Tron at 35: Star Jeff Bridges, Creators Detail the Uphill Battle of Making the CGI Classic | Redux Reports
Disney’s “Tron,” the granddaddy of CGI animated films, celebrates its 35th anniversary on July 9. And over the decades, the sci-fi adventure has spawned video games, the 2010 movie sequel “Tron: Legacy,” a high-tech ride at Shanghai Disney, an animated series, and even talk of a possible third sequel with Oscar winner Jared Leto in early talks to star.
And “Tron” has influenced CGI animators worldwide. In fact, Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter has acknowledged that “Without ‘Tron,’ there would be no ‘Toy Story.’”
Back in 1982, not only did “Tron” receive mixed reviews from critics and audiences, Hollywood didn’t welcome the film, which paid homage to “The Wizard of Oz” and “Metropolis,” with open arms.
“It certainly wasn’t the reaction we expected,” said Steven Lisberger, who wrote and directed the film starring Jeff Bridges as computer games creator who finds himself zapped inside a power-hungry Master Control program after he hacks into the mainframe computer of his ruthlessly ambitious ex-employer (David Warner). Once inside the computer, he joins up with computer gladiators as he tries to fight his way back to the real world.
“I say the lesson that one learns is that you pay the price for going against the status quo,” he admitted. “It’s difficult to emphasize enough how terrified of computers and technology people were, and Hollywood in particular. The threat that ‘Tron’ represented was that somehow computers were going to get involved with movie making and that they were going to get involved with our lives.”
And Hollywood was shocked it was Disney that was “suggesting” that computers were going to be part of everyone’s lives. “When I think about Disney, I always think about how they provide nostalgia and a certain amount of comfort that comes from nostalgia. It’s interesting to see how over the decades ‘Tron’ has now gained a patina of nostalgia. In that sense, it’s become more of a Disney film now then it was back then. It was very upsetting to people that Disney crossed the line and did something for which there was no precedent.”
Lisberger and his producing partner Donald Kushner, who is now co-owner of the TCL Chinese Theatres, moved from Boston to Venice in the mid-70s and began working on “Animalympics,” two animated NBC specials that were to air during the Winter and Summer Olympics in 1980. Only the winter one aired because the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan.
It was during the production that the idea for “Tron” took shape.
read on: Variety
Tron is a 1982 American science fiction action-adventure film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, based on a story by Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird and produced by Walt Disney Productions. The film stars Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer who is transported inside the software world of a mainframe computer where he interacts with programs in his attempt to escape. Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, and Barnard Hughes star in supporting roles
Directed by Steven Lisberger
Produced by Donald Kushner
Screenplay by Steven Lisberger
Story by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird
Starring Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes
Music by Wendy Carlos
Cinematography Bruce Logan
Edited by Jeff Gourson
Production company Walt Disney Productions, Lisberger/Kushner Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release date July 9, 1982
Budget $17 million
Box office $33 million
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