While it’s nothing new to see film franchises die because they never quite get off the ground (see: The Golden Compass) or because they’ve run their course (see: The Matrix), it’s quite another matter entirely when a studio turns its back on a billion-dollar baby that is still showing legs. Such is the case with Disney, who just euthanized their Chronicles of Narnia franchise when they decided not to finance the third film of what was intended to be a trilogy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. So what happened?
As you’ll no doubt recall, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe grossed nearly $750 million worldwide back in 2005 (and also inspired Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg to get baked and hit the Magnolia Bakery). But the performance of Prince Caspian, which grossed a very respectable if sorta underwhelming $419 million at the box office worldwide, apparently gave Disney cold feet. This is especially surprising when you consider that the film cost Disney $200 million to produce, which by our (admittedly rudimentary) math means they basically doubled their investment (less marketing costs, natch). Disney officially cited “budgetary and logistical reasons” as their reason for killing the franchise, but really that’s just shorthand for the Mouse House’s saying that they don’t want to overextend themselves during these increasingly sketchy economic times. Merry Christmas!