National Treasure is what we in the biz call a (modern) “cult classic” — but what is a cult classic, exactly?
A cult classic is a movie that has a “dedicated, passionate fanbase, an elaborate subculture that engages in repeated viewings, quoting dialogue, and audience participation.” Cult classics don’t necessarily have to be well-known, successful, or even objectively “good” films — they just need to be loved. And, boy, National Treasure is loved.
Partly because of its preposterous premise but mainly because of Nicolas Cage, National Treasure strikes a chord with millennials the way “Africa” by Toto does: it is a piece of pop culture that has transformed into a living meme. However, while the internet and meme culture was powerful enough to convince Weezer to cover “Africa”, will they be able to convince Disney to make a new National Treasure?
While speaking with Collider, director Jon Turtletaub dished on why Mickey Mouse hasn’t greenlit a third National Treasure movie and why it’s unlikely that they will anytime soon:
“When National Treasure first got made, there was a lot more money to go around. Everybody got paid nicely. The problem with getting the third one made isn’t the people who are getting paid saying, ‘I’m not doing it unless you pay me a lot!’ It’s really that Disney feels they have other films they want to make that they think will make them more money. I think they’re wrong. I think they’re right about the movies they’re making; they’re obviously doing a really good job at making great films. I just think this would be one of them, and they don’t quite realize how much the Internet is begging for a third National Treasure.”
And while you’re here, I’d be remiss not to include one of my favorite YouTube videos ever, four-straight minutes of Nicolas Cage losing his shit: