If The Chronicles of Narnia doesn’t exactly ring a bell, we don’t blame you. Though C.S. Lewis’ novels were hugely popular back when they were published – which was in the 1950s – the feature film adaptations haven’t exactly had the same luck. 2005-2010 saw three movies based on the fantasy world hit theatres in the form of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. While none of them were particularly bad, the quality, and box office returns, certainly dipped as the franchise went on and the plug was eventually pulled after the third outing.
That was seven years ago, but now, there seems to be some renewed interest in the series, as Sony is looking to bring Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair to the big screen, and they’ve hired Captain America: The First Avenger helmer Joe Johnston to get behind the camera to direct. Said to serve as a reboot for the franchise, the film will focus on Eustace Scrubb, who was played by Will Poulter previously, and will adapt the fourth novel in Lewis’ acclaimed series.
With a script from David Magee, who penned Life of Pi, Douglas Gresham, Vincent Sieber, Melvin Adams and Mark Gordon are on board to produce, and the latter had this to say about Johnston signing on:
“Joe is a wonderful storyteller who is equally at home in the biggest franchises and the most intimate character pieces,” Gordon said. “Because C.S. Lewis’ story is iconic and epic, but also tender, personal, and emotional, he’s the perfect choice to bring ‘The Silver Chair’ to the screen.”
While the director’s involvement is certainly promising, it’s hard to say if there’s still any interest from moviegoers in this franchise. The first Narnia film did quite well, grossing $745 million worldwide, but the sequel only took in $419 million and the third one did roughly the same. And like we said above, the quality seemed to decline over time, too. With so many other juggernaut properties running around Hollywood now, all fighting for our attention, we’re not so sure if there will be room for one more. Especially one that’s already had its chance and fizzled out.
Time will ultimately tell how kind audiences are to Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, but until we learn a little bit more about what the studio’s got planned for this franchise revival, we’ll continue to remain on the fence about it.