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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Return of My Guilty Pleasure: National Treasure

by Ray Keating
May 26, 2020

On my PRESS CLUB C Podcast, I ask each guest to play a game called “Tell Me Your Favorite.” It’s meant to be fun, and one of the questions is “Your favorite guilty pleasure?”

When it comes to movies, among my guilty pleasures are the National Treasure films. Apparently, I’m not alone as National Treasure and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets did extremely well at the box office, and now there’s serious talk about not only a third film, but a Disney+ series.

Released in 2004, National Treasure earned $348 million globally on a production budget of $100 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Three years later, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets pulled in $459 million, with a production budget of $130 million.

With the news of National Treasure returning, I sat down for a double feature, and did indeed renew my guilty pleasure. In both films, Nicolas Cage, hardly one of my favorites, nails it as treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates, as does Diane Kruger as Abigail Chase. And yes, Justin Bartha performs his Riley Poole role as comic relief to delight.

And each movie turns out to be a fast-paced, tad-goofy, treasure-hunting romp across the nation and around parts of the world. The movie playfully toys with history, and such historical events, items and places as the Declaration of Independence, the Resolute Desk, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, the plot to assassinate President Lincoln, Mount Vernon, Independence Hall, Mount Rushmore, the Library of Congress, Trinity Church on Wall Street, Boston’s Old North Church, and much more. 

If you’re looking for solid history, the National Treasure movies are not for you. But if you’re open to adventure/action/mystery movies that are fun, and might even spark an interest to explore the actual history, then enjoy these films.

For good measure, there should be more to enjoy. As reported earlier this month by Variety, producer Jerry Bruckheimer said that a third National Treasure movie is being worked on, which would feature the stars of the original movies, as well as a Disney+ series that would have a younger cast. Bruckheimer was quoted, “Hopefully, they’ll both come together and we’ll bring you another ‘National Treasure,’ but they’re both very active.”

Bruckheimer told Collider, “The film version is being written right now. The television version is in process. We have a pilot script done and an outline of the future episodes.”

It’s time for Disney, Bruckheimer, Cage and Company to get to work in cranking out more of my National Treasure guilty pleasure. What’s the next treasure hunt?


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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution (now available at a deep discount) and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

Get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

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