Both the 2004 National Treasure and 2007 National Treasure: Book of Secrets were financial successes globally, making it seem like a given that a third film in the series would also be received positively, though Jason Reed, who was a production executive at Disney for those first two films, recently detailed that he thinks that the series stopped being a priority for the studio when it proved difficult to franchise and market as a brand rivalling their other properties. While franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars offer inherent integration across a variety of mediums and platforms, the specificity of these National Treasure narratives as live-action films proved an obstacle too daunting to hurdle for a third film.
“I tried my damnedest to get National Treasure 3 up. I love those movies. I worked on those from inception,” Reed shared with Collider. “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.”
Given the number of successful brands that more easily translated to brand integrations, it's hard to deny that the return on any investment wouldn't have been as strong as the studio would have seen from a new Pixar or Pirates of the Caribbean film.
“They never figured out a way to integrate it into the parks,” Redd admitted. “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.”
Interestingly, Disney finds themselves in a similar situation with the TRON franchise, which was relatively successful financially and has a strong fan base, but when compared to other proven successes, that franchise has stagnated for a decade. Luckily, recent reports claim that Disney is moving forward with a third TRON film. Similarly, producer Jerry Bruckheimer shared earlier this year that a third National Treasure is, in fact, being developed with the original stars returning.
Stay tuned for details on a possible third National Treasure film.
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