Thursday, January 13, 2011

28 Years Versus 28 Months...

Game on, again...




I'm sure you all saw that post over at Ain't It Cool News yesterday...

Now, I have no confirmation of this. In fact, I've been waiting to hear back from several bothans, and I know as of last week the Bothans in Glendale were still waiting to hear if their proposals would be moving forward out of the blue sky phase.

But according Harry and his sources, the Mouse is about to green light a third Tron film. A sequel to Legacy would be the second of a proposed new trilogy that sets the original in a place of its own. Now I know many people didn't expect another Tron film, several have considered this one a bomb. It's not a bomb, but it certainly isn't the "Star Wars" type of blockbuster that Disney was hoping for. That said, it has just crossed the $300 million figure and will likely top out between $350 and $400 million global. Not bad, but for it to have been the hit Burbank Suits were wanting, it would have had to come close to half a billion. Still, the merchandise is selling well, the ElecTRONica event at DCA is a HUGE hit that has been extended to April (at least) and there are still those cable, pay-per-view and DVD/Blu-Ray sales to consider.

When it all comes to a close the film will be profitable, but the question is how popular? And if that will be enough to green light another film. One thing I can tell you is that if another film comes together, John Lasseter and the Brain Trust will have much more say in the story. Rich Ross has been actively involving John in the process far more than Dick Cook ever did. He's been picking apart what the folks at the Lamp feel about much of the upcoming slate. So if we do get to go on the grid, next time you're going to see a more solid script before they start filming. From what I've heard, the animated series is still going ahead. Nothing has been stopped, no plugs have been pulled. So all you haters can hold off on your funeral for Kevin Flynn and his kin.

There may yet be another chance to ride those light cycles...

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does 28 months mean?

Doopey said...

It means you would see another movie in about 2 years instead of 28 years.

I always thought in my head that it would need to make at least $200 million domestic to be considered a true "hit" given the budget and the massive amount of promotion they've given it. But maybe all the ancillary stuff will save it.

Taken together with Prince of Persia and Sorcerer's Apprentice, 2010 was a rough year for starting new franchises.

Darrell said...

Wow, I certainly did *not* expect this... and I'm not really sure what to make of it. I just don't really know where else they can go, personally, because to me it seemed like Legacy was set up to be the finale.

Tom said...

Still have to see Legacy, it's won't premiere here until the 26th of January...

Anonymous said...

Voyage of Dawn Treader has made 362 million worldwide so far and is still going - and still has not opened in many territories. It has way surpassed Tron & Persia. Narnia has four more movies to go and would be the one thing that could stand against Universal's Potterland. Narnia being a land in Animal Kingdom would be breathtaking. Not to mention this recent Narnia film had a budget including marketing just at 100 million, while Tron was close to 300 million. There are hundreds of creatures in Narnia that could be an action figure merchandise jackpot. I hope the new Studio guy will see the huge mistake of letting this franchise go.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those folks who's been doubtful of a sequel being greenlit based on the success of Tron: Legacy. But I've also been hoping I'd be proven wrong as I myself loved the film and the 3D involved.

There is one thing I would want even more then a sequel. And that's an attraction in Tomorrowland or Future World at Disney Parks. One day I hope to enter the grid.

jedited said...

This is GREAT news!
It's important to remember that one of Pixar's worst performing movies in terms of worldwide box office was Cars. BUT in Disney's mind, it was their most successful. This is something that Cars and Tron have in common. They are franchise starters that play well with a missing demographic, boys. That's why the DisneyXD series will do well and that's why the action figures are selling well.
I saw the original Tron when I was 11 and I didn't get ANY of the movie, but I thought the costumes, the light-cycles and disc battles were cool. The same as today's 8-12 year old boys.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a sequel. If they play their cards right with the TV show and DVD release they could hopefully help the sequel get a bigger pull than the original (similar to what happened with Pirates though to a lesser extent). I'd assume they could do it for less money as well, now that they would assuminly not have to make as much from scratch/have CGI Clu/would presumably have more real world stuff rather then full CGI.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the money that's attributed to the budget and marketing was not actually money that DISNEY spent - a lot of the marketing deals are done with companies that underwrite the cost for the associative value. But the VALUE of such marketing must be assessed, and the bean counters like it because it helps them to avoid paying out royalties if they can prove on the books that the film either hasn't turned out a profit or hasn't turned out much of a profit.

So don't believe the 300 mill figures for TRON: Legacy. Each of the PIRATES movies (except for the first) cost that much... But T:L did not.

Anonymous said...

TRON LEGACY was a great adult SciFi film, only ruined by the Michael Sheen campy performance, other than that I would love to see another film if they can manage to find their own voice, not just cut and paste memorable scenes from THE MATRIX or STARWARS.

Anonymous said...

God I hope we get another sequel, I LOVE TRON!!!

Brian Griffin said...

Not a Tron hater here, but @jedited - the reason you didn't get the any of the first Tron other than the costumes and effects was that there, like this new film, was nothing to get. That's not hate, but more a statement of fact. They're really dumb films on many, many levels; bad scifi to boot.

EndOfFranchise said...

What saved CARS were the toy sales, not the movie itself. The CARS toys sold phenomenally with young boys, the male equivalent of the "Princesses" line. That's why there is a CARS sequel underway. Also, notice how the CARS sequel is very foreign-based this time around, acknowledging one of the weaknesses of the first film (foreigners not grasping the America-centric NASCAR storyline).

As for T:L, Disney may be putting on a brave face for now but, like modern-day politicians, they are never going to admit "defeat," especially while their property is still in the theaters (unless it is a meltdown of "Prince of Persia" proportions).

Disney executives were very gung-ho about "Atlantis" and put on a brave face when that property underperformed. At the end of the day, though, the "Atlantis" TV series was canceled even before it was greenlit (they recycled what was produced for it into a TV-movie), the ride was canceled and so were other ancillary properties of it as well.

The only chance that this property can be turned around is if this sequel is basically ignored, sort of like the "Hulk" re-boots that ignored one another. There's no chance for this property to go $200M domestic and that's an embarrassment considering that it's $200M with inflated IMAX and 3D prices included. Foreign BO will pad those numbers but won't overwhelm the domestic numbers. Considering the vast budget for T:L (not including the ARG and all the other ancillary marketing), those BO numbers would've only been a hit if the budget for this movie was $40M at most and there had been barely any publicity.

People can believe the Disney execs all they want right now but wait 5 months and see if the execs are even THINKING about T:L or it's ancillary properties when the soft re-boot of POTC arrives later this year...

Anonymous said...

Regarding "What saved Cars...."


Atlantis did not make anywhere close to 150 Million domestically.

Tron merchandise may do well.

Their video games are popular.

An E ticket at Disneyland would be popular weather or not box office is 200 million statewide.

Regardless of Legacy's ticket sales, everyone knows what TRON is.

There are other reasons across the board to keep this going.

Doopey said...

Wow, there's alot going on here.

Cars made $462 mil worldwide. It was below expectations, but still plenty of money. I'm not questioning that it was the mass merchandising and huge boy appeal that made it a franchise, but the box office by itself was okay.

Narnia is a huge sore spot for me. Dawn Treader performed below Prince Caspian, so from one standpoint Disney is validated for dumping it. BUT, when compared to Tron Legacy, Prince of Persia, and Sorcerer's Apprentice, Dawn Treader suddenly looks like a winner. Even if they stopped after Dawn Treader, Disney could have easily leveraged their "trilogy" into more home video sales for all three films. And Dawn Treader would have been the easiest Narnia book to adapt into a park attraction. Just sayin'.

Matt said...

Haters, haters, haters, tsk tsk tsk, so eager to see Tron fail. Don't understand it one bit.

Anonymous said...

Narnia - Lion, Witch, Wardrobe - 745 million. Narnia 2 Prince Caspian - 421 million. Narnia 3 Voyage of Dawn Treader - 362 million so far. All 3 films on their way to making 2 billion just at the box office. How many families buy these books & films for their library. And here is the craziest thing - 4 more books - 4 more movies - all these movies have been made on meager budgets of 100 million and they still deliver. Now back to Tron - merchandise all the action figures look the same. Narnia has hundreds of different creatures that would make great action figures. I like Tron and hope they make another one. But if I'm looking for a franchise that can sale to both girls & boys like Harry Potter does - Narnia is where I place my money. Build Narnia in Animal Kingdom - how rich seeing majestic AA's of dragons, unicorns, witches, dwarfs, minotaurs, etc. A Tron attraction would be nice but Disney already has that futuristic feel with Tomorrow Land & Future World. WDW would benefit much more with a Beastly Kingdom type land built of rich classic literature like Narnia. I just scratch my head when Disney throws money away trying to start up franchises like Prince of Persia or even Tron when they already had a built in franchise with Narnia.

Doopey said...

Anonymous --

I totally agree with you about Narnia overall but I have to correct two things. Prince Caspian was hugely expensive -- over $200 million. Dawn Treader was about $150. That cost is shared with Walden Media but still. Also, from what I understand the Narnia merchandise (toys) never sold the way they hoped they would.

2.0 and Beyond said...

Narnia, in spite of the "success" created by the push by religious organizations, was a WEAK offering. The strongest scenes of the Narnia films paled compared to the weakest scenes in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Disney was wrong to try and compete with LotR with the Narnia series. They were wise to get out.

Anonymous said...

Narnia toys sold poorly enough that as far as I know there aren't any for Dawn Treader at all, unless there's some exclusivity deal with Walmart I'm not aware of. To be honest I'm not sure if there a video game adaption either.

I think one of the main reasons Disney dropped it, regardless of all other factors, is they went in hoping for their own Lord Of The Rings. While the first movie certainly performed the audience enthusiasm just has not stayed the course.

Tron seems to be selling well, at least with the diecast vehicles, discs, and the 3 inch line. I'm not saying that will save it and get us a sequel, but there is enthusiasm for it.

Darrell said...

Dawn Treader sucked. I liked the first two a lot, but only a couple of scenes actually impressed me. A huge letdown. It deserves the poor attention it's getting in the US (despite doing shockingly well in foreign markets).

It's hard for any fantasy film/series to beat the LOTR movies, they're so awesome. I'd be willing to give an movie adaption of the popular Warrior Cats series a chance, but Narnia has no chance. Harry Potter barely has a chance.

"What saved CARS were the toy sales ... That's why there is a CARS sequel underway."

Idiot. It's not because of the sales of all the merchandise. It's because they were able to come up with an apparently good story, and that's how they do things with sequels. NOT FOR THE MONEY (although I'm sure they like that too). FOR THE STORY. You've heard them say before that "story is first at Pixar."

Anonymous said...

"There's no chance for this property to go $200M domestic and that's an embarrassment considering that it's $200M with inflated IMAX and 3D prices included. Foreign BO will pad those numbers but won't overwhelm the domestic numbers. Considering the vast budget for T:L (not including the ARG and all the other ancillary marketing), those BO numbers would've only been a hit if the budget for this movie was $40M at most and there had been barely any publicity."

^^This.

"An E ticket at Disneyland would be popular weather or not box office is 200 million statewide."

But current Disney mgt will never put $200m into a ride simply because it "would be popular." The shop attached to the ride must be profitable with such a large capex. I don't believe TRON merch is selling anywhere near Cars, Pooh, and Princesses levels, which worries bean counters tasked with justifying such massive expenditures.

"Haters, haters, haters, tsk tsk tsk, so eager to see Tron fail. Don't understand it one bit."

What you really don't understand is, it's not hate. It's disappointment. TRON should have been so much better than what Disney ultimately delivered.

"They're really dumb films on many, many levels; bad scifi to boot."

Exactly.

Doopey said...

2.0 -- why do you put "success" in quotes? The first Narnia film outperformed both Harry Potter 4 and King Kong (from the director of LOTR) during the holiday 2005 season. It grossed $745 million worldwide and is one of Disney's all-time top grossing films.

That level of success wasn't solely generated by church audiences. Besides, I don't see why the core Narnia base is any less legit than the core Harry Potter fanbase just because some (but not all) of them happen to be religious.

Disney had every reason to expect that it was a viable franchise. They mishandled Prince Caspian in a number of ways and it cost them. But overall the Narnia sequels have done better than Disney's subsequent attempts to create new fantasy franchises.

And no, Narnia is not the same as LOTR or Potter and it shouldn't try to be.

Doopey said...

Darrell-

I think it's pretty naive to suggest that $$$ and pressure from Iger had zero influence whatsoever on the decision to make Cars 2 and Monsters 2. I'm confident that Pixar will deliver, but they are not an independent little company anymore.

Darrell said...

I never said (or I didn't intend to) that $$$ and such had zero influence. But story is first with Pixar. Then the other stuff, so there's a little influence there. But Monsters and Cars are nowhere near Pixar's highest-grossing material. If they were thinking of making a sequel to one of their highest-grossing films, they should be looking at Finding Nemo or The Incredibles... or continuing the Toy Story saga. Incredibles 2 is an idea at hand, but there are no plans for the other two.

2.0 and Beyond said...

“2.0 -- why do you put "success" in quotes? The first Narnia film outperformed both Harry Potter 4 and King Kong (from the director of LOTR) during the holiday 2005 season. It grossed $745 million worldwide and is one of Disney's all-time top grossing films.”


As a TRUE SciFi/Fantasy film, it was mediocre at best. Yes, it did garner $745 million. HOWEVER, if it weren’t for the non-discriminating religious support for the film, it would have NEVER achieved that kind of box office return.

Yes, Narnia was an entertaining film, but it was essentially just a B level fantasy film. And few even dared to compare it to LotR. So as far as being a successful fantasy film, Narnia’s “success” was only based on the padded revenues. But, then, to SOME people, that’s all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Was the "religious" people the reason Lord of the Rings was such a success? It was Tolkein that lead C.S. Lewis author of Narnia to a relationship with Christ. Tolkein has so many moral lessons and spirituality throughout LOR that it would seem to be a hot potato. I think most people just enjoy good story and fantasy. Both of these authors despite being men of faith produced some great stories for all to enjoy. It would be wise of Disney to build off something of this caliber instead of trying to drum up a franchise that has no depth or history to it. I did enjoy Tron but if it can't even beat the third Narnia film at the box office worldwide currently - not sure if going to be around much longer.

EndOfFranchise said...

@Darrell -

CARS underperformed at the box office. It had an America-centric storyline that didn't catch on with the Foreign BO. It had a NASCAR-centric storyline that didn't play well outside of the South and Midwest. The very fact that CARS did as well as it did BO-wise was because of the Pixar brand.

Remember that CARS was the first Pixar film to roll out (pun intended) for Disney after Disney bought out Pixar. Buying Pixar was NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination so to have CARS not perform as well as "Finding Nemo" or "The Incredibles" or "Monsters Inc" (all living in an age of pre-3D and IMAX) was a huge disappointment.

What saved the franchise was the merchandising. Parents bought CARS toys for boys almost as much as they bought Princess toys for girls. This is why you have a CARS 2 - Not because it was a great story, not because Pixar demanded to make a sequel but because the toys did absolutely gangbusters and Disney likes money.

As for "Pixar only makes sequels when the story is right" - Look at when Pixar was bought by Disney and look at the amount of sequels that Pixar has created. Before Disney: 1 sequel (TS2, and that wasn't even going to be a theatrical release initially). After Disney: 3 sequels (TS3, C2, MI2) with possible others on the way.

TRON, as a franchise, is over. T:L may not even make TANGLED #s at it's rate of decline. In other words, T:L is going to be beaten by a "Princess" movie. Disney bought Marvel for the expressed purpose of competing for boys - Why keep an old franchise that has just underperformed TWICE, the last time with an all-out, no holds barred marketing campaign? It makes no fiscal sense.

If Disney had been serious about the TRON franchise, they should have given it to Pixar. They weren't; They gave it to a first-time director. This isn't like TRON, where they gave it to a first-time director because no one understood CGI and Disney was trying to break out of a "Herbie / Aristocats" slump. This is Disney simply being cheap in areas where you can't be cheap especially if you want to revive a franchise.

I'm sorry that you're a fanboi. I really am. I know what it's like to be a fanboi and it's not easy to break that addiction.

If in 5 years, there's a T:L sequel, there's enough TRON TV series episodes to enter syndication and more TRON toys then you can fill a store with, then you'll have every right to gloat. I've been wrong before & I'll even give you an example - Twister. I never thought that film would be a hit but it was. However, I don't think I'm wrong about this one.

EndOfFranchise said...

@Darrell -

CARS underperformed at the box office. It had an America-centric storyline that didn't catch on with the Foreign BO. It had a NASCAR-centric storyline that didn't play well outside of the South and Midwest. The very fact that CARS did as well as it did BO-wise was because of the Pixar brand.

Remember that CARS was the first Pixar film to roll out (pun intended) for Disney after Disney bought out Pixar. Buying Pixar was NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination so to have CARS not perform as well as "Finding Nemo" or "The Incredibles" or "Monsters Inc" (all living in an age of pre-3D and IMAX) was a huge disappointment.

What saved the franchise was the merchandising. Parents bought CARS toys for boys almost as much as they bought Princess toys for girls. This is why you have a CARS 2 - Not because it was a great story, not because Pixar demanded to make a sequel but because the toys did absolutely gangbusters and Disney likes money.

As for "Pixar only makes sequels when the story is right" - Look at when Pixar was bought by Disney and look at the amount of sequels that Pixar has created. Before Disney: 1 sequel (TS2, and that wasn't even going to be a theatrical release initially). After Disney: 3 sequels (TS3, C2, MI2) with possible others on the way.

TRON, as a franchise, is over. T:L may not even make TANGLED #s at it's rate of decline. In other words, T:L is going to be beaten by a "Princess" movie. Disney bought Marvel for the expressed purpose of competing for boys - Why keep an old franchise that has just underperformed TWICE, the last time with an all-out, no holds barred marketing campaign? It makes no fiscal sense.

If Disney had been serious about the TRON franchise, they should have given it to Pixar. They weren't; They gave it to a first-time director. This isn't like TRON, where they gave it to a first-time director because no one understood CGI and Disney was trying to break out of a "Herbie / Aristocats" slump. This is Disney simply being cheap in areas where you can't be cheap especially if you want to revive a franchise.

If in 5 years, there's a T:L sequel, there's enough TRON TV series episodes to enter syndication and more TRON toys then you can fill a store with, then you'll have every right to gloat. I've been wrong before & I'll even give you an example - Twister. I never thought that film would be a hit but it was. However, I don't think I'm wrong about this one.

EndOfFranchise said...

@Darrell (Part 1 of 2) -

CARS underperformed at the box office. It had an America-centric storyline that didn't catch on with the Foreign BO. It had a NASCAR-centric storyline that didn't play well outside of the South and Midwest. The very fact that CARS did as well as it did BO-wise was because of the Pixar brand.

Remember that CARS was the first Pixar film to roll out (pun intended) for Disney after Disney bought out Pixar. Buying Pixar was NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination so to have CARS not perform as well as "Finding Nemo" or "The Incredibles" or "Monsters Inc" (all living in an age of pre-3D and IMAX) was a huge disappointment.

What saved the franchise was the merchandising. Parents bought CARS toys for boys almost as much as they bought Princess toys for girls. This is why you have a CARS 2 - Not because it was a great story, not because Pixar demanded to make a sequel but because the toys did absolutely gangbusters and Disney likes money.

As for "Pixar only makes sequels when the story is right" - Look at when Pixar was bought by Disney and look at the amount of sequels that Pixar has created. Before Disney: 1 sequel (TS2, and that wasn't even going to be a theatrical release initially). After Disney: 3 sequels (TS3, C2, MI2) with possible others on the way.

EndOfFranchise said...

@Darrell (2 of 2) -

TRON, as a franchise, is over. T:L may not even make TANGLED #s at it's rate of decline. In other words, T:L is going to be beaten by a "Princess" movie. Disney bought Marvel for the expressed purpose of competing for boys - Why keep an old franchise that has just underperformed TWICE, the last time with an all-out, no holds barred marketing campaign? It makes no fiscal sense.

If Disney had been serious about the TRON franchise, they should have given it to Pixar. They weren't; They gave it to a first-time director. This isn't like TRON, where they gave it to a first-time director because no one understood CGI and Disney was trying to break out of a "Herbie / Aristocats" slump. This is Disney simply being cheap in areas where you can't be cheap especially if you want to revive a franchise.

If in 5 years, there's a T:L sequel, there's enough TRON TV series episodes to enter syndication and more TRON toys then you can fill a store with, then you'll have every right to gloat. I've been wrong before & I'll even give you an example - Twister. Who knew that so many people wanted to see a cow get thrown across the screen by 250 MPH winds? However, I don't think I'm wrong about this one.

Doopey said...

2.0 --

"non-discriminating"? "padded revenues"? I have no idea what any of that means. I consider myself a "true scifi/fantasy" fan, and I think the first two Narnia films are great. LOTR and Narnia are fundamentally different kinds of stories. The Narnia books are and always were simple children's stories. They don't have the scope or complexity of LOTR and they're not supposed to. I respect that you didn't like the movie. I respect that alot of people didn't like them. But I feel like you're being a little too dismissive of them just b/c they weren't the same as LOTR.

Darrell--

Fair enough, but you called a previous commenter an "idiot" and I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I have no doubt that somewhere in Disney there have been at least conversations about doing more with Nemo or Incredibles but Pixar still gets to make the final decision.

jedited said...

I am a HUGE Narina fan, BUT I think it was the right decision for Disney to dump them (especially since someone else stepped in).
Disney doesn't own the rights to Narina. They were only in partnership with the company that are essentially "leasing the rights". That is what made the decision for Disney. Plus there was bad blood between Disney and Walden.

Darrell said...

EndOfFranchise:

If you want to have a wrong opinion... well I can't change that. But I should try to get the facts to you. We disagree about what saved Cars. Actually, there wasn't really anything that had to save Cars. It may not have grossed as much as previous Pixar films, but it still did well. And it's actually one of my favorites from Pixar.

And you still think that Pixar is doing the sequels for the money, not the story? Admittedly, I don't understand why they're doing a Monsters Inc 2. But John Lasseter himself said this: "If we have a great story, we'll do a sequel." Brad Bird has said that for Incredibles 2 he wants to come up with an idea superior to the original before he does it. ("I have some ideas that I think are good, but I don't have them all together.")

I rest my case.

Oh, and I never said anything about Tron when I was replying to you earlier, so I don't know why you added a second part to rant to me about that. I agree that it should be over.

Anonymous said...

"... all you haters..."? Hmm, sounds like someone's feathers got ruffled somewhere along the line.

If Ross is truly being humble enough to takes serious councel from those at Pixar, than there is the slightest. hope for WDS motion pictures. In my opinion, the studios still don't know what they're doing when it comes to telling a good story.

Pixar is the best thing that has happened for disney in decades (most likely because of their disconnect from the "industry" and the company suits). In fact, they should just let Pixar have input and final approval in all studio projects.

Edward Dillinger said...

More like 36 to 48 months if we're lucky. Those Blu-Ray and DVD sales had better be spectacular or we ain't getting a ride or a third film.

Tom said...

Ahhhh! Just came back from Tron Legacy, LOVED it!!!

:)