'National Treasure 3' Still A Go With Nicolas Cage On Board, Despite Recent Developments

Yeah, we all know that the movies are just “Indiana Jones” rip-offs. And they’re preposterous in every way possible, from the kidnapping of the President to secret messages on the Declaration of Independence to the fact that Justin Bartha’s bumbling comic relief somehow hasn’t been killed. But dammit, there’s just something about those “National Treasure” flicks that makes two hours vanish in a non-threatening haze, leaving you with a smile on your face and the vague feeling you’ve been entertained.

Not too long ago, I was at the massive Disney D23 conference when Studio Chairman Dick Cook surprised everyone by bringing Nicolas Cage onstage. The actor said he was on board for a third turn as adventurer Ben Gates. But now that Cook has been fired, Cage has developed some nasty money problems and various stars are expressing concern over Disney’s turnover, who can say what will be? Cage, that's who. I asked him recently if he was still on board for a third “National Treasure” flick, and here's what he had to say.

“Oh yeah, I definitely am,” the star insisted. “I like those movies, because I think they entertain families and give families something to look forward to. And that’s always a good thing, you know?”

At this point, the two “Treasure” films have brought a trove to Disney totaling more than half a billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales. So even the haters have to admit that there are a lot of families out there being entertained. As tight as Cage may have been with Cook, however, he says he’s still on board with the new regime.

So, the next question is an obvious one: When do the cameras start rolling?

“I don’t really know,” explained Cage, who can currently be seen giving his best performance in years in the I-hate-to-admit-I-liked-it quasi-sequel “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” which opened this past weekend. “I don’t really know when they intend to go, and I don’t really know what the script is.”

“It’s really very early,” he added.

What’s your take on the “National Treasure” flicks? Harmless family fun, or something that needs to be stopped?