You'd think that with Disney investing big money in this winter's Tron Legacy that they'd be starting to work on building a presence for the film among the broad, captive audiences at its theme parks - a way to balance the teasing they've done with the highly-focussed geek market. You'd think part of this would be highlighting the past success of the original film, Tron, even if only with some prime positioning of the 25th anniversary DVD on the racks in their gift shops. You'd be wrong.
As we continue our visit to Hong Kong, two days ago my wife dragged me out to the city's Disney theme park (she's a slave to The Mouse and it doesn't matter how many people have told her this version of the franchise isn't worth while, she was determined to go and pay homage). I wasn't expecting much as we ambled into Tomorrowland. After all, this park is only about a quarter, maybe a third of the size of the California operation, never mind only being a portion of a suburb of the Florida monstrosity. But I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, with Hong Kong being a high-tech Mecca, and with the new film just around the corner, there'd be something of Tron hidden around some corner or other.
The closest I came to any Tron presence in the joint was when we were coming out of the Buzz Lightyear's Star Command ride into the attendant gift shop and the muzak track playing in the background switched at one point to a soft remix of the Tron theme. Then it was onto something else.
But forget about the original's DVD being on the shelves with the other movies. Don't bother considering advanced merchandizing for the new film. And don't even think about a promo poster or two.
Now, you might argue that Disney's theme parks, and especially the small Hong Kong operation, are geared towards kids and that the new sequel isn't something The Mouse would market to them. Think again. Remember when the original film came out in '82? Even as they were running promos in theatres for the adults, Disney was marketing the hell outta that flick to kids. I remember the plastic lightcycle toys they were giving away in boxes of Shreddies. Don't think they won't pull a similar stunt again even as they push the new movie to adults through every channel at their disposal.
I've come to the conclusion that Disney is like a fairweather friend. It dusts off its older properties like Tron when it thinks there's some cool and some cash to be gained, but as soon as the moment in the spotlight has passed, it forgets about them. Kinda like the way the MCP treated the Tower Guardians. And you know what the MCP eventually tried to do to them.