Disney decided to put the brakes on development of “Tron 3,” the latest installment of the cult favorite that originated in the 1980s, because the studio could not find a place on its crowded slate as it looked all the way into 2018, according to an executive at the studio.
The team that had been coming together to make the film got word Friday that Hollywood’s top studio would not go ahead with the film in the foreseeable future, despite the franchise’s popularity and the fact that the 2010 version “Tron: Legacy” made nearly $400 million worldwide at the box office.
“We had never greenlit the movie, but it was in development for some time,” said one Disney executive, discussing the sensitive decision to table the project. “Things in the queue got ahead of it and we have such a big slate out in front of it, we started to think, ‘Where does it go?’ And it’s a pretty big investment to make if you are not even sure when you are going to release it.”
Disney was hoping to make the third “Tron” film for about the cost of the second, which had a budget of $170 million. It was expected that “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinki would return to direct a new film, with Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund to star. Preliminary preparations had been made in anticipation of filming in Vancouver, Canada.
When Disney looked out at its release horizon, though, it did not see a likely spot for the new “Tron” film. Walt Disney Pictures already has “Jungle Book,” another “Pirates of the Caribbean” installment, “Alice in Wonderland, “Pete’s Dragon” and “Beauty and the Beast.” And that’s not to mention other highly-anticipated projects, like director Tim Burton’s “Dumbo,” and a raft of mega-pics that are on the way from Disney’s premium-label subsidiaries — Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel.
There had been sufficient reporting about the film’s early development and buzz on fanboy sites that some observers had assumed Disney had given a formal greenlight to the production, but it never had. “I think it could resurface at some point but it’s not going to get the go button right now,” said another individual familiar with the project.
The 1982 original portrayed the life of a computer hacker who was abducted into a digital universe and conscripted into gladiator-style games. The Bridges character had to join forces with Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) to outwit a Master Control Program and regain their freedom.
News that Disney was not moving ahead with “Tron 3” was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.