'National Treasure 3' Reportedly in the Works at Disney

Nicolas Cage might be returning to steal some more historical artifacts, as a third installment of the National Treasure film is reportedly in the works. The news comes from The Hollywood Reporter, who got word that Bad Boys for Life co-writer Chris Bremner had been tapped to pen a fourth installment to the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence franchise. National Treasure 3 was mentioned in passing as one of Bremner's other upcoming projects.

No other details were provided, other than Jerry Bruckheimer will produce, who also helped bankroll Bad Boys for Life.

Rumors of a third installment date all the way back to 2016, when Cage told Entertainment Weekly that he hadn't heard any specifics, other than fact-checking was likely holding up the script.

"I do know that those scripts are very difficult to write because there has to be some credibility in terms of the facts and fact-checking because it was relying on historical events," Cage said. "And then you have to make it entertaining. I know that it's been a challenge to get the script where it needs to be."

Just two months prior, Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed the issue at a shareholder meeting, calling the first two installments "really fine movies."

"I know Jerry Bruckheimer who produced them has had conversations with our studio a number of times about it, and there have been some developments along the way, but as of right now we have not green-lit as we say, a National Treasure 3. But I do know there is time and some resources spent on development."

However, in 2018, National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub was less enthusiastic in an interview with Comic Book. "Nic is like, in wardrobe right now. Jerry Bruckheimer is ready to go." Despite the enthusiasm, Turteltaub added that someone would have to "come up with about $80 million" to get it off the ground.

The franchise launched back in 2004, with Cage starring as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian/amateur treasure hunter who goes on a quest to steal the Declaration of Independence. Three years later, National Treasure: Book of Secrets hit theaters, which has Benjamin tasked with decoding the journal of John Wilkes Booth to clear his ancestor's name in the Lincoln assassination.

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Neither film was a critical success, but together they grossed roughly $800 million at the box office, and have since become cult classics.

In the meantime, the Oscar-winning actor is reportedly set to star as himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a meta-skewering of Hollywood written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten. This would be his first feature at a major studio in nearly 10 years, as well as the role he was born to play.