A lot of people hold a special place in their heart for the National Treasure franchise, even though it only spanned two movies, the last of which was released thirteen years ago. There’s just something so endearing and charming about the old-fashioned blockbusters that double as educational history lessons, all wrapped up in a nonsensical plot and led by Nicolas Cage utilizing his star power and natural charisma to the fullest.
Critics weren’t exactly impressed, with the two installments holding weak Rotten Tomatoes scores of 44% and 35% respectively, but the audience scores sit at a much higher 76% and 67%, and both National Treasure and Book of Secrets have become firm cult favorites over the years. But despite the series earning more than $800 million at the box office, development on a third entry has never seemed to get out of first gear.
In a recent interview, producer Jason Reed explained why it’s taking so long to get the gang back together for more historically orientated adventures, and unsurprisingly, it appears as if much of it has to do with Disney failing to see how they can maximize the earning potential of the brand.
“I tried my damnedest to get National Treasure 3 up. I love those movies. I worked on those from inception. What I felt happened is even though the movies were extremely successful and had a really strong fanbase, it’s a movie that gets brought up all the time, the company was never able to capitalize on it as a franchise. It was more of a movie with a sequel and National Treasure 3 would have been another sequel.They never figured out a way to integrate it into the parks. It never caught on, even though there were a lot of consumer products, it never caught on as an independent franchise. That makes the numbers look different. It makes it harder to make a company like Disney focus resources on something when they can go make Toy Story or buy a cruise ship. And if the company itself had been really excited about moving forward with it and thought they could blow it out, we would have found a way to make the deal.”
We all know at this point that Disney are a lot more focused on properties they can spread across various multimedia platforms and merchandise to death, rather than shell out over $100 million on a single movie that would do decent business at the box office but doesn’t present as many lucrative revenue streams in the aftermath. Maybe at some point we’ll finally get National Treasure 3, but unfortunately, it gets a little less likely with each passing day. Still, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed in the hope that it happens.