What Happened To Disney’s National Treasure Franchise?


With Indiana Jones in the news recently, whether it be good news or bad news, as well as the upcoming Uncharted film adaptation starring Tom Holland (I personally wish we were getting the Nathan Fillion version) one thought came to mind. What ever happened to the National Treasure series? 

The National Treasure series first began in 2004. Actor Nicolas Cage played cryptologist, historian and treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates. The film follows Gates as he and his crew try to find the lost treasure of the Freemasons, a treasure kept secret by the Founding Fathers of America.

In order to find the secrets leading to the treasure he utters those famous lines “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence“, which has a hidden secret message on the back. The film received average reviews but earned $347.5 Million of a $100 Million budget, enough to be considered a success. 

The second film, National Treasure: The Book of Secrets, was released in 2007. The film involves Gates trying to clear the name of his ancestor, Thomas Gates, who is accused of being part of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

On this journey he learns of a map carved into two planks of wood that leads to a hidden city of gold. Half of the map is in the Queen’s Desk in England, which he is able to easily obtain. The second half however is in the President’s Desk. Upon reaching the desk the map isn’t there, and in order to find out where it is Gates says “I’m gonna kidnap the President of the United States“. The President gives Gates the information he needs and Gates finds a lost city hidden under Mount Rushmore. The film earned $459.2 Million on a $130 Million budget, and was more successful than the first film.

Now for years people have been asking for a 3rd film. In 2020 the series’ production lead, Jason Reed, said in an interview with Collider that they wanted to do a 3rd film but because the series didn’t lend themselves to theme parks like Pirates of the Caribbean they never got the green light. But hopes for a 3rd film were reignited recently when produced Jerry Bruckheimer said that not only is a 3rd Film being worked on, after being in development hell for a number of years, but that also a TV Series for Disney Plus is being developed. 

It will be interesting to see the 17 year series return since it’s last installment in 2007. The original cast is said to be returning which will definitely excite fans. Hopefully it will be worth the wait and will be able to satisfy fans of the series. A series that looks for treasures in America instead of Egypt and is more grounded in reality versus having mystical objects and magic like in Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones. Who knows what Gates’ next adventure will be. Perhaps he’ll say something like “I’m gonna break into Fort Knox“.

The future could be bright for this thought to be forgotten franchise, if Disney keeps moving ahead on it. 

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