I had to look up what was the #1 box-office movie for the first week in December 1982:Ben wrote:But even that was a slow and steady race, it didn't come out and do $300m in one weekend: it took the best part of a year to crawl to that amount, but the big thing was people kept going back to see it instead of those other films.
It was E.T. Which opened in JUNE.
(Remember how we were annoyed at Avatar and Titanic staying around forever?
It was a lot more common in the last days before home video, when you had to go see them in the theaters, and hits thought in terms of months.)
The pre-release tracking on the movie was HUGE, and that was part of the problem--Arcade nuts were expecting more of a mindblowing videogame binge than they got, which could also be said of Legacy.As Droo said, it was a crowded market for genre movies that year. What people forget is that, with all that in play, Tron actually did pretty good. Not great, but better than some of those other films, and with continued VHS exposure the film became one of those cult hits in the home.
For the record, the pre-release on Crystal was huge as well (if not for it being depressing and a last-minute recut rendering the script simplistic), but....it was a Christmas movie, and not likely to have been a threat to Tron's June box office.
Also FTR, Blade Runner, Tron's most direct June competition one week before, also Ridley-confused itself into a mediocre box office, and John Carpenter's "The Thing" did an icky el-floppo with mainstream audiences.
Again: The purpose of the sequel (besides to bury 20 years of abandoned sequel scripts) was to say "You've heard the jokes, now see the movie." It wasn't a take-the-title-and-run sequel, it tried to work in geek lore from those who grew up with the movie on video, let alone theaters, and continue the story to reflect the aging actors and the current computer technology. (Which had been the problem with the other abandoned scripts, which had mostly tried to bring back Boxleitner's Tron as the hero.)Sure, it's still a geek's own movie, but remember this: if it hadn't eventually coined in a certain amount of money eventually, we wouldn't be discussing a "Tron 2" here at all..
We've had other threads on how Disney transformed "Hercules", for one, from a legendary studio-crippling disaster into a beloved home-video cult item with the next generation's bad memory for theatrical box office; what makes Tron specially singled out for specific cultural locker-room pantsing?: Because it's 80's? Because Peter Griffin dressed up as the character? Because Chuck had a poster of it in his room? Because a pudgy guy in a homemade costume harmlessly symbolized what you might stereotypically think sci-fi convention geeks looked like? Because a lot of 80's survivors over 30 know how to carry a grudge??