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What Tron: Legacy Can Teach Moviemakers

Tron: Legacy is finally out, ending 20+ years of waiting for some fans, and months and months of hype for everyone else. But, with poor reviews and an expected low box office turn-out, is this another example of a genre movie that got stuck in its genre?

Lesson One: Remember The Real World
As if Scott Pilgrim‘s sad, undeserved fate didn’t signpost this enough, Tron: Legacy‘s weekend box office estimate (Around $50 million) should be enough to teach filmmakers one important lesson: Stop caring so much about Comic-Con. Even moreso than Pilgrim, Tron: Legacy feels like it’s a film created using Comic-Con as a demographic focus group, with Flynn Arcades and scavenger hunts and test footage that skews perceptions about what’s successful, popular and necessary for the movie to work. The problem being that, for better or worse – and the argument could be made in either direction, I think – Comic-Con is not the real world… or, moreso, that mainstream audiences really don’t get turned on by the same thing as nerd audiences, and that for a movie that costs as much as Tron: Legacy to be a success, it has to have appeal to far more than just nerd audiences.

(This is a lesson that feels like is being taught continuously. Didn’t Speed Racer teach Hollywood anything? Or Terminator: Salvation? Amusingly, it’s beginning to look as if The Green Hornet will teach the same lesson in reverse, with mainstream audiences taking to it far better than the Comic-Con crowds who were filled with cynicism and disdain.)

Lesson Two: Nostalgia Is Not Enough
Being seven years old when Tron was first released, I like to think that I’m probably in exactly the right age group for this movie. But here is a recreation of my reaction to the announcement to a sequel to Tron: “Huh. That could be cool.”

Unlike Star Wars or Star Trek, Tron didn’t really define a generation’s youth, tell an epic story (or epic stories) that live on in memory or, really, do anything other than look kind of cool for its time. There’s no heart to Tron, beyond the visuals, and so Tron: Legacy had the unenviable task of being faithful to something that (a) was fairly empty and would have to be rebuilt in order to satisfy audiences 28 years later and (b) update the one thing the movie had going for it, because technology had passed it by since the original. No wonder it didn’t live up to so many people’s expectations; how could it?

Lesson Three: Let The Fans Build The Franchise For You
It’s one thing to generate goodwill for your work, but it’s another thing altogether to not actively generate the opposite. Obviously setting up a sequel within Tron: Legacy – What’s with Tron? Is that Cillian Murphy? – seemed to annoy some reviewers, who had (entirely fairly, I think) hoped that Tron: Legacy might try and tell a complete story in and of itself before starting to think about franchising options. It was a lost battle even before Legacy opened, of course; Disney have already announced not one, but two spin-off cartoon series for Disney XD in the next few years, and there’re already the pre-requisite videogame and comic tie-ins on shelves. Tron, it’s clear, is here to stay and Legacy is only the first chapter… but it would’ve been nice for audiences to have felt some choice in that matter, and some ownership over it. Being told that the movie you’re about to watch is all about the franchise instead of, you know, the movie, removes you from the experience a little bit, and makes the story seem less organic than part of a cynical machine built to eat your dollars. Tron: Legacy had seemed, at best, a curious sequel to a pretty much forgotten movie when first announced, and that made it seem more interesting for most people than Step One in a new mythology and franchise that they’d have to invest time and money in to understand.

Legacy isn’t even really that bad a movie – But at this point, that might not matter. The mistakes had been made, and its fate was pretty much set. It’d be nice to see if moviemakers can learn from its example, instead of letting the same thing happen to the next revival making its way to a theater near you, soon.


  • Paranoidandroid0920

    I find it horribly ridiculous that you’re already considering the film a disappointment financially when it made an estimated $50 million this weekend. By those estimates it only grossed $27 million less than Avatar did around the same time last year and Disney didn’t put nearly as much money into Tron as Fox put into Avatar. I would save your negative doomsaying articles for the film if next weekend it drops horribly during the crucial Christmas weekend. For a film that is a sequel decades later to a film that truly was a financial failure I’d say its doing pretty damn well.

  • Davidlpoppins

    This really is an absurd article. Fifty million is a fine domestic opening weekend for this film. What this article suggests to me is that Comic Book Resources really is out of their depth with regard to covering movies, and that the author should stick to covering media that he understands.

  • David LeVack

    that first paragraph was the most asinine thing I’ve read lately.

    You’re essentially saying that non fiction doesn’t sell and that in order to make a story profitable, it has to adhere to the rules that have been running bland hollywood for 20 years? (SUCH AS a young actor so that the largest paying demographic can relate to the protagonist.)

    Maybe what you meant? or should have said is “make a movie based on a solid entertaining story” NOT relying on speculation and focus groups and the head in the arse psychiatry of advertising firms.

  • Anthony Casaldi

    Wow. Well, three comments in and you’ve made no friends with your first paragraph.

    I actually read the whole article and find what you said to be spot-on. I’m pretty tired of “franchises” and would prefer to see filmmakers focus on crafting one really good film and then gauge audience reaction to see if a sequel is warranted. Wasn’t that long ago that this was the standard operating procedure. For example, I don’t remember Spider-Man launching with sequel anticipation beyond “well, if it does well we’ll do more”. Now, the new Spider-Man series is being planned as some multi-part epic before they’d even found a full cast, director, story, etc…

  • Matrix

    43.6 million. That’s 12 million less than the disastrous Watchmen opening. The author is 1000% correct. Great article. It behooves you fanboyz to sit in the grown ups table for a change.

    Given the 350 million Disney spent, this is nearly a biblical failure. Stop pretending to spin gold from straw.

  • Ron

    I’m sorry, but this article is a bit off the reservation. Lesson 1: I agree that a movie has to appeal to more than just a comic con crowd, but Tron and Pilgrim are not even on the same level. We live in a digital world. The special effects alone transcend this movie to a superior level that most cannot achieve through character acting for the sole reason, that if movies are a form of escapism what better way than to go to a digital world one could only imagine. This is similar to famous and profitable movies as Star Wars (Galaxy far away, long time ago), Avatar (different world, aliens), and The Dark Knight (Fictional Gotham City). Note the last was the second highest grossing movie of all time. But what do these behemoths have SPECIAL EFFECTS. They sell and not he cartoony Pilgrim kind, the kind that you pay 16.50 for a 3D IMAX ticket to go see.

    Lesson 2: What better way to bring a movie to the forefront than to reshape a movie that grasped a few people back in the day and learn from past mistakes and create something revamped and totally new. I would like to use modern muscle cars for example. Bringing the retro redesigned look with HP brought a lot of people to the table including myself. I could be wrong, but doing the same thing over and over is moronic. If you take it, change it, then it can be something completely new and exciting IE TRON LEGACY.

    Lesson 3: EVERYONE but apparently you knows this is going to be a huge holiday hit and with a PG reading (reason why the story is so tame so that 8 year olds can grasp it), kids are off break during Christmas, families in groups, and what better way to spend it than all go together. This time of year, people are in a happy mood and willing to spend money which means this will be a huge movie. Mark my words. They know this, I know this, most people know this, except for you. And the fact that they are creating a franchise is just smart. You know what…..I think you are right Mr. Dumb Author. An intelligent business strategy to market a movie that kids are going to fall in love with right before Christmas is dumb. Not to mention when they shape the franchise to be huge then that itself is a marketing ploy. It becomes a self propagating machine that will only garner Disney more money and in turn give them more of a reason to create a 3rd, 4th, and 5th series. Just like Pirates of the Caribbean. I think I’ve made everything personally clear. But just for grins…..

    Lesson 4: Use your brain before you right and maybe ask someone to check your work because you obviously need it.

  • Bandavelas

    Among other things people are saying, Speak for yourself. I dislike the way you insert the reader into how you feel or how you Think All people feel about the franchise.

  • Xz007

    Tron: Legacy is at the top of the box office. So, you know, I don’t think that qualifies as tanking.

  • Shurato

    And its opening weekend isn’t even over yet. While I agree that the movie has some problems (one of them being the heavy strings and foghorn soundtrack so popular of late) I don’t think that it sucked.

  • Abraxas

    Doesn’t this site have editors that prevents articles like this from being published?

  • Justice Gray

    Cmon. Tron was going to suck from the moment it was advertised. If I can correclty draw this conclusion from just the trailers I’m pretty sure the rest of the world did as well!

  • Jrau18

    “poor reviews and an expected low box office turn-out” reviews are mixed mate. Quite a few “top critics” liked it. And $50 Million is fine. It’s not Harry Potter, it’s not going to gross $100 million it’s first weekend. And considering the poor turn-out of moviegoers this year, $50 million is actually higher than I expected. Who has money right now? Even if you don’t have money problems, you’ve already spent most of it on Christmas.

  • Jrau18

    43.6 million. Domestically. About 66 million worldwide. Opening weekend. The budget was 300 million. That’s almost a quarter of the budget right there. There’s still the rest of the week, and Christmas weekend too. The movie is doing fine. Factor in the disc sales, it’ll more than clear its budget.

  • Joey4416

    Avatar only made $77 million its first weekend because of a massive blizzard that kept most of the east coast from DC north home, thats why it made $75.6 million, a decrease of only 1.8%, its second weekend. Somehow I doubt that Tron: Legacy is going to have anywhere near as low of a dropoff in its second weekend

  • Ghostplanet

    Actually, I agree with this 100%. And if you don’t think that number is disappointing, you clearly haven’t spent the last two days talking with people from Disney’s film divisions.

    I have. They are SERIOUSLY disappointed.

  • Abc123

    You are an ignorant ranting imbecile. When I see you writing a column on anything maybe I could have any respect for your pretentious attitude. But this rant is just plain ignorant, juvenile and insulting.

    About the article. I agree that movies should not be set up for a franchise. Hollywood should try to come up with some originality.

  • Thenishan

    WTF? The movie was awesome! Shut up virgins!

  • Bsavini781

    This article is one man’s opinion, we are allowed to still have opinions aren’t we? When tron drops majorly next weekend in it’s ticket sales, what will all the “nerds” say to defend “their” movie? yes I am a nerd too when it comes to this stuff, but I don’t defend all of it as gold. I will say when a movie sucks or is great on its own merrits. case in point How to Train Your Dragon was Gold, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was Gold, Iron Man 2 was between bronze and silver, Watchman was crap, I haven’t seen Tron: Legacy and I don’t plan on it. to me it seems to be a pale version of Avatar, which I did not see in the movies because I knew it was a wafer thin story with grandeous effects. at 15 bucks a pop for 3d and imax movies, I am picky when it comes to them and Tron doesn’t look appealing enough to even warrant seeing in 2d.

  • Scarletspeed7

    According to Boxofficemojo, IMDb and a number of other sources, Tron made 43.6 million this weekend, making its opening weekend a little over what Disney was hoping for. Odds are it will easily recoup its budget domestically and take in a large profit overseas. So this article is a tetch bit idiotic.

  • Coryjameson

    Graeme, I don’t think Terminator Salvation appealed to fanboys in any way whatsoever. What the hell are you talking about…

    Terminator Salvation turned everyone off completely. Except for maybe Will Smith’s Pathologically Narcissistic family.

  • MW

    I thought TRON: Legacy was excellent, personally. Then again, I would probably fit right in at ComicCon if I ever got the chance to go. But my mother and brother who definitely wouldn’t agree with me on that.

  • Matrix

    Just curious–do you think AMC and Co. run these movies for free? That they don’t take a percentage of the box office for themselves? Starting at 10 % opening week to an ascending scale of 40% if the flick can last 10 weeks. I love how people make these arguments and act like every penny a movie earns goes back to the studio. BTW Bridges is getting first dollar gross on this one–feel free to take out his 5 % while you’re at it too…. Bottom line is the flick will make about 140 domestically–not what Disney wanted.

  • Matrix

    BTW Tron did not have legs Friday to Saturday–think about it, the flick made fewer bucks when people had MORE time and inclination. It’s DOA–twitter will place flowers on that grave.

  • demoncat_4

    sadly holly wood has been use to the method they are doing. and since tron Legacy has not totaly bombed they may soon try and copy its formula. for hollywood method is just follow the latest trend.

  • Jrau18

    I don’t even see how Will Smith is a factor in anything at all going on. Also, I loved Terminator Salvation. It was exactly what I wanted.

  • Ralph

    I think this site should stick to only news and leave out the editorials, seeing how they are mostly garbage and terribly written. Just my 2 cents.

  • Paranoidandroid0920

    I don’t think it’ll have the low Avatar drop off either. But its stupid to call a film that grossed approximately $43 in the first weekend a failure. Next weekend if it drops heavily in percentage then this article is will have a point. As it stands its extremely lazy writing calling something a failure before its measure of success can be truly determined simply to get people’s attention.

  • Whangw88

    Here’s the real lesson for Disney and other studios from Tron. Keep your budget’s under control. Tron opening weekend of $43 million would not be bad if it were not be its inflated budget. But its going to be a gigantic money loser for Disney with its $300 million cost. It would have to make $600 million worldwide just to break even and its not getting anywhere near that amount.

    Another Disney movie Tangled is in the same boat. Not a bad box office but with a $260 million budget it will never be profitable for Disney.

  • Charles Skaggs

    Not sure where everyone is getting this “$300 million” budget from. According to BoxOfficeMojo, the budget for TRON: LEGACY was $170 million, unless you’re tacking on $130 for marketing efforts.

  • Lucky967

    I’d have to say that the biggest mistake Disney made in this movie was letting a guy known for directing commercials direct it. If you want to launch a franchise, get a decent director behind it, and not some guy looking to direct his first feature.

  • Bsavini781

    Actually, what he’s saying is nithe movies with big budgets don’t sell as well as a movie that has a borader fanbase appeal.

  • Bsavini781

    Actually, if you want a good meter on how well a movie will do in the long run, you really look at friday and saturdays opening numbers, if numbers on the saturday are lower than they are on friday, the movie really never does well over all. This is what people are looking at saying Tron isn’t a megahit. saturdays are a bigger movie day than friday.

  • Miguel Pacquing

    I don’t care. Tron is good for any and all generations despite the limited use of color but after watching it, I feel like I need to watch the first movie again.

  • Master Control

    Try applying some scale to this weekend’s gross for Tron. NOTHING is making any money. Tron made way more than I expected and It’s amazing so many people are shelling out for the 3D charges with the overall 3D backlash of late. Only films with built in audiences that HAVE to watch are making any money except for Tron. Its built in audience isn’t Harry Potter large. Inception is the only film in the top 10 that isn’t a kids movie, a remake, or a highly anticipated sequel. Alice in Wonderland was an awful film that made over 300 million damn dollars, and I’d take a Tron sequel over that abomination any day.

    Maybe True Grit and that damn Fockers movie will break the bank next weekend and who knows, maybe Gulliver will defy reason and cash in, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Tron is a damn cool movie and it’s the only film that can be considered “cool” that is being released in December. Hopefully that will lead to some small drops over the next few weeks and generate some decent word of mouth.

    And keep in mind, it’s not only haters vs. fanboys out there. Some people just want to be entertained. Tron is pretty well entertaining. Hopefully that translates well into dollars.

  • Flip Maker

    “Use your brain before you right…” – OK, that right there CONVINCES me that you know what you’re talking about.

    Yes, it made more box office that some estimated, but that doesn’t matter — the film cost a bundle to make, the studio only receives MAYBE half what the total box office is and it will takes YEARS with DVD, Blu-Ray and digital sales for it to recoup the $300 million+ (let’s not forget marketing for all those verticals), if it ever actually recoups costs.

    While Graeme’s style doesn’t fit with my style of article, I can’t say he’s absolutely wrong. He makes some very salient points.

  • X-fan

    It’s funny but Watchmen was considered a failure at $70mil. I thought that was excellent for a 3 hour movie. Still looking forward to seeing Tron later this week.

  • Dances_with_zombies

    You might wanna learn how to spell WRITE before you WRITE dickhead.

  • Flip Maker

    I find it hilarious that most of the angriest replies to this editorial are anonymous (i.e. handles instead of names) replies. So, we’re supposed to take anonymous criticism to heart? At least Graeme signs his name to his work.

  • JohnLees

    Best line of this post:

    “Use your brain before you right.”

  • JohnLees

    I’ll reserve judgement until I see “Tron: Legacy” next week, but I’d say generally speaking the article raises good points, and anyone ragging on it for being “terribly written” just exudes a sense of choking on sour grapes.

    I’m not majorly hyped for “Tron”, but it looks like it could be a fun 3D experience, and I do hope it does well. “True Grit” as well. I want the Christmas Of Jeff Bridges to be remembered as a triumph.

  • Alex

    The decision to make Tron: Legacy came way before the script or any motivations that didn’t have to do with buttloads of cash. There was no compelling artistic reason to make this movie, and it wasn’t given a green light by people who thought there was a story to tell. This, more than most other movies, is the product of the unholy alliance of Hollywood and fanboys. It’s the baby that a syphilitic whore and an obese asocial mouth-breather made when they got together and fucked us all.

    The fat fucking fanboys decided there would be a new Tron long before they knew what it was. The fat fucking fanboys slobbered and jizzed all over their keyboards in their sad little studio and basement apartments, or back home in the bedrooms they grew up in, where their weight now makes the bunkbed groan as they tuck themselves into their star Trek sheets every night. They demanded this movie get made, they swore their allegiance to it, they squealed over the wires about how awesome it would be, nevermind there was no product, no concept and the original sucked purple nurples. They are why this movie was made. Not because it deserved it, not because the story had to be told and not because some suffering genius had something to say.

    The fat fucking fanboys wanted Tron: Legacy purely because Disney made a shitty movie called Tron 28 years ago that was about computers. Fanboys love computers because they connect to the Internet, because they don’t ask questions or laugh at you. The 1982 Tron was an awful, boring movie with a preposterous story and some cool-for-the-time computer graphics. To the fat fucking fanboys, a remake, or continuation of that shitty movie, further validates their conviction that it’s okay to never grow up, that the shit they loved when they were ten was and is the best stuff ever to be created. For the fat fucking fanboys, it is easier to perpetuate that conviction than to try to understand the adult world around them.

    Rather than mature and acquire grownup tastes of nuance, subtlety and intellectual discourse, the fat fucking fanboys haul their childhoods everywhere they go in Radio Flyers. They cling to Star Wars and comic books, they pretend to be knights at Renaissance Faires, and they learn to speak Klingon. They care more about Call of Duty than world peace. They insist The Dark Knight is literature because claiming that is easier than understanding actual literature, what with all those words.

    Not growing up isn’t such a bad thing, although, it was ultimately sad for Peter Pan, and he actually got out of the house and did stuff. It’s only sad because the fat fucking fanboys, now adults, have provided nothing to society except more dreck for fat fucking fanboys to consume. Now that they’re adults, they have more disposable income and time to whine and moan. The Internet and their dollars give them ways to demand that the world pretend their childhood obsessions are acceptable for adults to indulge in. They want us all to think that Superman, Spiderman, Batman and all of their other childhood fantasies are all grown up, too. They aren’t just men in tights anymore, they are dark brooding characters with rich backstories. Hollywood let’s them believe they’re right because it’s incredibly popular. Real grown ups don’t stand up to them because they have lives and shit to do, and the hue of Daredevil’s hotpants just isn’t important.

    Comparing the fat fucking fanboys’ make-believe heroes with anything in the real adult world is superficial and convenient. Nietzsche is Nietzsche, Batman is not. Tron is not an elegant essay on the role of technology in our lives. It may pretend to be at a surface level, but that’s just cynical marketing. Any look past the surface reveals that it has nothing to say. It’s about computers and people, but not in any profound way, and with nothing to say about how they affect our human condition. It’s cheap, pointless, shitty entertainment brought to you on demand by fat fucking fanboys.

    I’m sure Disney was more than happy to resurrect a dead product for the fat fucking fanboys digging deeper into the toyboxes of their youth for entertainment, rather than look for something age-appropriate. Hell, if crack were legal, Disney would be happy to sell that to them, too. It’s not, though, so Tron: Legacy will have to do.

    Jeff Bridges reprises his role in Tron as a software engineer who gets trapped in “The Grid”, which is either one computer, or one application, or every computer and all software. Through contrived bullshit, Bridges can’t return from the ethereal Grid and leaves a young son behind. When the son (Garrett Hedlund) grows up, he enters the Grid to find his father, and the two of them must race to get out. The ticking timebomb of a closing portal to the outside world is arbitrary. The way into the Grid is arbitrary. The bad guys and most of the action inside the Grid is silly and, wait for it, arbitrary. There are no rules that create boundaries for the movie, so it does whatever the fuck it pleases. The result is that the audience doesn’t know the limits of what may and may not happen, so we’re stuck watching and waiting for it to end without a sense of tension.

    Inside the Grid, Bridges is held captive by a younger version of himself named Klu. Klu is the program he created years ago. It doesn’t age while he does, so the movie uses that creepy Robert Zemeckis motion-capture shit to make an animated younger Bridges. It’s supposed to dazzle us, but the cartoon dude looks fake, with very little movement is his smooth skin and such dead eyes that it gave me the willies to watch. It’s distracting as fuck, too.

    Tron: Legacy’s plot is the standard “we must escape before the portal closes” horseshit. The older Bridges has what is supposed to be a hot sidekick, a chick played by Olivia Wilde, who gives furtive glances but doesn’t really have much to do other than look hot. Michael Sheen does a long, cheesy, horrific impersonation of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. I don’t know why, and I wish he hadn’t.

    As in the original, there are light cycles playing Snafu, disc warriors and light planes that shoot laser beam machine guns. The action sequences are doled out sparingly, and separated by too many boring people talking about nonsense with too much seriousness. Even though Tron: Legacy is supremely silly, nobody in it except Bridges seems to recognize that, or have the skill to express that. They all think this is really fucking important shit.

    The fat fucking fanboys will tell you it’s not about the plot, though. What matters to them is that it got made because they wanted it to. They are predetermined to love it, to demand a sequel, and to ascribe all sorts of significance to it, just as they have with their other childhood toys. They’ll also rave about how fucking cool it looks.

    It doesn’t look cool. Tron: Legacy looks as good as computers and a lack of imagination can make it look. Actually, I thought it mostly looked like kids at a rave party with a blacklight: strips of neon and bright colors in a sea of black. For contrast, there are a few blindingly white scenes, as though an iMac circa 2003 threw up. While the movie is loaded with special effects, the design is slavishly based on Tron. There is little artistic invention, and no new spectacle, just the same old shit, only now rendered by better computers and in 3D (for the rich fucks or the fat fucking fanboys who can afford it because they don’t pay rent to their parents).

    You can thank the fat fucking fanboys for the lack of originality. They don’t want original because that takes imagination, which they don’t have. They want it to be just the same as what they saw as a kid, so they can compare and revel in detail, and they can be vindicated that their childhoods deserve to endure. Disney is only too happy to do that for them. Something new is a risk, but the same old shit is money in the bank.

    The point of Tron: Legacy was never to make a good movie, though. It was to make what the fanboys wanted. They wanted a ten-pound sack of shit, and that’s what they got. Had it been a movie, they’d have been pissed. They want what the want, and Disney delivers.One finger.

  • ask

    Wow ,who worte that ,the guy sounds like an great two jerk.

  • ME

    I say they need to stop worrying about the money and just make a good movie!

  • Nulogic

    Somebody get this douchebag an agent, pronto.

  • Comicsaredead

    The movie is great.. and not just the fx,but the story. it’s a solid sci-fi film. i wish hollywood would make more movies like this where paying attention pays off rather than completely fx driven fluff like avatar where you could sleep through it and still know the premise.

  • Geezer D

    OK… anyone with the time in life to write that fucking much about fucking Tron has gotta be living with his parents. So maybe you aren’t fat. I’m happy for you, you are blessed with a high metabolism, I am not. But it’s pretty obvious you are a hateful loser with no job or friends, why else would you spend so much time writing about something so trivial? That’s my ONE PARAGRAPH on the subject, now I gotta go to bed, I gotta work in the morning.

  • Jacob

    We got it from Wikipedia, the ultimate source for research! (do hope you realize thats sarcasm and that we’re all just lazy fucks)

  • BradRzanka

    I say this without any emotional involvement in the outcome, but industry analysts* are predicting that, while the opening weekend was slightly below expectations, the film is likely to be profitable for Disney. With the holidays coming, most kids just getting out of school this week, and no real competition, the film is exected to have legs. It’s also going to be retaining all of its IMAX screens through the holidays, with no new competetion on that front, either. It’s also been receiving good exit poll results from audiences, few of which have seen, or are familiar with, the original film. This could all go south, but market conditions are actually in the film’s favor.

    *By industry analysts, I mean professionals who know and work in the industry, and actually make their living making these kinds of projections, as opposed to the fan press. No offense intended to aforementioned fan press.

  • sillymander

    I’m sorry. I just read SpinoffOnline for the grammatical mistakes and “I could do better” angst by the writers. The content of the articles really doesn’t matter to me.

  • Paine14

    You spelled the word write wrong. Maybe someone should check your work as well.

  • Excelsior

    If you are saying that the Comic readership niche does not represent the Mass Market. Then Yeah I agree wholeheartedly. The franchise did not have a name to attract the younger audience. If the lead had been one of the Twilight kids. You would have seen more Box Office. Hollywood and comics do not give youth their due. When action stars get up in have to watch what the kids are going for and adjust accordingly.

  • Guest

    CBR’s movie articles are the worst. Generalizations and exaggerations everywhere.

  • Pooper

    Dear Spinoff Online
    Please stop, your not as smart as you think you are.

  • Loose Nucleus

    Haha, “your not as smart…”.

    I love reading this shite!


    Over hype always creates a backlash. TRON LEGACY has been over hyped for so long that now its cool to bash it because its
    A: part of teh evil Disney empire.
    and B: forcing a franchise like stated.

    However– what the F**K more do people want from an event tentpole film?????????
    Every single frame of this movie is visually stunning!!!!!!!

    The Music is THE BEST score in years. id say ONLY inception and Darkknight are as good.

    The action is pure adrenaline popcorn fun.

    The STORY is NOT bad at all. In fact there are layers to it that people dismis because of its Disney/franchise backlash.

    Honestly other than INCEPTION ( which was too convoluted that people say its ultra smart) what tentpole EVENT film in 2010 beats this???

    TRON LEGACY is a phenominal movie experiance.


    Why does it suck?

    In terms of mega budget “event” films– what in 2010 was better than this?
    Iron Man?
    A team?

    Oh Black Swans art house nonsense that only has male demographic interested becuase of teh 5 second lesbo kiss?

  • Omegasaga

    Wel firstly i think you are full of shit.

    Also- i too think that under 60 million for a movie of this size is a bad sign.

    I am a 37 yrold nerd who thought it was phenominal– but ive seen decades of tentpole films and know the first movie in & out.

    This is NOT a bad film AT ALL. its actually an AWSOME film but not for a wide demographic.

    The 3rd movie will unfortunatly be dumbed waaaaaay down for kids i bet.

  • Joe H

    “Please stop, your not as smart as you think you are.”
    Please stop his what?

  • Joe H

    The reactions to this piece are as hilarious as they are predictable. But it’s probably not a good idea on McMillan’s part to tell the “Comic Con crowd” that they’re irrelevant in gauging public interest and Hollywood shouldn’t pander to them.

  • ask

    You have a point but this is a website that are usually part of that crowed.He works for a website that deals with that demographic and then he goes and tells people that they should tell Hollywood not to listen to them.

  • User

    All I know is, I saw it yesterday and had fun. Could it have had a better story and better cgi face for the young version of Jeff Bridges? Yeah. Could the movie have had better acting? Yeah. But I still had fun. A fun popcorn flick. Remember fun?

  • User

    Saw Black Swan. Actually that lesbo scene was longer than a 5 second lesbo kiss. It went into the bedroom and got very near late night soft core Cinemax/Showtime fare. THEN it got crazy! And I don’t mean crazy in the sexual sense. ;)

  • User

    Go take your mood meds.

  • J_macq

    Don’tcha know? “Fun” and “Entertaining” are irrelevant now. Every single film that comes out now has to be as “good” as “The Dark Knight” and make as much money as “Avatar” or it’s complete crap and a total failure. So sayeth the hyperbolic internet crowd.

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    Spinoff Online throwing more dirt on Tron: Legacy again? What a surprise following the unfathomable December 1st article “Is Tron: Legacy already a flop?” published weeks before the movie was released.

    Man, somebody REALLY wants this movie to fail…

  • User

    Ha! Then consider me out of the in-crowd! ;)

  • Wbaby

    Why does this article need to be prevented from being published?

    I think the article is spot-on. He’s not saying the movie was horrid and he’s not saying that movies like it shouldn’t get made but he is questioning the idea that Comic-con is an important vehicle for a movie.

    I feel the same thing about a lot of nerd conventions–starting with E3–why some of the nerd elite feel they have a grasp on American popular culture is beyond me. The truth is that because a marketing exec or PR chick takes an interest in a nerd website, nerd evite or fanzine to promote their corporate shenanigans and invites those same geeks to early ‘meetings’ and industry parties–the reality is that they are hob-nobbing people who know more know what’s cool in America than the Taliban.

    Tron Legacy is cool but it was nowhere near as cool as the geeks thought (same with Scott Pilgrim) and as a result you got egg on your face. Deal with it.

  • Hugo Sleestak

    I think the only comment in this article that took me back was that the original film was “fairly empty.” I remember watching it and thinking about the depth of themes in “Tron.” The effects were weird and limited, in an almost German silent film sort of way, and I don’t think the acting was all that terrific. But yeah, the messianic themes that film played with always impressed me.

    I hope the new film does well. I was surprised to see a sequel to a movie most people I know never even knew existed … but then, I didn’t know anyone who was really clamoring for a Star Trek sequel when “Wrath of Khan” came out either.

  • Evil_s2003

    How about stop with the 3D crap and just make a good movie? It seems like every 3D movie is relying on it’s 3D gimmick to cover up the fact the story and characters are stupid.

  • Brian from Canada

    And so sayeth the mainstream press. Seriously: every comic book movie since Dark Knight has its box office compared to Dark Knight even though they aren’t Dark Knight.

    Most critics with half a brain say that the worst thing Hollywood’s done is compare box office takes in the press like headlines. And they’re right. Box office says the investment is being recouped but not whether or not people actually enjoyed the film.

  • Brian from Canada

    Good points, horribly wrong direction.


    ComiCon has been commandeered by Hollywood. Hollywood press big and small descends on San Diego just like they do Cannes, Toronto and Sundance — because, just like the first two, this is a place where tentpole films get noticed in quantity. And any film that gets buzz on the floor in San Diego is equivalent to any film that gets buzz on the red carpet anywhere else.

    And nerd culture *is* mainstream culture. The tentpole films that do succeed are just as much rooted in nerd culture as Tron: Legacy and Scott Pilgrim: most are from comicbooks, fantasy novels and science fiction. They’ve been marketed outwards, and for the moment it’s cool to walk around with superhero logos on t-shirts. It’s also become standard to talk about devices in nerd terms like memory and processor speed — another geek speak conversation.


    Star Wars and Star Trek are pure nostalgia. EVERYthing they’ve put out has been compared to the original three — either the first three films as in Star Wars, or the first three seasons as in Star Trek.

    Tron was just as epic as Star Trek, if not more so: revisit the original and compare how many of its wild concepts are accepted easily today — most notably the idea of the digital avatar in a computerized world, such as The Matrix worked with or even our own aliases here.

    It’s special effects that made Tron stand out. It’s the first film that comes to mind when you say “early CGI” even though Star Trek II beat it to the punch. And that’s because its visual vision is what makes it distinct, just as Blade Runner (another film from the same year) is also now acknowledged for its futuristic vision come true.

    Tron: Legacy knows enough to keep those elements in that make it distinctive as part of the Tron universe. Where Legacy really fails has more to do with the story itself and its direction: the original used the same man vs technology theme as Star Wars, whereas this one’s theme doesn’t make it as easy to find a hero to root for.


    This is the biggest problem I have with your criticism. A franchise is built by the company, not the fans. And it’s done quickly to keep fans buying because new fans take much longer to create.

    So Disney is right on this. And that didn’t stop Avatar (first of three!), Dark Knight (holy bat-product!) or any other big picture doing the same thing.

    Where Disney has the problem — where you too have the problem — is the comparison with the old. Too many critics of the movie and the system are making comparisons with personal ideas rather than the film itself and today’s market. “It wasn’t as good as…” or “Why make the sequel when the original…” are heard far too often.

    Legacy stands as a chapter on its own. It may not be a great chapter, but unlike the split-pictures like Potter, Lord Of The Rings and the upcoming Hobbit, it does have a definite beginning and end for the hero’s quest. I watched it with little problem understanding what the filmmakers were saying in the story and the message behind the story and, for me, if a film does that it works on its own.

  • Flying Tiger

    Atlas: Shrugged.

  • Flying Tiger

    Fed on a steady diet of Disney and Warner comics propaganda, critical thinking is impossible and the Ceaselessly Bowing Robots can do nothing more than echo fragments of the opinions of others.

    Such is life.

  • SarkDeid

    This article is Fox News worthy in its ridiculousness. It’s the number one movie of last weekend. So, how is that a flop?

    Even though critics don’t understand it, the movie found an audience. In some ways, it’s almost like the original movie.

    Finally, the movie wasn’t really a pander to comic-con nerds. If anything, it was a pander to real nerds, the kind that can program computers. If the first movie had a ridiculous number of background references to 80s video games, this one has a ridiculous number of background references to real world operating systems.

    For most audiences, this is a movie about laser beams, fighting, and jeff bridges. For the nerds the movie throws some references to, it’s a movie about zen buddhism, hacking, and linux.

    But, to each their own. It’s not like the articles on this site actually affect the movie business or is read by people in the industry.

  • Damakdaddy1

    My only problem with TRON: LEGACY is that the Titular character was more or less a background character in his own flick…. I didn’t come to see a Tron flick to watch TRON take a back seat.

  • Sighphi

    Pirates of the Caribbean:
    The Curse of the Black Pearl
    Opening Weekend: $46,630,690

  • Jedited

    I important thing to remember about Tron:Legacy (and someone also mentioned Tangled) is Disney is the ONE company that can profit off of franchise making movies for YEARS (how many DVD copies of Snow White [1937] did Disney sell last year?)
    Will Disney be happier if these movies make $1 Bil worldwide gross, yes. BUT Disney WILL still profit from these franchises. Case in point is the already announced Tron cartoon on DisneyXD. This movie doesn’t have to be a blockbuster for that cartoon to be successful and make money for Disney. Also one of Pixar’s worst performing movies was Cars, but it is Disney’s MOST successful merchandising vehicle.

  • Casey

    Disney is laboring under the lack of motion picture experience of Rich Ross, studio chair. He’s never been at the helm of a studio, much less a major international entertainment giant. When appointed, he summarily fired nearly all the staff that worked under his predecessor, Dick Cook. Therefore, it’s a new team, doing OJT. Hope Disney Studios, shareholders and the audience can survive the steep learning curve.

  • Mak Cal

    Wow…. It’s an article in an article,,, Sorry but you wrote more than what was necessary. LOL