Disney must have been rather pleased after The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe earned nearly $750 million worldwide when it was released back in December 2005. Looking at the numbers now, it earned more than Transformers, the first Pirates movie and was around $30 million short of Spider-Man 2.
However, when The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was released earlier this year it made $300 million less than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That’s not how things are supposed to work! Sequels usually make more than the first film. Disney must have been doing a lot of thinking because the third film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was not given the swift greenlight, and now it has been announced that Disney will no longer co-produce or co-finance the next Narnia film.
Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media have confirmed that for budgetary and logistical reasons the Burbank-based studio is not exercising its option to co-produce and co-finance The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with Walden.
The Hollywood Reporter says the third installment was in preproduction and set for a spring shoot for a planned May 2010 release. The development puts the participation of the talent attached in doubt, adds the trade. Michael Apted was on board to direct a script by Steven Knight. The key players of the second installment, “Prince Caspian” — Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell — were to return for the third film.
Walden has a strong relationship with the C.S. Lewis estate and will shop “Treader” in hopes of finding a new partner. The most likely candidate at this stage is Fox, which markets and distributes Walden fare under the Fox Walden banner.
Any partnership on a “Narnia” movie will require a substantial investment, however. “Caspian,” which filmed in the Czech Republic, Mexico and New Zealand, cost $200 million. The first film, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” was shot mostly in New Zealand for $180 million.