The success of the NATIONAL TREASURE films has always surprised me but there is no denying that they have been bonafide box office hits. The first film, released in November of 2004, grossed $347 million at the worldwide box office and the sequel, NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, proved to be even more successful in 2007 with a worldwide gross of $459.2 million. They were never big with critics as the first film is rotten at 46% on Rotten Tomatoes and the sequel is even more rotten at 36% but the films proved to be crowd-pleasers for families and a third film seemed like a no-brainer given the financial success of the first two installments.
Here we are in 2020 and a third film still hasn’t been made, although earlier this year a third film was announced from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and BAD BOYS FOR LIFE writer Chris Bremner. But why hasn’t this happened sooner? According to Jason Reed, who was the franchise’s production executive at Disney, it all has to do with a lack of cross-promotion with the Disney theme parks:
They never figured out a way to integrate 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.
Sadly, it’s true that Disney’s model revolves around a lot more than making movie franchises. The House of Mouse also likes to invest in elements such as toys, theme park attractions, and games. The producer believes the ball never rolled in terms of capitalizing on that franchise because Disney couldn’t milk more money out of consumers through it. This has long been an issue of mine, no matter how good they are at marketing their films, that Disney is more about monopolizing the market rather than the artistic integrity of their projects.
Even with the announcement of a third film, it doesn’t mean it will be happening anytime soon. Bremner is only writing the film and not much more is known about its status at this time. Bremner is also writing a fourth BAD BOYS film and Nicolas Cage is busy doing a lot of projects to maintain his bank account so the wait for a third NATIONAL TREASURE is definitely in the “to be determined” category.
What sounds more promising is what Bruckheimer announced in the spring. He said that a Disney+ series about the franchise centered on a younger cast was in the works and I can see that getting fast-tracked much quicker than a third film. That being said, the fact that no one at Disney could put their heads together to make this franchise work at their theme parks is ridiculous. The theme parks do have entire sections dedicated to American histories, such as Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom and the American Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. I’m sure if they really wanted to make it work, they could.
Do you want a third NATIONAL TREASURE film? Are YOU surprised Disney couldn’t make this franchise work with their theme parks?