Archive for the ‘The Chronicles Of Narnia’ Category

"Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" Will Sail, Thanks To A Pick Up From Fox 2000

January 29, 2009

Oh my Aslan- this is awesome! So last month, Disney discontinued their involvement with the Narnia franchise, due to the high production costs, and relative disappointment of last year’s Prince Caspian. But don’t write out the Pevensie children just yet! The third installment of the popular franchise, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, has just found a new home at Fox 2000, and the studio is aiming for a release during the holiday season in 2010. According to THR:

Despite a couple of suitors, including Columbia, Walden only had eyes for Fox, with whom it partnered to market and distribute its fare under the Fox Walden banner after the first “Narnia” film.

I’m very excited about this! I think that the Narnia franchise has a tremendous amount of potential, both creatively and financially. I thought that The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe was charming, but I was disappointed in the muddled characterization and bland action of Prince Caspian. As far as the box office decline between the first and second films ($745 M vs $419 M worldwide), I attribute most of the blame to Disney, who was utterly lazy in their marketing. With the right advertising, I think Fox could move The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader back into the $200-$250 million range, domestically, and $500-$600 million worldwide.

Story wise, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is infinitely more interesting than Prince Caspian, with sea monsters, dragons, and some dynamic new children, so I’m thrilled about the pick up from Fox. Now, let’s just hope they make a good movie! What about you? Are you as excited as I am for the next Narnia film?

Advertisements

Disney Abandons The Narnia Franchise; But Will "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" Still Sail?

December 27, 2008

This week the Walt Disney Company announced that they would no longer be working with Walden Media to produce The Chronicles Of Narnia franchise. Although the studio remained rather mum on the issue, they cited “budgetary considerations and other logistics” as part of their reasoning. Really, though, if you are a box office junkie, it’s no mystery why Disney is suddenly pulling out of the franchise. Let me explain:

The first film in the Narnia franchise, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, was a massive success both domestically and internationally. Debuting in December 2005, it earned $291 million in the US, and $745 million worldwide, and went on to sell fantastically on DVD. The second film, Prince Caspian premiered on May 16th of this year, and was a huge disappointment. Domestically, it earned $141 million, less than half of what the original earned. Worldwide, it earned “only” $419 million. That’s a terribly steep decline for a sequel to a blockbuster, and it was immediately clear to Disney that they had misjudged the public’s love of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books. Apparently, people had a special attachment to the most famous book in the series, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, but not the entire set of books. The problem is that these movies are not cheap. Prince Caspian cost $200 million to produce, and that’s not even including the prints and advertising budget (the first film carried a $60 million budget). In the midst of an economic downturn, Disney, like many other studios, is looking critically at its big budget expenditures.

Disney was originally planning on releasing The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader on May 7, 2010, but that clearly won’t be happening anymore. (Somewhere, Iron Man 2 is cheering…) Walden Media, who owns the movie rights to the Narnia books, claims that they remain committed to the franchise, but were “disappointed” in Disney’s decision. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Personally, I’m a little bit sad. While I didn’t love the second film, I don’t think that the Narnia franchise was a bad investment at all. Prince Caspian was a relatively tough source material to work with, but frankly, Disney was just plain lazy in their advertising. They expected audiences to come to the theaters just because the word “Narnia” was in their title. The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is such an exciting book, and could have made a wonderful movie. I actually hope that another studio, who really believes in Dawn Treader‘s potential, makes a deal with Walden Media to co-finance the project. What do you think? Are you sad about the end of the Disney/Narnia relationship? Do you think the third Narnia film will ever see the light of day?