Not sure why, but Disney doesn't consider a near-sure-thing $500 million box office a good enough reason to stay with the Narnia franchise. Hollywood Reporter, December 24:
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" will have to sail without Disney.Happily, Walden isn't giving up on the project, but it isn't easy finding a new partner with deep pockets.
While declining to elaborate, Disney and Walden Media confirmed Tuesday that for budgetary and logistical reasons the Burbank-based studio is not exercising its option to co-produce and co-finance the next "Narnia" movie with Walden.
The third entry in the series, based on the classic books by C.S. Lewis, was in preproduction and set for a spring shoot for a planned May 2010 release.
Interestingly, the Hollywood Reporter commits a logic error that I've seen more than once before. They are attributing Disney's skittishness to a perceived decline of audience interest in the fantasy genre as a whole (and children's fantasy in particular). They cite as evidence the fact that Prince Caspian didn't do as well as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and that Pullman's The Golden Compass bombed completely.
The reality is that Prince Caspian simply wasn't as good as the first Narnia movie (and IMO took some unnecessary liberties with the book version of the story). As for The Golden Compass, what else do you expect from a movie based on a book trilogy that goes out of its way to insult the deeply-held beliefs of a vast portion of its supposed target audience? It would be tragically ironic if the dismal failure of an anti-Christian movie ended up killing off a Christian-friendly franchise that had broad public appeal.
No... if Walden -- or any other studio -- makes a truly good movie in the fantasy genre, the public will reward them.