‘Tron Legacy’ Delivers ‘Immersive’ 3-D, Producer Says

'The franchise can continue as long as there's an audience for it and there are stories to tell,' Justin Springer says.

As “Clash of the Titans” enters its second weekend of release and is expected to drop at the box office after its $60+ million opening, the 3-D debate will only continue: Are audiences wising up to the type of subpar 3-D presented in postproduction-converted films like “Clash” and the rash of others coming down the pipeline?

Into this debate comes [movie id=”365437″]”Tron Legacy,”[/movie] perhaps the buzziest big-budget flick since “Avatar,” a sci-fi action flick set within the world of a computer mainframe and which is natively shot in 3-D. As producer Justin Springer explained to MTV News, the minds behind “Legacy” decided to shoot their film using 3-D cameras, despite some of the difficulties it presents in the filmmaking process, because that’s the only way to deliver the most robust, natural 3-D experience.

“There’s so many post-conversion 3-D movies out or coming out,” he said. “It’s the in-vogue thing to do. Clearly the jury’s out on post-conversion. From our standpoint, we wanted to shoot in 3-D because we’re transporting the audience to this digital world and we thought 3-D is the perfect medium to do that because it allows for such an immersive experience. We didn’t want to use it as a gimmick.”

“Shooting a movie in 3-D is hard,” he continued. “The camera equipment is cumbersome, it’s time-consuming, it’s expensive, it limits some of the ways you can shoot the movie. You have to make the decision, ’Is this right for the movie?’ That’s what we decided.”

At the same time that Springer and his colleagues are continuing to work on “Legacy,” they’re also planning for the future. Twenty-eight years will have passed between the appearance of the original “Tron” in the summer of 1982 and the December 2010 arrival of its 3-D stand-alone sequel, “Tron Legacy.” If all goes according to plan, Disney would prefer that just a tad less time passes before a third of these sci-fi adventures hits the big screen.

That’s why the studio has already hired back “Legacy” screenwriters Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to pen the script for what could become “Tron” number three. During out interview, Springer explained emphasized that their plans have nothing to do with presumption and everything to do with diligent planning if all goes well. He also dropped some clues about what the film might look like.

” ’Legacy’ definitely ends in a way that there are opportunities to continue the story,” he said.

How long that story continues remains to be determined. While differing reports have suggested that “Legacy” would be either the first or — counting the ’82 original — the second film in a planned trilogy, Springer suggested the exact plan remains to be determined.

“I think it’s unclear,” he said. “I don’t think we’d presume that we can make another two movies and stop at a third if the next ones were successful. Obviously, we’re second. The 1982 movie precedes us and then I don’t know. We’re just starting to talk about what the next movie might be if we were successful with ’Legacy.’ The franchise can continue as long as there’s an audience for it and there are stories to tell.”

While Springer seems to suspect the cast would return — including Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde, who presumably have contractual return options — he was hesitant to make such a categorical statement. “It’s a little premature to say,” he said. “It’d be difficult for me to presume that there are.”

Such is the case with director Joseph Kosinski as well — while he’s not yet inked a deal to return, all signs seem to indicate he will. “The announcement in The Hollywood Reporter was specifically tied to that fact that Kitsis and Horowitz were brought back,” Springer said. “They weren’t in a position to report where everyone else is at. There’s a lot of other stuff to be figured out and ideally we’ll keep the whole team intact. It’s not like Joe’s not going to do it. It’s just early.”

Early indeed, and Springer stressed that making plans for a third “Tron” was not based on a bigheaded stance that the December film is going to be a hit. “It’s not meant to be a presumptuous thing, like, ’We’re gonna go out and make a sequel because we know our movie is going to be successful,’ ” he said. “It’s more about proper planning. The production time on these things is so lengthy. It was a three-year process to make ’Tron Legacy’ and clearly it’s been built as a franchise. To be able to stay on track — should our movie be successful at the end of this year — we wanted to be prepared to be able to make the next movie in the next three years, as opposed to having to wait another five.”

Disney is not alone in such franchise planning, of course.

Paramount, for example, announced a release date for “Transformers 3″ three months before the theatrical release of the second film. Warner Brothers went so far as to announce the release date for the eighth and final “Harry Potter” film five months ahead of the release of the sixth “Potter.”

For now, the “Tron” folks are plowing ahead with visual-effects work on “Legacy” and are only beginning to form a battle plan for a third flick. “We’re starting the sequel process and starting to come up with concepts for what that is and starting to perhaps write a script,” Springer said. “It’s all at the very early stages and it’ll be good preparation for a sequel, should we be successful.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Tron Legacy.”

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