Having made his name in commercial, Joseph Kosinski was a very hot director, and when he was tapped to take on Disney’s Tron franchise, he was given the keys to the kingdom – albeit one with a number of catches. Disney seemed to want to be in the Kosinski business, and when they picked up his graphic novel Oblivion – which tells a post-apocalyptic love story – his nest at the Mouse House seemed assured. Disney has now let the project go. It’s hard not to speculate on what that means.
Disney wanted to turn Tron: Legacy into a franchise, of that there is no question, and the end numbers did not suggest it was a tentpole franchise. The film did a little less than $400 worldwide – which sounds good, but the film has a listed production budget of $170 Million (a number that was always questionable), and the film was marketed for a year in advance. With the usual 2 times cost multiplier the film should have made some money, but it’s not a great return on investment.
That Legacy did a little over $170 domestic suggests that it was seen but not loved. And with tie-in toys now in the discount bin the brand is out there as much as it will ever be. They may have planted the seeds for more, but there’s no sense they got more than the core nerd audience stoked for a third film (it was also a surprisingly light season competition-wise). How much Disney blamed or praised Kosinski for this is unknown, but if they were really happy, and the film was an out of the park success, there’s no question that Oblivion would be full steam ahead.
Currently, Kosinski is still attached to Disney’s The Black Hole reboot. There hasn’t been a lot of movement lately with that – though he was offering quotes in February about his vision. There will be a new round of publicity for the Legacy DVD and Blu-ray release shortly so we may hear more soon. Likely the non-success of Tron has led them to reconsider Black Hole, and it may die quietly.
A sequel to Tron was not in the immediate offing, so that there’s no movement there is not all that troubling – if there are more movies, it will rest on the success or failure of the tie-in TV show. Oblivion going to another studio may mean that Kosinski gets going on a project that will take a year or two of his time, and if it does get picked up elsewhere then The Black Hole will probably declared off. My guess is that it’s already dead.
Do you want Oblivion, Tron 3 or The Black Hole remake?