Is Disney Trying To Derez The Original Tron From History?

Yesterday, I set out to watch Tron. It was my one Sunday goal, and it only seemed reasonable that I would want to brush up in preparation for the upcoming sequel Tron: Legacy. Unfortunately, it was already rented at two of my local video places and the third one didn’t have a copy. Frustrated, I decided to buy it. I went to Best Buy and they didn’t have it. I went to Borders and they didn’t have it. I went to Barnes & Noble and they didn’t have it. I asked them to order it. After about five minutes of frantic typing, the gentleman told me there were some in the warehouse, but the system had placed a hold on all of them. He politely told me this sort of thing normally happens when DVDs are about to be re-released. Here’s the thing though, there’s no official Tron release scheduled until at least next year.

So, I ask you what the hell is going on? And I answer: It seems Disney has conspired to erase Tron from the face of the Earth. Like a stupid eccentric billionaire in some terrible movie that attempts to buy every paper in town, Disney has systematically eliminated Tron’s availability. Don’t believe me? Let’s investigate.

Amazon is no longer selling Tron, but they referred me to several private retailers that are selling new copies starting at $98.94 and going as high as $162.89. The Disney website claims the film is available for purchase, but when you click to buy it, it takes you to a trailer for A Christmas Carol. Best Buy doesn’t carry it. DVD Empire lists the film as discontinued. And perhaps most strangely of all, Netflix won’t let users add the film to their queue. I tried. My roommate tried. My boss tried. This random dude tried for four months.

Earlier this year, there was a pretty persistent rumor that Disney had paid for a high resolution transfer of the film and was planning a Blu-Ray release to coincide with the sequel hitting theaters. But as of now, that release has been pushed back until 2011. Why? With interest in the original sure to be at an all-time peak, it seems dumbfounding a company would willingly ignore a chance to capitalize on the heightened buzz. Unless Disney doesn’t want people to see the original Tron.

Late last month, Blue Sky Disney ran an editorial on this very subject. In it, they cite a focus group screening of the film that went horribly awry as a possible reason for Disney pushing back the original’s Blu-Ray release date. Could this also be the reason why copies of Tron seem to be disappearing before our eyes? Is Disney really trying to hide or disfigure all memory of the 1982 cult classic? Doesn’t it seem like we live in a society too advanced for this shit? This isn’t Ancient Egypt. You can’t just go in and chisel off the faces of previous rulers you don’t want history to remember. Tron made 33 million dollars when it was released. Since then, it’s become a serious cult classic. People care about this movie. It’s culturally relevant. It’s too big to stifle.

This whole Tron fiasco says a lot about Disney, but it may say more about the people Disney is marketing Tron: Legacy to. 20 years ago, Tron was a revelation. It was unique, visually stimulating and way ahead of its time. Just because technology has since passed it up doesn’t mean it was any less important or impressive at the time. People need to realize that. And Disney needs to realize not all people are as foolish or obsessed with the moment as those idiots in the test screening. A lot of people can still appreciate Tron; and a lot of people, perhaps even more people, would have seen Legacy if they had access to the old one.

I want Tron, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

Note: We are still attempting to reach Disney for comment. We’ll update this post as soon as we get an official response to our queries.

Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.