Order! Order on the Screen!
George Lucas began the trend of staggered storytelling with his "Star wars" films back in 1977. By releasing Episode 4 first, he assured box office gold at the expense of his stupefied audience. The film even begins with the words "Episode 4: A New Hope" which was very confusing to moviegoers back then as to why they were automatically Fast-Forwarded into Episode 4. As we all know, they loved it anyways and have bought it again and again.
This brings me to the magical world of Narnia and the present day. When C.S. Lewis wrote his epoch he began the whole thing with a book called "The Magician’s Nephew." Yet here we are faced with the first "Chronicles of Narnia" movie and it is "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." As those who are familiar with "The Chronicles of Narnia" know, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is the second book of the series. This smacks of George Lucas as "L,W,& W" is the most well-known story of the whole work, therefore if this film is released first it is more likely to receive a wider audience. On the other hand, if "The Magician’s Nephew" had been released first and marketed as aggressively as some of the drivel being churned out by Hollywood these days is, it would likely have been just as successful at the box office and may have alleviated the need to backtrack the storyline.
While I have not seen the film, I suppose it’s possible that they combined the first two books into one movie and then just decided to go with the more well-known title, but this seems very sloppy and not totally logical, from a literary standpoint. Why not use the title of the first book if this was the case?
I Can’t help but wonder if the reason for releasing "Lion, Witch &..." first is a religious one. After all, Aslan sacrifices himself on a stone table and Narnia is saved from the wrath of the Witch. It is well-known that C.S. Lewis was a Christian and the Aslan metaphor is therefore easy to recognize.
And will there be any more Narnia movies? If so, what’s next? "Prince Caspian?" "The Dawn Treader?" Well, I guess I shouldn’t expect consistency nor integrity from a post-Golden Age Hollywood.