I guess the thing the Disney execs had in mind was a response similar to Star Wars and Star Trek TMP. That isn't a fair comparison. I don't know why there is so much invested in the false notion that if a film isn't the new #1 it's a failure or a flop. What a crock. I never gave a kahootie about what other viewers think, what critics think, what opening days figures say,... blah blah blah. I'll see what I like and like what I like. And I like Tron!
However, not to scoff at Tron, I don't really buy into the expression that it's ahead of it's time either. It's really not. Granted, there's a much larger number of computer literate viewers now, but that doesn't mean that Tron would make any more sense to them or earn any more appreciation. What makes Tron good is it's artistic expression, not it's technological one. Furthermore, the technological aspects of the story is in all honesty rather faulty, so if anything, I think the LESS computer savvy one is the more likely they are to enjoy Tron, since so many viewers will tend to penalize a film for rubbing against the grain of what is percieved as what's real.
But, as we all know, what makes Tron great is precisely the opposite of computer science because it's really a fantasy story, bending the rules of known technology, partly on purpose, partly by poetic license, partly by just being wrong. Movie-goers at large can be a crude, tasteless, shiftless bunch sometimes that wouldn't know a true visionary if it bit them on their Jujifruits.
So who cares about how the film did?
Try doing what I do. Don't try to justify the film and don't try to build the film up or season it for those who don't like it by their using the film's anti-popular aspects as an excuse. You don't have to convince your buddy's that you think your girlfriend is pretty when they all think she's a dog. We don't need counter-facts to wage popularity wars with those who don't like Tron or to make us feel more fitting in in a world that's nearly forgotten about it. Whether or not Disney is still cashing in on Tron doesn't mean we have any more or less reason to remain or become a fan. I don't even care if Tron had been an explosive hit embraced by millions more fans because by default I don't care what anyone else thinks.
You love it.
I love it.
End of story... and