Is Disney Hiding Copies of Tron from the Public Eye?

With December looking surprisingly sparse in terms of big blockbusters this year, there are a handful of movies that are poised to do extremely well over the holiday season. One of those movies is Disney’s Tron Legacy, however, as the release date nears, there is more and more doubt being cast on the film and its ability to attract a wide audience. Despite the visually impressive trailers, some people feel that the original Tron does not have a very large following, and that newcomers may be confused or simply uninterested in the “geeky” subject matter. Strangely, for those who may wish to catch up on the original movie before November 17th, it turns out that Tron has mysterious disappeared from store shelves and from Netflix. What gives?

Most of the time, when the sequel for an older movie hits theatres, this is a prime opportunity for studios to roll out a new special edition DVD. In this case, a quick search on Amazon turns up only used copies available from third party sellers, with unopened copies reportedly going on E-bay for over $100 now. It all seems a bit odd, considering that I was able to buy it on DVD about a year ago myself. Tron has not been released on Blu-ray yet either, so why on Earth would they hold back a movie like this? Could it be that they don’t want new viewers to be put off by the cheesy and dated computer graphics?

The L.A. Times did some digging and found that the remastered Blu-ray will hit stores sometime in 2011. According to Tron director Steven Lisberger, “They’re trying to figure out when the best time is to release it… I don’t think there’s anything intentional going on to deprive Tron fans of the new edition.” That still doesn’t explain why the previously released DVD is now impossible to find. Disney is sometimes known for putting various things on moratorium, but even so, this doesn’t seem right. What do you think, is Disney hiding Tron out of fear that it will hurt the box office numbers for Tron Legacy? And if so, are those fears justified?

  • This strikes more of corporate incompetence rather than corporate conspiracy.

  • I work at Best Buy, and we have plenty instock.

  • You should totally sell them on E-bay.

  • I was pretty disappointed to find that the original Tron isn’t available from Netflix via instant watch OR snail mail (at least in my area). I haven’t seen the film in years and would like to check it out again before seeing the sequel. It looks like I may have to pull out the old VHS copy that my dad recorded off of television back in the 80’s.

    …However, I don’t think that I have a VCR anymore…

  • Steini

    Strangely enough it seems that it isn’t around anymore in the UK, too. In Germany though amazon still has it in stock and I ordered a copy of there some time ago.

  • Nelson Smith

    The two films are visually similiar, maybe they are afraid of people seeing the older film just before the new film is released and deciding against seeing the newer version?

    Just from looking at the trailers, I definitely want to go see “Tron Legacy”, so whatever happens, as usual, if the film is good and there is positive word of mouth, I think people will go see it, one way or another.

    I guess it is fair to say that it’s a niche film, but the same thing could have been said about the Transformers movies and they still made a ton of money. It’s probably fair to say that a large portion of the ticket sales on those movies didn’t even come from strictly fans of the old cartoon series. Half of those profits probably came from friends and family of Transformers fans and just word of mouth about the special effects and all the advertising and marketing.

    If they actually make an effort to promote “Tron Legacy” and it’s a halfway good film, people will go out to see it, but if the release date comes and goes and you don’t see boo about the movie on tv, of course tickets sales won’t be as high as they otherwise might have been.

    I just watched this movie on dvd with Ellen Page, called “Whip It” and it’s a great movie, in my opinion, that was released sometime last year, but I don’t even recall ever hearing about the movie or even seeing a commercial for it.

    It’s just like they say, “you have to spend money to make money”.

  • Brendan

    @Nelson Smith: I just watched “Whip It” too, but I remember a lot of ads for it when it was originally in theaters. Maybe the ads weren’t as widespread as I remember. I do remember full page ads in the print version of The Onion, but since that’s a decidedly niche market, I guess mainstream media could have been ignored. It was an indie movie, which may have seemed more mainstream due to Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore’s fame, but since it was Drew’s directoral debut, I doubt it got a huge amount of marketing.

  • Xidor

    I also noticed that the Tron arcade game has been removed from local arcades.

  • Xidor

    It seems that Disney has been secretly removing the arcade game for the last 15 years.

  • Niklas

    I think this new movie will bomb. I don’t think anyone who haven’t seen the original will care, including myself.

  • LisaM

    Seeing the original Tron may be essential for anyone who knows nothing about the story. I mean, really, in the first few minutes of the movie, CLU is shown to be a good guy, so what happened with updated CLU?

    I have the video so will watch it once before I see Legacy. In a poll I recently read, Tron Legacy was third most desired to be watched new film, behind True Grit (another Bridges film) and Black Swan.

  • Nelson Smith

    Wow. I just saw a very brief new trailer for “Tron Legacy” on Fox, and even from the point of view of someone that has watched the first two trailers several times, each, this new clip was awesome looking AND intriguing. This movie just might do very well, even with people that haven’t seen the original.

  • Benngie

    It’s been years since I saw this, and I wanted to be able to watch it again with my kids so that when we go to the movies, we will all enjoy it and understand what’s going on. Shame on Disney for not realizing what a great opportunity this would be.

  • Dingo

    Yeah, I don’t get it. I had Tron in my Netflix queue for over three months. Then I see the trailer and decide to bump it up my list only to find it has been moved to “Saved”. What gives?