“There’s a right bit more than hope”

As you all know by now, Disney decided recently not to continue co-producing and co-financing the Narnia film franchise. This does seem unfortunate, but there is hope. “There’s a right bit more than hope. Aslan is on the move.” Quite literally. Walden Media isn’t giving up hope on the series yet. Apparently, they will be shopping it around to other studios to see if anyone is interested. But what studio might be interested? Why would a studio pick up this franchise? Even supposing it gets picked up, is it possible for the franchise to survive the studio-hop?

Many think it quite likely that Fox might be interested. Fox and Walden have worked together many times in the past. (They eventually formed Fox Walden.) Also, Fox is rather sans franchises right now. They have the X-Men characters and… that’s pretty much it. Not only are they without franchises, they are also without many strong tentpoles. An established franchise that shows potential could really be what Fox needs right now.

Furthermore, even Disney admitted that the unsuccessful box office of Prince Caspian was due, in large part, to the crowded release month. If it had been released in December (particularly in 2007), the box office very well could have been near double what it came to. It would certainly have been a few hundred million more worldwide.

If treated properly, the Narnia franchise has huge potential. The question is if Fox (or another studio) agrees about this potential and if they are willing to dish out $150 million to see if the property proves valuable. To restate what has been said many times before, this is a delicate franchise. In 2005, Disney showed how to market Narnia. In 2008, Disney tried something new and bold, but ended up showing how NOT to market Narnia. It’s really that simple now because we know the rules of the game. To oversimplify: Make the right movie and market it to the right audience.

The idea of franchises studio-hopping isn’t unheard of either. For example, back in 2004, Revolution Studios released Hellboy to moderate success. The studio was not displeased with the box office (it ended up slightly in the green, much like Prince Caspian will after a brief period on DVD), but decided against going forward with a sequel and they let go of their right to release the sequel. Universal nabbed that right up pretty quickly and released Hellboy II: The Golden Army in 2008. The Golden Army grossed a bit more than the first installment. Universal was pleased and wants to go forward with a third installment when series director Guillermo Del Toro gets some free time (a busy, in-demand filmmaker, that man is). There is no reason why this sort of thing shouldn’t or couldn’t happen with the Narnia franchise.

13 Responses to ““There’s a right bit more than hope””

  1. Anthony says:

    I am not too sad about this. To be honest, the changes in Prince Caspian weren’t very good. Dawn Treader deserves a studio that won’t change it any. It has the chance of being one of the most beautiful and inspiring movies of the Narnia franchise, just like the book (for me). I am wondering if this studio hop will change the release date and the chance of doing more Narnia films. But I’m sure if it does well, they will continue doing Narnia films. If the date is changed, lets hope it will be another December release.

  2. Kazgoroth says:

    I hope that the series survives. I am watching LWW right now and it is a wonderful movie.

  3. michelle silva says:

    yes it is unfortunate that disney has decided to drop the flim and walden media altogether, i’m wondering if walden media did find a studio that was intrested in the Narnia flim i wonder if an independant movie studio would do it and if the cast would return if another movie studio did pick it up, i will pray that the voyage of the dawn treader will conntinue to happen :) we need more family oreinted flims in this day and age

  4. kilendil says:

    I just hope whoever picks up Narnia does not do to Narnia what was done to Eragon. That movie could have been great, with sequels to match the books, if they had not botched up Eragon in the first place by changing the plot and the nature of the characters. I also hope the spirit of Narnia remains.

    Voyage has also been my favorite book in the series for a long time, and if they change the spirit of it I will cry.

  5. Mary says:

    It is sad that Disney dropped it they did great with LWW and the changes in prince caspian were okay but without the risk of souding like purist some of the stuff we could have went without but the majortiy of it was good. This could help or hurt the Narnia franchise. Family good nature feel good movies are few and far between lately.

  6. Samulis says:

    I wonder if the guys that made Lord of the Rings would be interested… They certianly like fantasy and fighting movies. I think the failure in large profits might have been due to the fact that the movies were released a while after eachother. In the Lord of the Rings trillogy, they were released very close together, but in Narnia, they have been released rather far apart. Sadly, you kind of need to release the series bit by bit since each one is about 1-2 years after the previous. I hope Walden can pull it along, they are a very well known and liked studio in fantasy movies and suchforth.

  7. Hannah says:

    I agree with Anthony. The series deserves a studio that will do the story justice….especially with Dawn Treader. This, in my opinion, will be the most exciting one yet, and if it is done right, the special effects potential is incredible.

  8. Maggie says:

    Boycot Disney, either until they come to their senses or until they bust! http://www.boycottdisney.com/

  9. Riley says:

    What do you say was changed from the book. I just saw the DVD last night and it was awsome! Just like LWW there were soem minor changes to flesh out the story more and bring it to an audience.

  10. jh says:

    I’ve thought long and hard about what to post this under.. a pseudonym or not.

    I think the main problem with PC was that it didn’t reach me. I’m not a christian. I might have had issues with Christians before, but not with Jesus, not with Aslan as Jesus, and certainly not with CS Lewis.

    I didn’t feel touched by this movie like I did LWW. I didn’t think “There’s a God I could love” like I did with PC. I don’t think my friends who ARE Christian went back and saw this movie a second time.

    I get that Aslan _IS_ Jesus. I’ve done enough literary criticism to know that, and I full well have walked the path of a devout christian before. For me, the Aslan of the second movie was not like the Aslan of the first. I, a 30 year old man, wanted to melt into Aslan’s paws in the first one. In the second one, I found myself wondering what the point was. It was nothing like the book.

    I can imagine how a Christian would view this second movie.. and I can understand why they didn’t go back to it, and I think that’s what killed the third movie for Disney. I don’t think it was their morals or ethics, I don’t think it was even that it didn’t make enough.. I think what hurt it was that they saw a drop between people seeing the first one and people seeing the second.. they saw horrible economic times, and they made a decision that they probably found really hard to make.

    I know Disney. I’ve been connected to people who work at Disney for a long time, ask your resident Badger. This was not an easy decision for them. As monolithic and huge as it is, people lost jobs, people cried themselves to sleep, and people had real problems letting go of this.

    I wish Walden the best. I hope wherever it ends up, that I can find the Aslan I saw in the first movie again. Because after this year, I can sure use someone like the Aslan in the first movie, and the Aslan of the books.

    I could do with a lot less of the High School Musical Narnia edition that I saw in theatres.

  11. brett says:

    Well, I wouldn’t call it “High School Musical Narnia edition,” mostly because Prince Caspian wasn’t a musical… unfortunately… *crickets* … (I apologize for that sad attempt at humor.)

    Although I definitely see your point, jh, I must disagree a little bit. I think that a very similar Aslan appears in both films (though, as a side note, the character design looks somewhat different). The problem, as I see it anyway, was that Aslan wasn’t in the second film nearly enough. As a stand-alone film, Prince Caspian does not explain the character of Aslan enough for us to care as much as we should about him. And, so, I say that Price Caspian must be taken as the second half of the first film. Everything that happened in LWW (including the emotions associated with various characters and moments) must be fully considered when watching PC.

    Where LWW was the perfect Disney movie, PC was what happens after the perfect Disney movie. While LWW was about innocence, PC was about loss of innocence. Most importantly, LWW was about faith and PC was about losing (and regaining) faith. The subject matter of the story called for a darker, less sweethearted telling. That said, I think that Prince Caspian is the only real example in the series of books where a bleaker approach would be appropriate (though, in my opinion, it was a bit too dark). This bleakness is what certainly (and unfortunately) influenced the filmmakers into keeping Aslan at bay for a little too much of the movie.

  12. jh says:

    Perhaps so.

    But it just felt like a different Aslan to me.. and it was not the impression I got from the book. Maybe that’s because we just didn’t see him as much as we should have, I don’t know. He seemed colder, more aloof, less determined. He just seemed to be a plot device on which the story turned, not the stately lion we saw in PC.

    I know a great deal about losing faith, believe me. When Aslan returned in PC, it seemed like he did so out of necessity to follow the script. When he did in the book, it seemed like he did so because the characters had refound what they lost.

  13. SS says:

    I agree with Jh I don’t think that disney or Andew Adamson did a good job in the portrayal of Aslan in PC. He wasn’t the main character in the movie like he was in the book. Aslan was in every part of the book whether it was behind the scenes or right in front of your face. Unfortunately, you can always trust mainstream stuff to ruin something good. Overall Prince Caspian was entertaining in that Disney did they’re job, but what they missed was the point behind the entertaining story. Aslan.

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