Legacy is only the beginning. There are preliminary plans to milk this into a franchise of "Pirate" proportions. And the buzz from it so far is very good.

And that's not the only Tron project they're planning on having for us in the possible future. The plans have been put into motion for a computer animated television series that could conceivably be up by late 2011/early 2012. This would be something of a placeholder to keep the fans interest still peaked in between this first film and the next one. No word yet on where it will wind up being broadcast. It's not known if it'll be staged for the Mouse's fledgling boy channel Disney XD or the more mainstream ABC network, but as of now the concept has been greenlit for a pilot. We'll see how this project evolves down the development line as the film's release gets closer.

Then there is the merchandise that you're going to see flood the parks come this October/November. Expect Tomorrowland to be filled with all things Tron. And some of the areas are being talked about getting "thematic" makeovers. If you're into Retro-Eighties with the Captain Eo attraction back for a limited run, then prepare for more, albeit fictional nostalgia. Should it get approved, you might get to see the arcade next to Space Mountain turned into a variation of "Flynn's Arcade." We'll cross our fingers and see if the Suits make the call on this one.

Naturally, there's the talk of a Tron attraction at Disneyland and various other theme parks. WDI is working on concepts for a Tron experience, but don't expect a fully immersive Tron Legacy attraction by the time the film opens. Any attraction wouldn't be seen in Tommowland until 2012 at the earliest... but that doesn't mean there won't be surprises between now and then.

I've been told that nothing has been signed off on for an E-Ticket, but Imagineers are working to create an impressive addition to the already talked about elaborate expansion of Disneyland for the sixtieth anniversary. While my Bothans were spare with the details since they are in the embryonic phase, they none-the-less said that the concepts are pure, Disney spectacle and absolute techno-geek magic. There are many things that are being planned in this blue sky phase, but remember that it's early. Just like the Tron universe, these designs/plans are likely to evolve.

Box office results will factor into this so remember that mileage may vary depending on what the final tally is. Either way, the word for Disney's future is out there.

And it's spelled T-R-O-N...


Anonymous said...

"...We're a long way from the disappointment of 1982."


People today forget that many of the Disney films that are held in high regard today were initially disappointments when they first came out.

I personally am not a huge fan of Tron, but I love the idea of the Tron world.
It would be pretty cool to have a Tron attraction.

Thanks for this interesting bit of info Honor. :)

Even though there has been a lot of comment drama on your blog in the past, don't let it bother you. Please know that information like this is always appreciated. :)
I'm especially interesting in Disneyland so I always enjoy reading your info about the theme parks in California.

TRON UNIT said...

Bluesky's coverage of Tron Legacy never lets me down. Keep up the good work, Honor.

And if you can score me a Flynn Lives t-shirt or other Tron swag from Tommorland I would be forever grateful. ;)

Elect Tron said...

For a brief moment there I thought this would be some news about a Time Tunnel remake, but it's just Tron2 chatter.
If this Tron doesn't do well at the box office, like the first one, they may have to add the word princess to the title on any planned sequels.
Still sore about that Tangled debacle.

Anonymous said...

"Over time, the storyline has proven to be ahead of its time"

Huh? There is no explanation of how this is true. It was a boring movie when it appeared and it is still very boring to me now. It is certainly not more ahead than Star Trek.

A cult movie is one where it develops a fan base over time rather than its time of release. It is true of other science fiction stories too. Star Trek can be compared to it, but Paramount did a much better job of cashing in to the cult following than Disney did of Tron.

nojarama said...

L-O-V-E it!

JSW said...

1982' s "Tron" was a dull, flat, lifeless bore that didn't even LOOK all that good, even at the time. It failed at the box office. Its goodwill developed primarily based on the CONCEPT of "Tron" rather than the actual execution.

I'll withhold judgment on the new one, but only comment on what I've seen from the trailer. It looks cold, impersonal and -- well, like "Tron," but with better visuals. (No handpainted "neon" on the suits that disappears whenever characters move too quickly.) It looks like a Disney-ized version of "The Matrix," and that's not NECESSARILY a bad thing, but where's the humor and passion? It feels completely dispassionate, literally programmed to get fanboys cheering.

To plan future business based on tracking data and marketing polling, not on the movie itself, is as dangerous today as it was 30 years ago, when Disney planned all sorts of "Black Hole" ideas and, a couple of years later, "Tron" ideas that never panned out.

I'd be all for seeing a "Tron"-inspired Tomorrowlnad, but if it's just to capitalize on a movie that has not yet proven itself as a success, it's something that as a shareholder I'd have serious reservations about Disney doing.

In the end, I feel like the number of people that will really be excited about a "Tron" remake/sequel enough to go see it will be about the same as ... the number of people who saw it to begin with. Its appeal is primarily nostalgia based.

I hope, hope, hope I am proven wrong, I really do.

jedited said...

I asked the question of box office to the director and publicist at the D23 Expo and they said, "it did as well or better than the similar Blade Runner, but it didn't do as well as ET (but only maybe 5 movies EVER did that), so it was consider a failure."
To compare Tron to Star Wars or ET is unfair. You are comparing Tron (with a $17 mil budget) to movies (with bigger budgets) that DOMINATE the top ten movies of ALL time.
I will however GLADLY take a comparsion to Star Trek.
Tron did $33 mil in 1982.
Star Trek did a high of $109 mil with Star Trek IV in 1986 and a low of $43 mil with Nemesis in 2002

Anonymous said...

Things may be falling into place for Legacy. Jeff Bridges is the odds on favorite to win the Best Actor Oscar this week. This will add huge legitimacy to those who haven't seen the original Tron. Many will be sucked in just by him. As far as a Tron being a major Tomorrowland influence, sounds good to me. I'm still pissed the peoplemover is gone, along with the section that took us into Tron's world. I frickin' loved that portion of the ride.

Alan One said...

Jeff Bridges gets all the credit but Bruce Boxleitner IS Tron.

JSW said...

Oh, btw, Anonymous, let's not forget that "Jaws: The Revenge" had the advantage of having a recent Oscar winner in the lead role ... that didn't make it good.

JSW said...

Jedited, I'm suspicious of that $33 million number, which even Boxofficemojo reports, though its own charts show "Tron" at $26 million domestically. It was a massive, massive letdown that didn't spark any enthusiasm at all.

Suddenly, the movie goes from $26,061,388 domestic gross to an exactly round $33,000,000 without any explanation.

But even if you accepted that figure, it wasn't even in the top 20 films of 1982, which was hardly a memorable year overall.

What they're trying to do is justify a sequel to a movie that not many people saw in the first place.

For anyone who was a teenager in 1982, let's face it -- "Tron" had GREAT marketing and a GREAT concept, and bad execution.

Whatever the producers want to say, though, the original "Tron" WAS a failure. "The Apple Dumpling Gang" actually performed better at the box office than "Tron" did.

Matt said...

At the VERY least, Disney should, as you said, turn that lifeless arcade next to Space Mountain into Flynn's Arcade. That would probably get people RUSHING into that place...

Anonymous said...

"We're a long way from the disappointment of 1982."

I was 11 years old when TRON was released. I didn't think that it was a disappointment then and still don't think that it is a disappointment when viewing it now. Of course I have the ability to separate a film from the technology of it's time. I can even watch a movie made in the 1930's! I feel sorry for the younger people of today who clamor so much to hate things. One day THE MATRIX will be laughed at in much the same way. Of course, I hated that movie from the start, so I guess I'm a hypocrite. At least I can get over such concepts as the passage of time.

Airport to disney said...

Hiya, hope the marketing plays an important role in the popularity or decline of a film. A good initial marketing can be a platform for success.


"1982 which was hardly a memorable year."

No way! Blade Runner, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Conan the Barbarian, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, The Dark Crystal, The Secret of Nimh, Poltergeist, First Blood, Rocky III, John Carpenter's The Thing, and Tron. 1982 was the best summer of my youth!

Kevin WIllis said...

Even at $26 million, Tron made a profit. Add to that video sales (I had Tron on BetaMax, baby, and of course bought the DVD when it came out) and television sales (I saw Tron dozens of times on HBO). It was released on Laser Disc. Tron was released on the RCA Video Disc format (remember, when they thought that playing movies off of something like a vinyl record was a good idea?). Plus, the more recent video games have done very well (and, frankly would have done better if they had been ported to all consoles).

It's a big investment, and Dinsey's weird mishandling of the recent "trailer" event that left fans pretty much universally ticked off at Disney doesn't exactly bode well. But I liked the original, I think it still holds up as a very unique piece of film-making, can't wait to see this film, and I expect it will do much better than the naysayers are expecting.

And I'd definitely hit a Flynn's Arcade at Disney World, given I probably won't be back at Disneyland for decades.

Anonymous said...

"We're a long way from the disappointment of 1982."

I was 11 years old when TRON came out. I didn't regard the movie as a disappointment from my young vantage point then, and I do not regard it as a disappointment now from my older point of view and when compared to the advances of effects technology available today. I have always been able to separate a film from the technology of the time when it was made in order to enjoy the film on it's own merits, even when I was a kid. I feel sort of sorry for younger people today who unable to enjoy works of art and entertainment outside of their own limited lifetimes. Yes lad, time goes on and on, and hopefully someday in the future someone younger will insult one of your favorite modern films as being too old to even enjoy. Perhaps the THE MATRIX or THE DARK KNIGHT will be the target of their nearly uncontrollable hatred, the likes I see displayed now in forums all over the internet concerning the original TRON. Stop hating things so much younger people.

Steve Talkowski said...

This is all great news!

I was, however, a bit confused as to your moniker - before they were Blue Sky Studios, a few of the founding members worked on the original TRON as "MAGI/Synthavision", producing 1/3 of the CGI animation, including the light cycles, battle tanks and recognizers. I thought perhaps Blue Sky (now owned by FOX) and Disney were up to something. You can see how one might be draw that conclusion... ;)

Van GoghX said...

Sounds like we're entering Disney's decade of Tron! Interesting how what was considered a mediocre property (not by me though!) is being considered to become a huge franchise.
'Bout time is all I've got to say.

Anonymous said...

love it, i never saw the original as a failure and saw it for what it was. amovie that was way ahead of its time for the 80's.

can't wait to see the movie later this year and hopefully a new tomorrowland

jedited said...

I have a 7 year old and Tron is one of his favorite movies. He is VERY excited about the sequel.
So don't hate on young people. Not all of them are bad.
Also, NO one considers Tron a failure. It did HUGE licensing business, BIGGER home video sales (heck we saw it on a reel to reel at my school before VCRs) and it lauched the careers or encourged the careers of most of the big names in CGI today (including our own John Lasseter).

pcmemoirs said...

I agree with the last two comments. Tron was ahead of its time, and it didn't look bad. In fact, I just saw it last night, and I thought it looked pretty good for 1982! I also found that the movie is quite entertaining, so what's with the 'bad execution' reference? And we all know Disney doesn't make money just from the box office intake. There are video rentals/sales and sale of merchandise. And, in TRON's case, there were video games too. TRON was not a failure, but a moderate success! And with the recent DVD release, they made even more money. I can't wait for the sequel!

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recherche appartement a louer said...

Sounds like we're entering Disney's decade of Tron! Interesting how what was considered a mediocre property (not by me though!) is being considered to become a huge franchise.

adult sms said...

People today forget that many of the Disney films that are held in high regard today were initially disappointments when they first came out.