A new interview was just released by World Magazine, in which they have interviewed Walden Media’s president Micheal Flaherty. He explains what we’ve known for a while, but it’s always good to have the explanation direct from someone that is involved. The interesting part of it is the glimmer of hope that he has that they can continue making the movies.
Before you ask, “didn’t Walden Media lose the rights?” Well, the answer is actually not “yes” or “no,” but rather “it’s complicated.”
Here’s the part of the interview that talks about it. I’d like to point out, however, that the interviewer is commenting only on U.S. Box Office, and not Worldwide. At the box office, Dawn Treader did MUCH better at the foreign (non-U.S.) box office than Prince Caspian did, and was profitable. The reason they aren’t doing another film yet does have to do with the Box Office, but not in the way that you think.
An economic question: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe did well at the box office. Prince Caspian did not do so well, and Dawn Treader did worse—both tracking closely the sales pattern of the book.
Yeah, almost identical.
So, with revenue going down and production costs remaining high, so what’s next for the Narnia movie series?
There are multiple opinions on all this and a lot of different players: The C.S. Lewis estate, the studio, our company—and we’re not all of one mind. I would love to find a way where the economics work, acknowledging the decline. I’d like to do The Magician’s Nephew. Other people want to do The Silver Chair, and there’s disagreement about the economics and the overall vision of where the franchise should go next. My hope is that we may all become of one mind, but unless something providential happens there, I’m focusing on a number of other stories.
So, at this moment, no deal?
Translated: The box office receipts for each film, in the U.S., matched up with the sales numbers for each book very closely. The Silver Chair is the lowest selling book of the Chronicles, while The Magician’s Nephew comes in a close second to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Based on the trends of the North American box office numbers lining up with the book sales, you can see why Walden Media would want to make The Magician’s Nephew next. Personally, I think that would help to fund the production of The Silver Chair after that, as well as potentially The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle. But that’s my own perspective, and I’m not actually sure what they’d do after The Magician’s Nephew.
So, all of this means that we’re going to be waiting for a while. All parties could, at any time, come together and decide to move forward, and it would be with Walden Media and 20th Century Fox. The moratorium that exists before anyone else can make the movie is in place to protect Walden Media’s contract to be the studio that makes the movie(s) happen. Will it happen? Probably not, but I like to think that there is always hope.