Elu­sive ‘Tron’

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By RE­BECCA KEE­GAN

FLYNN lives, all right, but he’s aw­fully elu­sive. One of the tough­est movies to get your hands on right now is Tron. Not Tron: Legacy, the breath­lessly pro­moted se­quel due in the­atres in mid-De­cem­ber, but the orig­i­nal 1982 saga star­ring Jeff Bridges as com­puter hacker Kevin Flynn, which has gone out of print on DVD.

Tron di­rec­tor Steven Lis­berger re­cently re­mas­tered the film, colour-cor­rect­ing it and re­fram­ing cer­tain shots for a planned Blu-ray edi­tion. But Dis­ney hasn’t set a re­lease date for Lis­berger’s new ver­sion, and as the stu­dio mar­ket­ing for Tron: Legacy has be­come ubiq­ui­tous, in­ter­est in the orig­i­nal is out­strip­ping sup­ply.

“They’re try­ing to fig­ure out when the best time is to re­lease it,” Lis­berger says. “I don’t think there’s any­thing in­ten­tional go­ing on to de­prive Tron fans of the new edi­tion.”

The last time Tron hit stores was as a two-disc 20th an­niver­sary col­lec­tor’s edi­tion re­leased in 2002.

As fans – or would-be fans – seek out DVDs of the 1982 Tron, they have to be will­ing to open their wal­lets. In Au­gust, copies of Tron were still avail­able on eBay for less than US$20 (RM60). Now used DVDs are be­ing auc­tioned for more than three times that amount.

Net­flix lists Tron as “avail­abil­ity un­known”, only two of Block­buster’s 30 LA-area stores had copies in stock last week, iTunes doesn’t of­fer the ti­tle and even spe­cialty stores that pride them­selves on stock­ing ob­scure used DVDs are empty-handed.

“We’ve been field­ing sev­eral re­quests a week for Tron, says Matthew Mess­barger, a clerk in the movie depart­ment at Los An­ge­les’ Amoeba Mu­sic. “I just sort of as­sumed they would have a new ver­sion out by now.”

Stu­dios rarely miss a chance to cap­i­talise on in­ter­est in their ti­tles. In 2009, Lion­s­gate re­leased a re­mas­ter of Ter­mi­na­tor 2: Judg­ment Day the same week Warner Bros opened Ter­mi­na­tor: Sal­va­tion in the­atres, and in 2004, 20th Cen­tury Fox un­veiled a Star Wars boxed set eight months be­fore the re­lease of Star Wars: Episode III – Re­venge Of The Sith.

Tron was a much more mod­est suc­cess than those films, how­ever, earn­ing US$33mil (RM102mil) at the box of­fice and be­com­ing a cult favourite for its ground­break­ing use of com­puter-gen­er­ated ef­fects and a pre­scient story about com­puter cul­ture. To­day its ef­fects might look quaint to so­phis­ti­cated au­di­ences.

Dis­ney says it will re­lease Lis­berger’s re­mas­ter of Tron some­time next year. It’s pos­si­ble the com­pany is de­lib­er­ately hold­ing back on print­ing new copies of a movie that could alien­ate the broad, non-geek au­di­ences they’ll need to make Tron: Legacy a suc­cess.

“That film was ahead of its time,” says Jan Sax­ton, an an­a­lyst at Adams Me­dia Re­search. “But they want the fo­cus to be on their new ef­fort.” – Los An­ge­les Times /McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices n Tron:Legacy opens in Malaysian cine­mas on Dec 16.

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