First off, thanks to everyone who entered to attend our TRON: Legacy screening, and special thanks to IMAX and Disney for making it a reality. It was one of our most popular screenings by far, and I’m glad we were able to help not only bring the movie back to the biggest screen possible, but to show it in laser-projected IMAX.
Director Joseph Kosinski was good enough to join us for a Q&A after the movie, and before he took questions from the audience, he spoke to Steve Weintraub about the status of TRON 3. Back in 2015, it looked like Disney was gearing up to make another TRON sequel, tentatively titled TRON: Ascension, which would be directed by Kosinski and bring back Legacy stars Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. The film was to take place in the real world, and it looked like everything was coming together, but then Disney decided to pull the plug.
So what happened and what’s the status of TRON 3? Kosinski explained that while the movie isn’t dead, it’s in “cryogenic freeze” because Disney is in the unique position of having an embarrassment of riches. As Kosinski points out, when the studio made Legacy, they didn’t own Marvel or Lucasfilm. Now they have guaranteed hits every year with Marvel and Star Wars movies, so is TRON really worth putting on the schedule? Kosinski explains:
JOSEPH KOSINSKI: I guess I can say that TRON 3 is in cryogenic freeze. So, it’s there. It’s not dead. It’s alive, but it’s sitting there, waiting for the right time to move forward. I mean, you have to remember that when we made TRON: Legacy, Disney did not own Marvel. Disney did not own Lucasfilm…they own everything now. But this was before they owned everything, so from the studio point of view, they have a certain number of slots and a certain amount of money to make movies and if you can make a Star Wars spinoff or another Marvel movie, which are all doing incredibly well, a TRON movie, even though I think it would do very well, the question is: Would it do as well as one of those? That is more the reason we haven’t seen another TRON is that Disney stock is flushed with really successful properties right now. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see one at one point.
It’s also worth pointing out that merchandise matters, and to be blunt, TRON: Legacy didn’t move a lot of merchandise. Again, if you’re Disney, and you’re trying to maximize profits, you want to spend your money on a Marvel movie or a Star Wars movie, because not only are you guaranteed a good return at the box office, but you’re also going to sell a lot of toys, clothes, etc. If you make a TRON sequel and no one shows up, you not only have a flop, but you also have a lot of unsold merchandise.
The upside of TRON is that Disney owns it completely, and doesn’t have to split profits with other companies like they do with something like Pirates of the Caribbean. That being said, the film still needs to be a hit, and while TRON certainly has its fans, it’s still a risk.
Nevertheless, TRON has value as an IP, and while Disney may not want to sink money into a new movie, Kosinski acknowledge the possibility of the franchise living on in other mediums: