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While not as long in purgatory as Bill & Ted 3, nor as troubled as The Crow reboot, one movie that has been consistently hoped for but has never arrived is National Treasure 3. Every year since 2007’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets has seemingly made it less and less likely we’d get a third film. However, National Treasure 3 could still happen after all, as Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger explained at the Walt Disney Company’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders:
I know that Jerry Bruckheimer who produced National Treasure 1 And 2 would like to make a third movie and I know that discussions about that film have gone on, probably since 2016, with our studio, but I know that they have not greenlit such a film. They have talked about a number of different possibilities both on the creative side and from a timing perspective and I just don't have anything to announce, though I did speak with Mr. Bruckheimer not long ago about it and I know his passion for that franchise remains pretty strong. We love those first two films too, but we're not quite there yet.
While far from as exciting and encouraging as a release date, these comments are still good to hear. According to Bob Iger, there isn’t anything to announce on the National Treasure 3 front, but the film isn’t necessarily dead either. The Disney head honcho could have said that they are no longer interested or any number of things that would douse hopes for National Treasure 3, but he left the door open so it seems like it still exists as a possibility.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is still very interested in pursuing the third film and he has been doing just that, even speaking to Bob Iger about it recently. But it sounds like the development has been slow going. Discussions have been happening for several years to bring the third chapter in the adventure series to life, but they have yet to reach a place where the film is good to go and gets a green light.
It seems like they are still working out the creative side, as far as what the movie will be. Franchise star Nicolas Cage has previously spoken about the challenging nature of the scripts for these films. There also seems to be an issue of timing as Bob Iger says, so when Disney could fit it into its budget as well as on a release calendar may also be a point of discussion.
It should be noted that Bob Iger said something similar to his above comments at a shareholders meeting years ago, so it’s unclear how much progress there has really been. But he still hasn’t nixed the idea entirely, so there’s still a chance!
The franchise that started with National Treasure in 2004 was last seen in 2007 with National Treasure: Book of Secrets. And although things have been said over the years that have kept the hope alive for National Treasure 3, it has long seemed like the third film was dead and buried and likely mummified in a historically significant tomb. And that may eventually be the case, but not for sure and not yet.
The franchise’s director Jon Turteltaub recently spoke about why Disney isn’t making National Treasure 3, saying that it is because Disney is prioritizing other franchises that will make more, ignoring the internet’s demand for the threequel. And he’s certainly right that Disney is very heavily focused on its blockbuster brands at the moment. Maybe, given what Bob Iger said about the timing of the film and the Mouse House’s crowded theatrical release slate, there is an opportunity to have National Treasure 3 be a Disney+ movie.