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Was news of that "Tron 3" teaser deliberately leaked to the Web by Disney insiders?

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Was news of that "Tron 3" teaser deliberately leaked to the Web by Disney insiders?

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Have you heard about this "Tron 3" teaser that Aint It Cool News & Tron-Sector have been talking up this past weekend?

As the story goes: This "Tron 3" teaser was supposedly shot back in November before "Tron: Legacy" was released to theaters, with the idea that it would then be included as a surprise Special Feature on the DVD & Blu-ray release of "Tron: Legacy." Studio execs were supposedly hoping that this teaser would not only help build excitement for the upcoming sequel to this Joseph Kosinski film but that it would also help spur sales of the "Tron: Legacy" DVD & Blu-ray.

Now all signs point to this "Tron 3" teaser being legit. Harry Knowles actually has photos up on his site right now that were supposedly taken on the set of this shoot. What's more, he's claiming to have copies of the call sheets & location maps for this "Tron 3" teaser. Though -- that said -- there seems to be some disagreement out there as to whether what was shot back in November was for stuff that was shot for an actual "Tron 3" teaser or (more likely) exclusive new content for the "Tron: Legacy" Blu-ray & DVD>

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So given that there's suddenly all this talk bubbling up about "Tron 3," does that then mean that the sequel to this Kosinski film has officially been greenlit? Not exactly. Not yet anyway.

Long story short: Back in April of last year, Disney executives signed Eddy Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (i.e. the screenwriters of "Tron: Legacy") to start work on the script for a sequel. But just because there's now a "Tron 3" screenplay floating around the lot in Burbank doesn't mean that production of this proposed sequel will ever actually go forward. Just ask the guys who wrote "Good Morning Chicago" (Touchstone's proposed sequel to "Good Morning Vietnam"), ""Pretty Woman II" (Which covers what happens when the Richard Gere character decides to run for the Senate as well as marry Julie Roberts hooker character) as well as "Roger Rabbit 2: Toon Platoon."

"so what's preventing production of 'Tron 3' from going forward now?," you ask. To be honest, it's not so much that "Tron: Legacy" hasn't performed as strongly stateside as the Studio had hoped. But - rather - because overseas ticket sales for this Joseph Kosinski film were a lot softer than expected.

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Which brings us now to the conspiracy theory portion of today's JHM article. As in: If Disney was able to keep that two-minute-long "Tron" test that Kosinski & Co. created back in 2008 completely under wraps until it was screened at Comic-Con in July ... Well, why then has word suddenly leaked out about this alleged "Tron 3" teaser?

For those of you who don't recall the huge sensation that that "Tron" test caused back in 2008, Justin Springer's "The Art of Tron: Legacy" (Disney Editions, November 2010) does a great job of taking you behind-the-scenes as that footage was being created. Here's a few key excerpts from this great making-of book that will give you some necessary background for today's article:

The idea of revisiting Tron had long gestated at the studio. Development simmered over the years, outlines and even scripts would be written and ultimately thrown out, forcing everyone back to the drawing board. It was longtime Brigham Taylor, a known fanboy and Tron enthusiast, who kept the project alive through many years of stalled development, maintaining his belief that Tron was a viable Disney franchise.

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After years of starts and stops, in 2007 Taylor heard first-time director Joseph Kosinski's bold vision for a new Tron universe and the character-rich and clever narrative conceit of Lost veterans Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Immediately, he knew he had something special on his hands. He quickly put the idea in front of the rest of the executive team at Disney, and development, under the guidance of producers Sean Bailey and Steven Lisberger, got underway at an accelerated pace.

Disney was very excited about the filmmakers' early vision for the film, and finally serious, if cautious, about proceeding with a sequel to Tron. However, this movie would come with an event-movie price tag. Kosinski was a first-timer, and pulling it off would require using a multitude of the latest filmmaking technologies in concert, something that no one was sure was viable. The script was underway, but Disney needed evidence that Kosinksi's vision, and the production plan, would work.

Keeping this challenge in mind, Bailey and Kosinski came up with the concept for a two-minute visual test and an extensive visual development period, which would result in early designs for characters, vehicles and environments. The studio said yes, and the team began bringing the visual test to life.

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They also knew that they needed (Jeff) Bridges. After a meeting with Bridges at his home where the visual test and the story for the film were discussed at length, the actor signed on to play both Kevin Flynn and Clu.

After four months of visual development, filming for the visual test took places in January 2008 with a scaled-down crew on a small stage that looked more like mission control than a traditional film set. It was a grueling one-day shoot, at the end of which, all the live-action and performance capture needed to create the test piece was completed.

After months of work, an early version of the visual test was shown to Disney (execs) in March of 2008 and was very well received. It was continually tweaked over the rest of the spring based on studio notes, and a half-day reshoot was carried out, resulting in a new opening where the light cycle combatant runs out of the rocky formation on the Grid and forms his light cycle ... The final version of the visual test was shown to Disney Chairman Dick Cook in late July 2008, less than a week prior to Comic-Con. He was thrilled with what he saw and quickly made the decision to add it to the studio's Comic-Con line-up, in order to gauge the core audience's interest in the property.

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The two-minute visual test was shown in 2D after the Race to Witch Mountain panel in Hall H. The filmmakers were thrilled at the possibility of surprising the attendees; a crowd of super-informed fans who prided themselves on knowing everything about what movies are being developed. The crowd's reaction to the visual test made it clear they were stupefied that a movie of this size could be underway without them knowing (what they didn't know was that it wasn't underway yet).

Which now brings us back to the conspiracy theory portion of today's article. Jut to recap here: If Disney was able to keep that two-minute-long "Tron" test under wraps under wraps for months, then why did word of this alleged "Tron 3" teaser trailer begun to leak out just weeks after it was shot?

Well, from what I hear, this wasn't entirely a coincidence. Someone at the Studio supposedly put the word out about this material that was shot back in November because there'd been recently been some talk about possibly NOT including this footage on the "Tron: Legacy" DVD & Blu-ray. Because -- to be blunt -- upper management at the Mouse House seems to be losing its enthusiasm for producing / pursuing a feature film follow-up to this relaunch of the "Tron" franchise.

This news did not reportedly thrill a number of key creatives at the Studio. Which is why a decision was made to prematurely get the word out about the footage that had been shot back in November. With the hope that -- once this news leaked  -- the "Tron" fan community would become electrified. More to the point, this leak would then put The Walt Disney Company in the position where they'd have no choice but to include this material as part of the "Tron: Legacy" DVD & Blu-ray release. Which would then (in theory, anyway) give the "Tron: Legacy" sequel project additional exposure and some increased momentum.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

The only problem with this story (at least from my point of view) is that people seem to automatically assume that just because there's a "Tron 3" teaser out there ... Well, that then means that the Mouse will just have to move forward with production of a "Tron: Legacy" sequel. I mean, this is Disney after all. The Studio that tacked a trailer for "Dumbo II" onto Walt Disney Home Entertainment's 2001 VHS & DVD release of "Dumbo" ...

... only to then abandon that project without any explanation.

The way I hear it, the decision to go forward with a "Tron: Legacy" sequel now depends on how well the Blu-ray & DVD version of this Joseph Kosinski film sells. And speaking of Joseph ... Preproduction of "Oblivion," Kosinski's next film for Walt Disney Studios, supposedly began two weeks ago. And as for his reimagining of Disney's 1979 sci-fi epic, "The Black Hole" ... Well, again from what I hear from studio insiders, the future of that film now hangs on the sales of the Blu-ray & DVD version of "Tron: Legacy" as well.

So long story short here: If you really want to see "Tron 3" and/or that proposed "Black Hole" remake, you'd better purchase a copy of "Tron: Legacy" Blu-ray & DVD. A couple of copies, actually. And that's whether or not this upcoming Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment release includes that much-talked-about "Tron 3" teaser.

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Speaking of which ... Would it really be all that big a sales incentive if the "Tron: Legacy" Blu-ray & DVD did include this "Tron 3" teaser? Or would it just be enough if the folks at WDSHE included a Special Feature that then gave you a detailed look at "Tron: Uprising," that animated series which will be debuting on Disney XD in 2012?

Your thoughts?

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  • This is just a bunch of egos trying to have their way. "Tron: Legacy" was an awful movie, only mildly better than the original. Here's a suggestion to Disney execs: Move on. "Tron: Legacy" didn't work. Give us original ideas, exciting stories, imaginative films -- not expensive fanboy retreads of something that wasn't very good to begin with.

  • I loved 'Legacy', but even I admit that the story seemed to have nowhere interesting to go following Sam's discovery of his dad. However, the visuals were at times dazzling and as a card (disc?) carrying Tron fan I'd dearly love to see a sequel take this world forward to new heights, perhaps with different writers in the mix. The BO was perhaps not as spectacular as hoped, but on the flipside it could easily have tanked and 160 million domestic is certainly not to be sniffed at. This so-called Tron 3 teaser sounds like another clever marketing exercise like the test footage, but it does not represent a green-lit sequel sadly. A blu-ray copy of Legacy is certainly on my shopping list!

  • Finally! A Tron article... only 20 days late. :S

  • Only thing wrong with your initial premise: The TRON trailer at Comicon was NOT a well-kept secret.  Tons of people all around Hollywood knew something was brewing with Tron, and that a teaser of some sort would probably be sneaked at ComiCon.  I myself knew about it several months before, and I don't work for Disney - I'm just friends with one of the digital artists who was working on that teaser.  And other people I chatted with had heard rumblings as well.  So... it wasn't a secret then at all - except perhaps if you lived in Sandusky.

  • I suspect the web has become a way to test demand and reaction, a "soft press release" if you will. I think there was a strategic leak with Captain Eo that really took off when the likes of  Perez Hilton covered it. And this week, aicn has articles on a Tr3n teaser and Disneyland walk around characters being confined to lines.

  • As of 01/24/11:  Tron 333 million worldwide vs.  Narnia 3 Voyage of Dawn Treader 359 million  and lets not forget Narnia 2 Prince Caspian 460 million worldwide.  If Tron cannot even reach Narnia numbers then I doubt another Tron movie is going to be released unless there is saving grace in the merchandise sells.  I do know that many heads have rolled for the mistake of letting Narnia at Disney.  I hope they don't give up on Tron.

  • This movie was visually interesting and has a fine soundtrack--but that aside, it has a poor script, poor acting, poor pacing, horrendous dialogue, poor character design, etc., etc.  Special effects do not a movie make.  Or to put this another way, once the eye candy wears off, this movie has no re-watchability.  If the company thinks that overseas ticket sales were soft, just wait until it sees how soft DVD sales are.  This is not the kind of movie that a bunch of people will want to buy and watch again.

  • To Tim: First, Disney doesn't OWN the rights to Narina, they didn't even own the right to MAKE the Narina films, Walden Media does. Disney was ONLY a  partner in the Narina series. So any box office receipts had to be split close to 3 ways (Disney, Walden and the CS Lewis family). PLUS (and more importantly) Disney didn't own the merchandising rights or theme park rights, etc. With Tron, Disney OWNS and CONTROLS the rights, 100 percent.

  • Not to mention the next sequel will cost so much less to make since the majority of the film is already created and waiting to be re-used. A 2nd movie would sell no less than this one which hasn't done terribly... just not Avatar numbers. $1 Billion does not come from every movie. As stated, Disney has a whole slate of merchandise to push as well as a new series. Cars 2 was only greenlit because of toy sales. Cars was a disappointment in-house as well at $250m because it didn't match Nemo. Box office isn't the whole story with Disney.

  • Here's hoping for another sequel! Bring it on, Disney!

  • No heads have rolled at Disney for ending their deal with Walden on the NARNIA movies.  Anyone claiming that is just talking out of their butt. Both NARNIA movies at Disney were far more expensive than originally projected, and given the next-to-nil merch sales and the deal with Walden, Disney didn't really didn't have a big stake in the deal.  Wasn't worth continuing.  Fox was happy to plug in a new family oriented franchise, as they have to "outsource" familiy product.  Disney has no shortage.

  • A sequel being announced that never panned out even happened to Tron.  The 20th Anniversary "Tron" DVD has a trailer for "Tron: Killer App" that was apparently going to come from Disney's shuttered Secret Lab unit.

  • @ Tim

    Dawn Treader: France and Algeria, Monaco, Morocco and Tunisia - $28,258,185  - 1/23/11

    Tron Legacy: France and Algeria, Monaco, Morocco and Tunisia - N/A (has not opened yet)

    Also T:L hasn't opened in Germany yet.

    That's at least 28 mil of extra business for Treader.

    Let's wait for all the numbers to come in before we start drawing "certain" conclusions that are based on incomplete facts.

    Interesting, from the jump, the most intrigue, hate and haters surrounding a really awesome movie that i've ever seen.

    too much internet.  JHM has been hating on Tron for months.

  • close my eyes and think of a Happy Place.

  • I found TRON fanboys  is so funny

    Tron should have been  disney's Avatar, but now its boxoffice is far lower than Aice in Wonderland!

    Who the hell in this world would make a sequel for this kind of movie?

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