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The Story of Tron

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-just-an-arcade-game dept.

367

An anonymouse reader writes "Tom's Hardware has a feature up on the makings of Tron which may interest latent fans. Through interviews with the creators they explore the makings of Tron, from how it came to be picked up by Disney to how the effects were put together ('While the majority of the film takes place in the computer world, only 15 minutes worth of footage actually used CGI', because it would have taken years to make the film otherwise). They then explore why the film flopped at the box office. 'It was like we put LSD in the punch at the school prom and it was just way more than they can handle,' said Steven Lisberger."

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ahem (-1, Offtopic)

luckyguesser (699385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940385)

first post? weird... maybe i just don't see them yet

CONGRATULATIONS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940637)

You had the chance to make it into the Homosexual Negro Association of America.
 
Why didn't you troll their ad? You got a -1 anyway!
 
GOOD DAY, SIR!

Hey moderators, bite my dong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940803)

This is just to waste karma or a modpoint.

Can anyone... (5, Funny)

fredistheking (464407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940386)

honestly think about tron without the image of the tron guy [tronguy.net] coming to mind?

Re:Can anyone... (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940410)

Not any more, I can't. Not any more.

I'm going to go take a shower now. Make that three.

Re:Can anyone... (1)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940433)

http://www.tronguy.net/TRONguard/ [tronguy.net] has just managed to put me off my breakfast which is nice

Re:Can anyone... (3, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940536)

http://www.tronguy.net/TRONguard/ has just managed to put me off my breakfast which is nice

Time to "crack out" Goatse again, eh? ;)

Noooooo! (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940765)

Time to "crack out" Goatse again, eh? ;)

Please don't! The Cowboy Neal is still in therapy after the last time you did that.

Re:Can anyone... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940434)

A fruitful connection
From The Economist print edition

A new Steve Jobs; a second coming. But is it the same old Apple? The firm's predicament is that in the desktop computer market there is bound to be only one winner--markets based on standards tend to work that way--and the IBM-compatible PC is it. Apple, dazzled by its own brilliance, chose to go it alone, refusing to allow an industry of cloners to arise, as IBM did. As far behind as the original PC may have been, it was only a matter of time before the collective efforts of Microsoft, Intel and a horde of others would overtake Apple. Now that day has come, and no amount of restructuring, marketing or price-cutting can disguise the fact that Apple is the Betamax of computers.

Those who expect the returning prophet to change this ghastly situation reckon without the change in the prophet himself. [In 1997,] Mr Jobs demonstrated his own grasp on reality by selling all but one of the 1.5m Apple shares he had received for NeXT. He did not, he said, see much of a future for Apple. Moreover, he has told Pixar staff that he will not be leaving [...]

This is hardly the Steve Jobs that Apple enthusiasts know and love. Where is his vision for restoring Apple to its rightful place in the industry it did so much to create? Intact, actually: the newly level-headed Mr Jobs knows that Apple's rightful place is a niche, at best, despite its glorious history. Today he talks about refocusing on its strengths in the publishing and education markets, tomorrow he may steer it to the cheap "network computers" Mr Ellison is so enthusiastic about. But it is hard to see a future in which Apple is not a smaller firm, less obsessed by the victory of the inferior PC, and probably without Mr Jobs.

His own fortune assured, and Pixar a success, Mr Jobs has little to prove by taking the helm of a sinking ship, even one he built long ago. At least he is well placed to break the bad news that, having lost the desktop war, Apple must now find something different to do. Having once distorted reality, his duty now is to make Apple face up to it.

Re:Can anyone... (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940435)

Yes. I could until you brought it up again. Damn you.

Re:Can anyone... (1)

include($dysmas) (729935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940442)

erm ... skip to page 8 then, he is in there ...

feel the need to shower now.

Re:Can anyone... (1)

Clifton Beach (809210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940467)

He'll still be recognised - even with the nose-glasses-and-moustache disguise.

Re:Can anyone... (2, Funny)

Agram (721220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940493)

LOL! The only thing that I could think of when I visited the "pictures" page with the link "headshot" was... BOOM HEADSHOT

Re:Can anyone... (2, Funny)

beantherio (922523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940499)

Thank you for erasing my childhood sir!

Separated at birth? (5, Funny)

srl100 (820165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940540)

Is it just me, or does Tronguy look quite a lot like Ned Flanders at a fancy dress? "Yes indeed-e, tron-a-roony."

Re:Separated at birth? (1, Offtopic)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940717)

I had a professor that looked even more like Flanders than that guy. He even sounded like him. If he would have dropped a Flanders line in one of his lectures I think the class would have fallen out of their chairs laughing.

Re:Can anyone... (4, Funny)

BRSloth (578824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940547)

honestly think about tron without the image of the tron guy coming to mind?

I could, just before clicking the link. Thanks for nothing.

Re:Can anyone... (2, Funny)

Firewheels (252266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940603)

I wasn't aware of him before you mentioned it.

Now I have to go brillo my brain.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Re:Can anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940626)

I'm sure he'll pop up here soon; he has a slashdot account and is a well-known GPL hater.

Re:Can anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940720)

He looks like Peter Griffin to me.

Well, (2, Interesting)

include($dysmas) (729935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940390)

the box office flop is all the proof that I need that people really are idiots, I mean, did they even see the lightcycles?!

ptsch.

Re:Well, (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940471)

This is the one film I always watch on TV at Christmas or whenever along with Raiders, true back to your childhood stuff!

Or... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940391)

Special effects != Return Investment

May the wind be always at your back,
-Empyrealmortal

yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940392)

ewwwwguhhh boooguhh!

Tron Guy Approves (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940394)

Ahh, my eyes! [tronguy.net]

Where is our Pixar/Disney Sequal? (3, Insightful)

cbuskirk (99904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940398)

The rumours few around a few years back but with this years aquissition of Pixar by Disney it could be a huge blockbuster.

Re:Where is our Pixar/Disney Sequal? (5, Funny)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940458)

Prehaps the plot should be about the redux of the MCP trying to taking over the internet and enforce its own standards which everyone else has to confirm to ... Oh sorry that was Verisign wasn't it. OK What about a multi-national company that tries to get into every corner of your home to control the environment that has an evil overlord at the top... no sorry thats microsoft Right ok definitly good idea this time My Little Pony attack the Care Bares .... (goes off into a strange, caffine induced rant)

Sequel? (4, Funny)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940559)

What were they going to call it? Troff?

Re:Sequel? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940627)

What were they going to call it? Troff?

No, that would require you to have some knowledge of how a computer works. To capture your sequel audience you ALWAYS have the name of the original movie in the title (exception: if major characters become so popular their names are more widely known than the title of the movie, e.g. Rambo) followed by the number of the sequel it is, which may optionally be in Arabic or Roman numerals. This is generally followed by a catchy subtitle that explains how the sequel is different from, or similar to, the original.

Thus, the only feasible titles for a "Tron" sequel are:

"Tron 2: Milking the Wave of '80s Nostalgia"
    -or-
"Tron II: We Thought We Could Make a Better Movie Than The Original"

SQL? (4, Funny)

dodobh (65811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940680)

Cron of course.

Re:SQL? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940830)

why not win32?
isnt it jobs that run stuff over at disney now?

Re:Sequel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940686)

Tron 3: nroff

Re:Sequel? (2, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940811)

And the sequel to that should be called Troll

Re:Where is our Pixar/Disney Sequal? (1)

otherniceman (180671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940649)

I has already been made, it was called The Matrix AKA Tron with trenchcoats and gun.

Re:Where is our Pixar/Disney Sequal? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940665)

Monolith Productions already created it. Tron 2.0 was originally planned to be a film, however they moved the concept into a video game instead. Actually, it makes sense since Tron was about video games in the first place.

The game isn't fantastic, but it's fun and the storyline is moderately interesting. I especially like the internet hub level.

Easy answer (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940403)

They then explore why the film flopped at the box office.
Same reason many special-effect movies flop at the box office.

They started with a lousy script, and an implausibly silly plot that its very hard to look past. The market for movies that look pretty but don't engage on a human level is very, very small.
"The Master Control Program has chosen you to serve your system on the Game Grid. Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training, which will result in your eventual elimination."
See? That's dialogue bad enough to have come from one of the Matrix sequels.

Re:Easy answer (5, Funny)

include($dysmas) (729935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940417)

""The Master Control Program has chosen you to serve your system on the Game Grid. Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training, which will result in your eventual elimination.""

hey! but thats what i tell all my new sysadmins!?!

Re:Easy answer (2, Funny)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940497)

It works the same for us people in tech support. Users always seem to go one step further and break things

Re:Easy answer (1)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940453)

Thats exactly what my last boss said to me....hmm makes you wonder

I've grown 9,842 times smarter since then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940456)

Who's your user, program?

Re:Easy answer (3, Insightful)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940468)

Pretty film that flopped. Final Fantasy:- The Spirits Within. Looked nice but just was so very very boring. You can get something that looks nice (Toy Story) and still have a decent plot (Toy Story) and does well (Toy Story)

Re:Easy answer (4, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940476)

"The Master Control Program has chosen you to serve your system on the Game Grid. Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training, which will result in your eventual elimination."

See? That's dialogue bad enough to have come from one of the Matrix sequels


It's a laugh isn't it? Take this for example

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. --Douglas Adams


In order to take Tron seriously, you have to not take it so seriously. This was what 1981 or 1982 or so... video arcades were newish and computers were fancy mystical machines no one understood, esp this whole concept of easily editable word processed documents I.E. how someone with no real skills can delete someone else's name and take credit for their work, or worse yet create a program which will do this automaticly. Take into the account the 1980s mindset of computers which for the most part would be arcade style video games, using them and some spiffy new computer animation and you have the perfect vehicel for satire. And yes, the dialog is the likes of which that you would find in a Matrix sequal... and *that* is what makes it so funny.

Re:Easy answer (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940638)

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. --Douglas Adams

I just wish the movie was better. I recently grabbed it on DVD, thinking it couldn't be so bad... the plot changes weren't so bad, but I really hated the parts where they kept the plot, and left out the punchline. I honestly don't know what happened. Either

a) Adams didn't want to repeat himself and threw the baby out with the bathwater
b) They never let him put the good parts in
c) They ripped out the good parts after his death
d) They weren't actually good at the movie medium

For example, right at the very start you have the "display department" joke and the part where Ford convinces the demolition manager to lay in the mud instead of Dent. Instead they cut out two funny scenes, and replaces it with a scene that makes absolutely no sense and isn't even funny. Why do they need to go the pub if Ford already has brought beer? Instead he gives it away and they go buy beer? WTF? The bartender conversation is also a punchline short, sigh.

Re:Easy answer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940478)

They started with a lousy script, and an implausibly silly plot that its very hard to look past. The market for movies that look pretty but don't engage on a human level is very, very small.
"The Master Control Program has chosen you to serve your system on the Game Grid. Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training, which will result in your eventual elimination."
See? That's dialogue bad enough to have come from one of the Matrix sequels.

Speak for yourself. It was the only movie that I have ever seen that has engaged me on a human level. But engaged on a human level I mean human-machine-human which is a lot closer that I usually get.

And for once I really understood the dialogue. I can't say that it connected very well, sort of like an RS-45 to a DE-9. But like any other dialogue, a little solder and a little rewiring made it work. And after that movie I finally understood the philosophical significance of an open collector logic gate! The bit really spoke to me! Yes, no, and when you didn't ask him anything, nothing!

Re:Easy answer (3, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940488)

I liked the plot. It was just badly handled with a poor script. The basic idea of going into the computer and teaming up with a superhero program is kinda goofy but a pretty cool idea for kids. Plus I think the idea of anthropomorphic computer programs working in the computer was pretty cute. The same basic concept was used fairly well on Reboot.

Re:Easy answer (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940594)

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the plot : Man gets zapped into machine and has to battle his way back out.

It only got silly when they added "... using a dayglo frisbee"

Re:Easy answer (4, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940683)

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the plot : Man gets zapped into machine and has to battle his way back out.

The plot was a little deeper than that. A man (Flynn?), an ecentric genius, was obsessed over video games... designs a few blockbusters but a not to bright but sneaky person takes the credit for his work and as a result gets promoted to a position of control (VP?) and uses his position and access to lock out Flynn preventing him from vindicating his name and creates a master control program who's purpose is to steal other people's work and prevent others from accessing it. This tale is told by two other employies who are attempting to figure out what is going on with the system. They express shocked disbelief but one statement has enough of the way of truth to it for them to investiate. The MVP retaliates in the only way it knows how and zaps Flynn into it's world... which as you said "man gets zapped into machine and has to battle his way back out".

While your statement was ment with sarcasm, there is nothing wrong with the plot, nor the sub plot of romance between not only the real life characters but between their programs. It's your run of the mill heroic tale that has been told many times before. Those who want to be critical on the store should be on that point as heroic epics have been a staple of western culture even before to Roman empire was born. It was clearly made with a cookie cutter script generator that would work just as easily with an evil prince and dragons or gunmen and the wild wild west. It's redeming qualitys are the satire on bureaucracy and insight on religion, which are two things you would not expect in a film who's main purpose seems to be a vehicle for hi-tech CGI graphics.

Re:Easy answer (0, Redundant)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940710)

nor the sub plot of romance between not only the real life characters but between their programs
We'll have to agree to differ on that. Even at age 10, I thought the love affair between avatars was completely laughable, and I haven't revised my opinion in the intervening 20+ years.

And however good the background plot, it becomes irretrievably stupid if the method of resolution is DayGlo Frisbees.

thus we blame TRON for (2, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940828)

Some then young budding PHB or IP Lawyer to be, realizing, hey- this guy used company resources to make video games on the side, with the intent to spin-off a VERY PROFITABLE COMPANY...

We should make job contracts that say "all your base belong to us" iffen you make them at all whilst you are working for us...

Thanks TRON!

Re:Easy answer (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940515)

See? That's dialogue bad enough to have come from one of the Matrix sequels.

Yeah, I mean... um... er, OK, I've got a Zardoz quote in my sig. I'll shut up now.

Re:Easy answer (2, Insightful)

jamshid (140925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940538)

Tron had a really interesting message about openness that is very appropriate today. I remember seeing it again last year and thinking alot of the things it said about the freedom of programs to interact directly with their users could be applied to the Internet and the importance of everyone on the Internet being able to be a server and everyone on the Internet being able to talk directly to each other, not go through an MCP.

Re:Easy answer (5, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940543)

Sure, you can take any line out of context and make it seem soulless. The point of that particular line was that it was dripping with cynicism. The MCP wasn't giving those programs a place of honor to "serve their systems" at all. Programs were sent to the Game Grid to die. In fact, Sark probably would rather have been doing something else. The only enjoyment he got from his little speech was the opportunity to kick the prisoners in their religious nadgers, which made a nice counterpoint to his later conversation with the MCP:

Sark: I don't know, I mean, users wrote us. A user even wrote you!
MCP: No one user wrote me. I'm worth millions of their man-years.

It actually has interesting parallels with Cold War indoctrination and Stalinist gulags, with a hint of medieval religious indoctrination as well.

Another interesting concept brought up by the line you quoted was the staggering difference in time scale between the real world and the computer world. The religious pogrom in the computer world had the flavor of something that had been going on for decades. But actually, users were able to work with their programs right up until the point where the MCP shut down Group 7 access ("just to be safe"). The efforts of the MCP and Sark to eliminate belief in the users must have started after that point, and it was a matter of mere hours from then to the time at which Flynn found himself trapped on the Game Grid.

Re:Easy answer (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940550)

But actually, users were able to work with their programs right up until the point where the MCP shut down Group 7 access ("just to be safe").

Um, so they couldn't print, right?!

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940753)

Or more likely the orignal Matrix film. Out of the three, the second one was the best since it had all of the cool action and fight scenes and less of the pointless banter that plagued the original. The first contained far too much talk (which was pure drivel) and the third was a thinly veiled reiteration of the first (ie. Mr. Sweet November once again realizes that he has extraordinary powers, runs from agents, gets taken along on an Excellent Adventure aboard another one of those floating garbage scows, dies and kills Smith).

The Matrix trilogy was meant to be a series of brainless action flicks, not some deep, eye-opening, soulful insight. You take Total Recall, mix it with a bit of Terminator, only use a scrawny and uncharismatic lead character.

Re:Easy answer (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940833)

Out of the three, the second one was the best since it had all of the cool action and fight scenes and less of the pointless banter that plagued the original.
Applause. Good troll, sir. You almost had me for a moment.

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940777)

They started with a lousy script, and an implausibly silly plot that its very hard to look past. The market for movies that look pretty but don't engage on a human level is very, very small.
Do you live on the same planet that the rest of us do? Last I checked, that's practically a formula for a successful movie.

Re:Easy answer (1)

tabby (592506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940798)

And also insightful gems like: "User requests are what computers are for"

welcome to slashdot (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940404)

I can handled some better grammar and/or editing

Re:welcome to slashdot (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940463)

I can handled a couple hits with the eight ball pictures on them about 10 years ago. :)

I really like the movie (2, Interesting)

Rock-n-Rolf (79046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940405)

The movie is absolutely great. I saw it in the cinema twice. The DVD version I have contains a great making-of and I enjoyed the movie again since I bought it a couple of times. Actually I always wondered why this is a Disney film...

Re:I really like the movie (1)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940534)

Its the spirit of people like the OP that can make badish movies great. Tron pushed the boundaries and peoples imagination just like the first Matrix. Prehaps it is something you only get once per generation..

Re:I really like the movie (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940560)

The point of the DVD version is that you don't have to buy it every time you watch it. Or you have to upgrade your player. ;)

Regarding the Disney bit, they apparently weren't actively involved in the design of the movie. Sometimes even the major Hollywood studios don't mess with the filming too much.

Re:I really like the movie (1)

UglyMike (639031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940635)

Waaaw...

You bought it a couple of times? You must LOVE that movie....

Reading anything on tomshardware.... (3, Insightful)

TrueKonrads (580974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940421)

Slightly OT, but i'd like to read TFA, but I ran out of patience clicking "next" and "next" and then watching as some overlay pops every time i accidentally move my mouse over underlined words. Sheesh. No wonder nobody reads TFA

Re:Reading anything on tomshardware.... (2, Informative)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940438)

Really? I don't get anything like that in Konqueror 3.4.2.

Re:Reading anything on tomshardware.... (3, Informative)

nurmr (773394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940464)

Firefox has an extension called Anti-Pagination that does the 'next', 'next', work for you. You end up with all the articles all on one page.

Re:Reading anything on tomshardware.... (1)

Attrition_cp (888039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940465)

Firefox on WinXP.. I know the underlines you mention (damn them), but I don't have any in this article.

Re:Reading anything on tomshardware.... (2, Informative)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940480)

Yeah, that's just about the stupidest page layout ever. But the underlining is easy to fix if you block intellitxt.com.

I never would have suspected (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940432)

Who would have thought it was a bomb? I remember seeing it and loving it as a kid - and loving my toy lightcycle and some of the video game - and the movie seems to be so well known. If you ever mention it to someone, they know what you're talking about. It amazes me it was a flop.

Re:I never would have suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940655)

I remember seeing it and loving it as a kid - and loving my toy lightcycle and some of the video game - and the movie seems to be so well known. If you ever mention it to someone, they know what you're talking about.

Yeah, but did all of these people actually pay to see them film? The movie is pretty iconic with a strong visual style, so it has a place in pop culture even though most theater goers at the time stayed away. It also helps that the arcade game was incredibly successful, followed by a host of console games and an arcade sequel that did okay. So a lot of people know what Tron is (especially those who were 8-15 when it came out) but the masses didn't take to it (mostly because it really isn't that good of a movie, regardless of how visually compelling the world it creates is.)

By the way, Blade Runner and Brazil were considered bombs, too-- they did poorly in the theater but word of mouth afterwards made them classics. Not that Tron is in that league by any means (and it most definitely isn't), but it does go to show that a box office flop isn't always a failure in the long run.

I thought the lines were a little short to get in (5, Interesting)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940444)

I saw Tron, opening night, and its one of the things that made me really, really want to figure out how those nifty looking typewriters with screens could do so much. I didn't know what memory was, I didn't know what a processor did, I barely understood how a calculator worked and if you said Binary I'd say "Sure, I have a Huffy!".

We're always looking at value as something monetary. Tron made me go get my first trash-80 (Err Tandy TRS-80 heheh) and later my first Commie. I wanted to know how those things worked.

You all may remember the short lived series "Whiz Kids" , with the talking computer that looked like it was assembled from stereo components. That was another one way ahead of its time.

The value of the film wasn't how much it grossed , if you want to calculate that, then calculate the life time earnings of those who got into computers partly because of seeing it and you may be surprised :)

However only 15 minutes of CGI? I somehow (not sure why, because I know what was available then) thought most of it was CGI.. but yes, that would have been very very difficult at the time. My bubble sort of broke reading that article, never really thought about the making other than being fascinated as a child with the results.

Much like the show Whiz Kids, it was just a little too abstract for most people. Entertainment isn't entertainment to most if it requires too much thought.

Tron got to be the pavement others were able to ride in on. So wallet aside, I don't think the film was a flop. I was too young to remember any hoop-la coming from Disney about the film.. I wonder how it would have done if it had been underplayed before release.

Cool article, if you can wade through the advertisements :)

The movie flopped (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940446)

Because the script and the dialogs were dreadful.

Re: The movie flopped (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940528)

> Because the script and the dialogs were dreadful.

I thought it was a yawner too, though I'm surprised to see several people posting to that effect. For some reason it seems to have a reputation of being a cool movie. I couldn't understand that even back then; how anyone could rave about it now is beyond mystery.

Headlines for Tron 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940508)

Hollywood reports indicate Richard Stallman currently in negotiations to star as Tron in the planned sequel to Tron 2. The current negotations with Stallman include advertising of the GNU/Linux operating system in the opening credits of the film.

Rumor has it that the upcoming plot will put Tron against a closed-source operating system developed by Bill Gates....

Grossing Twice the Cost is a Flop? (5, Informative)

Hoab (961817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940520)

Tron cost 17 million to make and pulled in 33 million. How is this considered a flop?

It was 22nd in the top grossing films of 1982. Blade Runner was 27th that year.

Maybe it wasn't the smash hit they were hoping for, but it looks like it did very well.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/ [boxofficemojo.com]

Re:Grossing Twice the Cost is a Flop? (2, Interesting)

Steve001 (955086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940615)

I think the reason that many consider TRONStar Wars and that movie changed the standards for what is a hit. But TRON making back double what it original cost to make would make it a success to me.

I think the problem with TRON was that it came out at the wrong time, a time before most people were very familiar with computers. Due to this some of the humor in the movie did not instinctively carry to the average viewer.

But some elements of the movie still hold up to this day. The light cycle sequence has become iconic, and the interest in TRON is still there, as shown by the excitement over the inclusion of a TRON level in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts II video game, and a sequel to TRON has been released in the form of a video game: TRON 2.0.

Although some have knocked the plot of the movie as confusing, when you distill it down to the basics it is a quest movie like Lord of the Rings. One weakness in the movie was the lack of interaction between the real world and the computer world. In the novelization of TRON they included a scene where, when Flynn refused to kill his opponent, in the real world a video game at an arcade froze while waiting for Flynn to act.

The idea of a person trapped inside a computer has become a common theme by now. It shows up in movies like The Matrix, and in anime series like .Hack. This proves that interest in a movie like TRON exists, but it has to have the right timing.

Re:Grossing Twice the Cost is a Flop? (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940662)

According to "The-Numbers.com" it only made $26,918,576 at the box office in 1982. Still, that would be a decent ROI for $17,000,000 you'd think. But that $17M number - which is only an estimate it seems - may exclude marketing etc etc, which would explain that it was considered a flop compared to the expectations.

http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1982/0TRON.html [the-numbers.com]

Re:Grossing Twice the Cost is a Flop? (1)

kg4czo (516374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940755)

Disney didn't market it though. They relied on traditional word of mouth to fill the theaters, and it failed. That just couldn't happen with all the hype that Star Wars brought with it.

I saw both Star Wars and Tron in the theaters. Hell, I can attribute Tron and War Games to getting me into computers. Got my first C=64 back in '83 and have kept it up ever since.

Re:Grossing Twice the Cost is a Flop? (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940690)

"Tron cost 17 million to make and pulled in 33 million. How is this considered a flop?"

Because you generally need to make several times the cost of the movie at the box office to break even. Theaters take a cut, distributors take a cut, then there's the advertising costs to pay on top... which can be massive: in the extreme case of low-budget movies, they can be many times the cost of the movie itself.

$33,000,000 gross for a $17,000,000 movie probably just about paid for the advertising and the coke and hookers budget.

"Blade Runner was 27th that year."

If I remember correctly, 'Blade Runner' was considered a disaster when it was released: hence the voiceover and happy ending tacked on to try to raise revenue with Joe Sixpack.

Re:Grossing Twice the Cost is a Flop? (3, Insightful)

skribe (26534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940747)

Tron cost 17 million to make and pulled in 33 million. How is this considered a flop?

A good rule of thumb is that you need to earn 4x the budget to break even.

And they pimped up a PDP-10! (3, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940525)

For Tron's special effects — The Super Foonly F-1. I bet it had a phat exhaust, blue downlighting, a killer sound system with a 16 inch subwoofer, and a stylish fibreglass skirt fitted to the front of the reel-to-reel cabinet.

Re:And they pimped up a PDP-10! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940607)

I would never have considered a PDP-10 to be a fast rendering machine. This sounds like a way around paying for time on a cray.

Re:And they pimped up a PDP-10! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940768)

Don't forget the alloy reels.

The Matrix (3, Insightful)

Monte (48723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940535)

...was a really great sequel to TRON.

Or at least that's what I think.

Re:The Matrix (1)

Marce1 (201846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940698)

I would have said the Matrix trilogy makes a go.. (I can't say good, because the trilogy as whole just bloody wasn't).

I think they become a modern remake of Tron, due to the climactic end(s), which parallel the MCP by that old AI architect chap, and Sark by Agent Smith.

N.B.: To those of you who haven't seen the sequels, still, don't bother. Just take it from me there are some more obvious parallels than in the first Matrix.

Don't forget the TRON soundtrack! (3, Insightful)

farrellj (563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940573)

Check out the website of Wendy Carlos, who composed and performed the soundtrack...her website is: http://wendycarlos.com/ [wendycarlos.com]

ttyl
          Farrell

Re:Don't forget the TRON soundtrack! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940700)

She's got a great style. Sort of a more epic version of Vangelis or Tangerine Dream. It's pretty damned cool that they remixed some of those tunes into Tron 2.0.

Simple reason for the "bomb": It was too early (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940658)

1982 it was not "cool" to be a geek. It was not cool to "live" inside the computer. 1982 was a time when computers (and even more consoles) were considered toys, not an essential part of our life.

Especially, the audience for such a movie was too small. And the studio was the wrong one. First of all, it's Disney. Back then, what did you get from Disney? Cute li'l films about cute fuzzy animals having some cute adventures. So people did not expect a "serious" science fiction movie.

Second, it was the wrong kind of science fiction for this time. Science fiction back then was either in a galaxy far, far away or equally far away in the future. But most certainly not NOW. How can you make science fiction in the NOW? Now is the real world. The movie was simply not credible for the audience of then.

Before someone quotes E.T.: E.T. was credible for the simple reason that it was a "real" drama movie with an alien element. Not a "real" science fiction movie. There were no laser beams and no robots.

Tron was also not the stereotypical science fiction movie, it didn't carter to the SciFi crowd of those times. No aliens, no space battles, no epic hero. Instead a very dramatic personal battle for Flynn and Tron, with a lot of abstraction that only someone who has at least a clue about computers can comprehend and appreciate.

In total, it is a movie for computer and game geeks. And those were rather scarce back then.

Maybe it's the "art" thing (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940731)

I suspect a lot of people saw Tron as kids. I saw it as an adult and didn't like it. From what I remember it was for much the same reasons Bladerunner works and Johnny mnemonic doesn't. Hence, Disney?
   

Re:Maybe it's the "art" thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940781)

I saw Tron as an adult too, and I loved it. I have it on VHS and watched it two months ago. It is still good!

Chris Wedge worked on Tron (1)

Fwoggus (783001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940741)

Chris Wedge was an animator on Tron and latter went on to co-found Blue Sky Studios and make Ice Age and Robots.

Why it flopped (-1, Flamebait)

krygny (473134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940748)

How's 'bout the possibility that most people just didn't think it was very good? (Please moderate up for "Insightful"-ness.)

They ignored the Bonnie MacBird/Alan Kay bit! (1)

Rexifer (81021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940772)

An interesting side note: Bonnie MacBird wrote a couple of the drafts of the Tron script, calling on Alan Kay (then hailing from PARC) for technical consulting and inspiration. (One of the characters is named after him.) She seldom gets any recognition for her work on the project (I've only ever heard Lisberger acknowledge that Alan Kay was an "inspiring force" for the film, while totally ignoring her). But, at least she got something out of the deal... she and Kay got hitched some time thereafter. Anyway, just an iteresting aside...

More movies like Tron should be made (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940785)

I actually saw Tron when it came out in the theater, I thought it was great. I didn't care about any bad reviews, I enjoyed it because it was total fantasy. The effects were great (at the time) and the lightcycle bike scene was the best.

I am not sure if it would have ever been made today, but I think this exactly the kind of movie that needs to be made - sheer fantasy to escape from the realities of this world.

Tron was not a failure... (1)

sinner0423 (687266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940799)

Please... saying Tron flopped at the box office is like saying Gigli is a thought provoking masterpiece. Box office sales may have been somewhat pale, but they're comparing it to Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and Conan the Barbarian which were also released around the same time.

Very misleading summary. Tron was, and still is, a nice piece of movie history. The arcade game was also great, I could almost guarantee there is a Tron machine within 50 miles of wherever you're reading this from.

I'd love to see a movie sequel, but knowing Hollywood & the way they bastardize everything, it would star Lindsay Lohan, The Rock, and a monkey that solves crime.

What no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940816)


Greetings programs!

Obligatory Simpsons Quote... (4, Funny)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940820)

"Has anyone here seen Tron?"
"No"
"No"
"No"
"Yes - I mean no."

great stuff (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940825)

I first saw Tron as a small kid. Didn't understand much, but I remember that I liked it, the looks, the heroes, the glowing fresbees, everything. During the years I watched it a couple of times and I always liked it. Now I have the latest DVD, and I just watched it recently, and guess what, I still like it :D Thing is, every time I watch it with a different perspective, when a kid, I took it seriously, good guy bad guy fighting whatever, this last time I thought it was real fun, I laughed on the lines a lot. It's a great movie. It is because more than 20 years have passed and people can still have good time watching it. I could list some 15-20+ years old movies that also are similarly good, but that's another story.

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