Surprise: Screenwriter hire means ‘Tron Legacy’ sequel in the works

The signs for a third installment of “Tron” haven’t been good up until now.  

Walt Disney Studios, the company who controls the franchise, seemed initially disappointed by both the critical and box office reception to “Tron: Legacy” after its Dec. 17 debut.  The film, which had been hyped and marketed to different extremes over a two year period, opened to just $44 million before playing out to a $172 million domestic cume.  At the same time, the animated “Tangled” became a surprise holiday blockbuster and Disney brass seemingly ignored the chance to move momentum on a “Legacy” sequel forward. Moreover, the studio dropped out of producing “Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski’s next project, “Oblivion” after initially making it a high priority.  The studio also became deathly silent on Kosinski’s other franchise follow up, “The Black Hole.”  Perhaps a few months of perspective has changed Disney CEO Bob Iger and President Rich Ross’ minds.

“Legacy” actually performed to almost a 4 multiple (grossing four times it’s opening weekend), a bellwether of good word of mouth. That’s also impressive when your take into account “Fast Five” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” are barely near a 3 multiple (“Bridesmaids” on the other hand, is past 4 and on its way to a rarely achieved 5 multiple).  Additionally, taking global box office into account, “Legacy” made a more than hearty $400 million. Paramount’s reboot of “Star Trek”?  A blockbuster that made a thrown away franchise a trend setter?  $385 million.  Plus, Disney has invested in the animated TV series “Tron Uprising” for Disney XD which may be more telling on how fans and kids feel about Kevin Flynn’s digital world. Again, a little perspective can change everything in business.

The studio is being cautious, but has made a significant move of hiring screenwriter Dan DiGilio to helm a sequel to “Legacy.”  According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Legacy” scribes Adam Horowitz and Adam Kitsis are too busy with their ABC fall series “Once Upon a Time” to commit to another installment.  The trade also clarified Kosiniski’s role in the third film is very unclear.

DiGilio is best known on the big screen for his Disney family flick “Eight Below.”  On the television front he created the TV series “Traveler” which was intriguing, but didn’t last long. He’s also currently working with former DreamWorks Studios co-head Walter Parkes on the thriller “Dameon.”

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