This post examines a film series I enjoy, and would like to see continue right til the end.
Ah, Narnia....a good series that didn't quite catch on like Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings back in the day. I've always enjoyed the films (more so than the books, actually). I've never really 'anticipated' one, but I've seen them all in theatres - albeit not on opening, I've waited at the most a month to go. The shortest time was about a week or two after release. I either had exams, other films to see or something back then.
Anyway, the first film made (and first book written) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is easily the best of all seven books, and films, thus far. Getting acclaim from both critics and 'moviegoers', it became clear that franchise potential was quite strong.
So, the next film up was Prince Caspian, (which was also the second book written) It was supposed to open in theatres on Dec. 14, 2007 but Disney and Walden did not want the film to compete against another title with a similar target audience appeal - The Water Horse. Because of that, Prince Caspian was pushed back to May 16, 2008. This move hindered the film's audience attendance, and thus, revenue because it had to contend with other summer movies that year (Iron Man and Indiana Jones), and the fact that I myself prefer to see a fantasy film theatrically in December, as part of the Christmas experience (remember my post about my origins and fantasy? That's why. Although, Harry Potter seems to have faired quite well in June and July).
So, because of The Water Horse, Narnia got pushed back from an ideal time to open, and it didn't make as much money as studios were hoping. Which resulted in Disney jumping off the ship as distributor. Thankfully, 20th Century Fox picked up the third film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, (the third book written). they were also wise to have the film open in December of 2010. Wanting to see the franchise continue, as well as do well enough to warrant more films, I saw the film before January hit. I haven't seen The Water Horse, but I do glower at that film for being the cause of 'the collapse' of the great days of the Narnia films. Or rather, messing up a strong start.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a great film, as well as a great adaptation. Prince Caspian was likewise, though a few elements were changed here and there throughout. Voyage of the Dawn Treader was noticeably different than the book (the green mist, Dark Island, Seven Swords...) but was still quite good regardless. Since I hadn't read the books in a while, I didn't notice anything amiss or glaring, even with Dawn Treader.
"On March 22, 2011, it was announced that The Magician's Nephew would be the next film in the series. The C. S. Lewis Estate were in final negotiations to produce it and were yet to confirm a release date and the screenwriter. However, in Fall 2011, Douglas Gresham, a co-producer of the films, said that Walden Media no longer owns the rights to produce another Narnia film. If another film was to be made, it would not be for another three or four years. On October 1, 2013, it was announced that the Mark Gordon Company will produce The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, now officially in development as the fourth film in the franchise.
Mark Johnson and Douglas Gresham along with Vincent Sieber, the Los Angeles based director of The C.S. Lewis Company, will serve as producers and work with The Mark Gordon Company on developing the script. On December 5, 2013, it was confirmed that David Magee will write the screenplay."
Because of how the story over the seven books evolves, after Dawn Treader, most of the characters introduced in the first two books aren't the focus for most of the rest of the series. A 'mid series reboot' with The Magician's Nephew could have worked, but I'm glad that the films are being made in the order the books were written (so far).
I'm looking forward to more Narnia films, hopefully all seven books can be adapted as films. Things are finally moving forward with the film franchise, and hopefully it will all go smoothly and the film will be filmed and released. Overall, I'm wishing luck to those involved behind the scenes. I'll keep you posted you here, but I'd figure I'd do a 'history' post, as well as provide an update with where things stand on the Narnian front.
I encourage you, your family, and any youngsters you may know who like 'tales' to check out both the movies and the books. You never know: you might inspire them to become a film maker or a writer.
(Ilike Narnia not because of the religious stuff, but because I find it to be a good quality story with fantasy elements.)
The order they were written is:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 
Prince Caspian 
Voyage of the Dawn Treader 
The Silver Chair 
The Horse and His Boy 
The Magician's Nephew 
The Last Battle 
[box set: 9780064405379]
The numbering in current editions of the books represents a 'timeline' reading order.