With the National Treasure movies, Disney dug up some serious gold at the box office and on home video. So why did Nicolas Cage stop with these action-packed heists – I mean, there has to be so many more historical remnants for Ben Gates to uncover, right? Early this year, it was finally announced that a third National Treasure movie is in the works from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Bad Boys For Life writer Chris Bremner, and the long wait apparently has to do with Disney Parks.
Jason Reed, who was the franchise’s production executive at Disney, admitted he tried his “damnedest” to get National Treasure 3 off the ground soon after the 2007 second film made the studio an impressive $459 million at the worldwide box office. However, it hit a roadblock due to Disney not being able to capitalize on National Treasure in the ways that Pirates of the Caribbean and the Marvel Cinematic Universe could, and therefore was brushed aside. In Reed’s words:
They never figured out a way to integrate it into the parks. It never caught on, even though there were a lot of consumer products, it never caught on as an independent franchise. That makes the numbers look different. It makes it harder to make a company like Disney focus resources on something when they can go make Toy Story or buy a cruise ship. And if the company itself had been really excited about moving forward with it and thought they could blow it out, we would have found a way to make the deal.
Jason Reed discussed the struggle to continue National Treasure during an interview with Collider. It’s true that Disney’s model revolves around a lot more than making movie franchises. The House of Mouse also likes to invest in elements such as toys, theme park attractions and games. The producer believes the ball never rolled in terms of capitalizing on National Treasure outside its movie money. At least the studio is reportedly giving National Treasure 3 another chance now.
Following the success of Bad Boys For Life, Jerry Bruckheimer announced he and that hit’s screenwriter, Chris Bremner, were developing a third movie for the studio with the original cast. And in spring, Bruckheimer also said there is going to be a Disney+ TV show about the franchise centered on a younger cast.
Now it's worth mentioning that Chris Bremner is also writing the fourth Bad Boys movie, and Nicolas Cage is set to play a heightened version himself in an upcoming movie called The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Also, National Treasure 3 doesn't have a director attached. So the threequel isn’t coming tomorrow or anything. But there’s much more traction for the project now, which was initially announced shortly after Book of Secrets came out over ten years ago.
In terms of Disney Parks being in the way, there certainly seems like there could have been a way for National Treasure. The theme parks do have entire sections dedicated to American history, such as Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom and the American Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
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