National Treasure 3(D)? Close, But No Segars


3D may be all the rage in films, and increasingly TV, and raking in the gold thanks to films like Avatar (highest grossing film of all time) and Alice in Wonderland (and we’re still not out of the A’s). But one executive with a foot in both worlds suggests he would rather reach out and touch the audience with good, old-fashioned storytelling than a finger protruding magically from the screen, at least when it comes to his own hit movie franchise.

That was the word from Charles Segars, president of Ovation Television and the creator of the National Treasure franchise. He says the script for the third sequel has been turned in and “we’re just waiting to hear.” He is confident it is getting done, saying Disney wants to do it and star Nick Cage “is financially motivated to do it,” but added: “The question is can we get [director] Jon Turteltaub to do it.

Asked if National Treasure 3 would get the 3D treatment, he said “probably not, if I have anything to do with it.” He said he expected there would be pressure to do it, but added: “I think we’ll win this one.”

Segars says part of the stories’ success has been the feel of “a fun, old-fashioned movie…. My movies have been a throwback in a good way,” he said in an exclusive interview last week. “They kind of feel like a fun, old yarn in the positive sense of the word, and I hope we don’t change it.”

Once the film has the added dimension, literally, of having to serve the technology, he suggests “then we have to shoot something [that says] ‘Wow, isn’t this great in 3D,’ and I think we’re going to be like everyone else,” says Segars.

I will insert myself into the storyline for a moment to say that I thought what turned Disney’s 3D Christmas Carol from a really great version into a really good one was that “look, we’re in 3D!” chase scene with the mini-me Scrooge and the carriage of death.

But I digress.

Segars adds that there are other films that can carry the 3D load. “They [Disney] have all this other 3D stuff they are releasing. Let Tron go do that, or “Alice the Sequel,” or one of those “Pirates 12″ movies, but hopefully not National Treasure 3.”

As a TV executive, doesn’t the potential of a broadcast or cable aftermarket in a 3D movie push him in that direction. “No,” he said, “that I can promise.”

Jon Turteltaub, who directed the first two films, recently said he would like to take a crack at National Treasure in 3D this time around, though he is not sure the technology is right for all films.

In an interview posted on from WonderCon in San Francisco in early April, Turteltaub said he isn’t sure 3D is “there yet,” and doesn’t know how much better it makes a movie. He also concedes that it adds money and difficulty, but still says he would “love to try it” with National Treasure. “It adds a level of creativity and a new way of storytelling that offers new opportunities when a director has a ‘z axis’ to work with,” he says.

So, 3D or not 3D?, that is the question. Stay tuned.