Success weighs on Narnia's return to U.S. theaters

Tue May 13, 2008 2:37pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director Andrew Adamson knows box office magic with his first three feature films grossing more than $2.1 billion worldwide.

But the pressure to match the success of "Shrek," "Shrek 2" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was never far from his mind while making the second installment in the C.S. Lewis series, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

"If you keep doing this for long enough, at some point you are going to have a film that does not succeed to the level of expectation, and you do just always hope that this one isn't going to be the one," the New Zealander told Reuters.

With some critics and analysts speculating that "Prince Caspian," a Walt Disney Pictures film, could surpass its predecessor and gross more than $300 million in the United States, Adamson may have to wait a little longer for his first box office flop.

But the Academy Award-nominated director is not going to chance it with a third Narnia film, handing over the reins for "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" to Michael Apted, saying he has established the Narnia he envisioned.

"Even this film is very different from the last film in some ways. They could have been made by two entirely different directors," Adamson said. "The stories do stand alone and it's kind of like C.S. Lewis wrote them" to become movies.

Shot in New Zealand, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Poland, the big-budget "Prince Caspian" -- just how big Adamson would not say -- sees the four Penvensie siblings leave London and return to the magical kingdom of Narnia to help the prince battle his evil uncle to return the land to its former glory.

"Where the first film was light and mythological, its successor ... is dark, more sophisticated, and ultimately a richer cinematic experience," critic Michelle Kung wrote in the Boston Globe.   Continued...

<p>The lion Aslan in a scene from "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" in an image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures. REUTERS/Handout</p>