Garrett Hedlund admits that Tomorrowland's poor box office performance affected TRON 3's chances of happening. Long-awaited sequels can be hits or misses; there's no guarantee that a film which was successful in one year can have a sequel release years later and be equally successful, especially if studios wait decades to release the next installment. A clear example of this is Joseph Kosinski's TRON: Legacy, which released 28 years after Steven Lisberger's TRON and takes place 27 years after the events of that first film.
Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprised their TRON roles as Kevin Flynn and Alan Bradley, respectively, in TRON: Legacy, with Hedlund playing Bridge's son, Sam Flynn, and Olivia Wilde playing Quorra, an isomorphic algorithm who Flynn believed could change the world. Of course, that outcome was never explored. Unfortunately, the sequel's box office performance - $400 million worldwide against an estimated production budget of $170 million - wasn't strong enough for Disney to justify a third film, though it was something that they had on their minds for several years. A third film was finally confirmed in 2015, but Disney ended up canceling TRON 3 altogether that May. As it turns out, the cancellation was partly because Brad Bird's Tomorrowland underperformed (something that was believed but never confirmed).
In an interview with MTV's Happy Sad Confused podcast, Garrett Hedlund explains that TRON 3 fell through partly because Tomorrowland had some issues at the box office (which is code for flopping). He said:
"When the next TRON was supposed to start - we were greenlit and ready to go - and then [Disney] had troubles with how Tomorrowland did. And I think they asked them to give them like a hundred reasons why they should do [TRON 3]. And if that didn't fall through, I never would've been able to work with [Stephen] Soderbergh on [Mosaic]."
Tomorrowland was the last ambitious sci-fi project Walt Disney Studios has backed. The movie released in a prime summertime slot and significantly underperformed at the worldwide box office, grossing $209.2 million globally against an estimated production budget of $190 million. Ever since then, the Mouse House has seen overwhelming success with live-action remakes and reimaginings of classic fairy tale and animated stories, such as The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast - and they don't plan on slowing down production on those films anytime soon.
Despite receiving mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, TRON: Legacy was generally more warmly received from audiences. And the film has since become a fan-favorite amongst sci-fi enthusiasts, which is why fans continually ask Disney to green light a third film. While TRON 3 is unlikely to ever happen, Disney is working on a TRON reboot with Jared Leto in the title role.
Source: Happy Sad Confused