Following the massive success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, for the next decade Disney repeatedly attempted to mine other recognizable properties in the hope that it would bring similar results. Captain Jack Sparrow may have headlined a multi-billion dollar series that’s yielded four sequels and counting, but the rest of the would-be franchise starters didn’t fare as well.
The studio tried to replicate the exact same formula in a much sandier setting with 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which still failed to turn a profit despite becoming the highest-grossing video game adaptation ever made when it released. In 2012 and 2013, the Mouse House also endured two of the biggest box office bombs in history thanks to John Carter and The Lone Ranger.
Another forgotten attempt to build a marketable blockbuster brand, though, was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which saw Nicolas Cage re-team with his National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub for a feature-length spin on a sequence from Fantasia. The end result was generic effects-heavy fantasy fare, which never came close to the potential of having an actor of Cage’s reputation chewing on the scenery as an immortal wizard in modern day New York.
With a budget of $150 million, there was a lot riding on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but it ultimately disappointed after only conjuring $215 million globally and enduring a tepid response from critics, killing another prospective franchise at the first hurdle. A decade after it first landed in theaters, though, Disney’s expensive misfire will be hoping to gain a second life and find an entirely new audience when it arrives on the company’s in-house streaming service next month, on October 30th.