The evolution of the National Treasure series, or rather its non-evolution, has baffled fans for over a decade. Despite the first two movies starring Nicholas Cage making hundreds of millions of dollars at the box-office, Disney has yet to make a third movie in the series since the last one came out in 2007. In an interview, Jason Reed, who was the Production Executive at Disney for the first two National Treasure films, explained why the studio has not yet made National Treasure 3.
"I tried my damnedest to get National Treasure 3 up. I love those movies. I worked on those from inception. What I felt happened is even though the movies were extremely successful and had a really strong fanbase, it's a movie that gets brought up all the time, the company was never able to capitalize on it as a franchise. It was more of a movie with a sequel and National Treasure 3 would have been another sequel."
The first two National Treasure movies from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turtletaub were a throwback to classic Indiana Jones-style adventures where Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian and amateur cryptologist played by Cage, searches for lost ancient artifacts of great value. Imagine a more action-packed take on Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon series of movies.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, audiences worldwide showed their love for the first National Treasure movie with a $347 million worldwide box-office gross, while the second one made $459 million worldwide. According to Reed, what prevented the movies from turning into a legitimate franchise under Disney was the company's inability to make money off the concept through non-movie routes.
"[Disney] never figured out a way to intergrade it into the parks. It never caught on, even though there were a lot of consumer products, it never caught on as an independent franchise. That makes the numbers look different. It makes it harder to make a company like Disney focus resources on something when they can go make Toy Story or buy a cruise ship. And if the company itself had been really excited about moving forward with it and thought they could blow it out, we would have found a way to make the deal."
Still, despite the fate of National Treasure 3 being stuck in limbo at the moment, Reed feels there is a way to revisit the series in other forms of media that can do justice to the "Treasure hunt" nature of their plot.
"I think that nowadays with the technology, there's a way to take that fun and move it into the digital space, whether it's location-based game play or things like Pokemon Go or whatever, that you could have done to make it have a bigger cultural impact. But I know Jerry keeps working on stuff and I know there's a lot of interest in a series and another feature and I think it's ripe to reinvent."
This news comes from Collider.