Will the TRON franchise continue?

“TRON : Legacy” snagged the top spot at the box office in the U.S on Friday, but considering it was a fairly ho-hum weekend, and the fact that audience numbers were down this year (this time last year “Avatar” opened), it wasn’t an astonishing feat to land in first place by any means. At the same time, “Legacy” looks set to make more money this weekend than “TRON” (1982) did in it’s entire run, so that’s pretty sweet. All-in-all, Disney will be pleased – so long as there isn’t a significant drop-off.

And there is the possibility of that – a drop-off – what with the film not tracking too well in the lead up to it’s release (reviews are pretty mixed too), and the studio struggling to get women in to see the film. There’s also some pretty fierce competition over the next few weeks, with the likes of “Little Fockers” and “Gulliver’s Travels” expected to steal most of the younger viewers away from ‘The Grid’.

“TRON : Legacy” pocketed $18 million on approximately 5,600 screens at 3,451 locations on Friday. That’s pretty good – particularly for a sequel to a 28-year-old film. Still, “Star Trek” cleaned the floor with it, and considering this film’s $200 million dollar budget, Disney were no doubt hoping for it be a monster hit rather than a modest one.
IMAX showings of the film accounted for 83 percent of the gross.
Apparently Saturday and Sunday will be the key days for “TRON : Legacy” because that’s when the youngsters head to the movies. On Friday it was mainly older males that attended screenings.

Analysts are predicting that “TRON : Legacy” will ultimately gross about $45-50 Million. For any other film, that’d be quite fine, for one that cost $200 million bucks!? Not so much. One can only pray predictions are off, and this one does have legs.
But if “TRON : Legacy” does only take home about $50 million, are Disney likely to go ahead with their planned sequel? Hard to say. They may wait until the DVD and Blu-ray numbers are in before deciding whether or not to push forward with “TRON 3″; they may also do what they did with the “Chronicles of Narnia” series and just punch the big red stop button.

Another factor that may play a part in Disney’s decision to push forward with a second sequel to Steven Lisberger’s cult favourite is Jeff Bridges. Several reports, including one by What’s Playing (The Hollywood Insider has been spot on about 80% of the time this year, so I’m willing to believe the chap), suggest that Kevin Flynn may not factor into the next story. If that’s the case, Disney aren’t going to be in a hurry to greenlight it.

“Legacy” may have been a one-off for Bridges, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that he’s indeed not onboard the next (Garrett Hedlund’s character almost literally has the torch passed to him in the final few moments of the film by on-screen father, Bridges) but if that’s the case… uh-oh. Bridges is a lot of the appeal there. He’s as much “TRON” as Harrison Ford is to “Indiana Jones” and Gene Hackman is to “The French Connection”.

“It’s not for sure that he will be back” an insider tells What’s Playing. “But if Alan and Laura are back, there will at least still be a link to the original”.

Great that Cindy Morgan may be asked to reprise Yori/Laura (she was apparently left out of “TRON : Legacy” because producers thought it disrespectful to have her merely do a cameo and have saved the character/s up for later on) and one can never have enough Bruce Boxleitner, who appears briefly in “Legacy”, but no Jeff Bridges? Not even as Clu?

Dude!

So what is the plan for “Tron 3″? Well, there’s not one at the moment – but there are “ideas”.

Says What’s Playing, ”There’s about five or six different story lines in consideration for the next film, and at least a couple of them feature the character of Laura, who would be married to Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner’s character). In addition, Cillian Murphy is onboard the film, should it go ahead, playing two characters. I don’t think I need to say any more about that.”

”TRON : Legacy” writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have been hired to write the sequel – should the box office let there be one.

We should know within a couple of weeks whether we’ll get to see the third level of “TRON”.