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Tom Clancy dies, but his blockbuster empire lives on

Adriene Hill Oct 2, 2013

Tom Clancy, master of the political thriller, has died.

Many of his best-selling novels became box-office gold; he lent his names to videogames.

Tom Clancy was a brand. One of the very first authors-as-brand. 

People wanted what Clancy had, says Jim Milliot with Publishers Weekly. “They want to go to the movies because it’s a Clancy movie. They want to play the video game because it’s a Clancy video game.”

And the Clancy name is going strong. A new Clancy video game is coming out next year. In December, there will be a both a new novel and movie about Jack Ryan, Clancy’s best known character.

As an analyst-turned-reluctant-hero-turned-president, Jack Ryan may just be the next James Bond. He’s cool. He’s likeable. He’s all over the world. A combo which could add up to movie-theatre longevity.

“It’s really global political thriller that we’re talking about,” says USC film professor Jason E. Squire, “and what could be better in this age of global blockbuster movies.” 

Squire thinks it’s up to the estate and the studio to stay true to the character that Tom Clancy created.

Doing the numbers on Tom Clancy:

4: Actors who have portrayed Clancy’s character Jack Ryan — Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine.

736: Pages in what is to be Clancy’s last published book, “Command Authority,” set for release on Dec. 3, 2013.

3: Board games based on Clancy works — “The Hunt for Red October,” “Red Storm Rising” and “Tom Clancy’s Politika.”

19: Total number of novels published by Clancy.

1996: The year Clancy co-founded the video game developer Red Storm Entertainment, which put out a number of successful video games  including the “Rainbow Six,” “Ghost Recon” and “Splinter Cell” series.

$215,000,000: Box office total for the 1994 film “Clear and Present Danger,” based on the novel of the same name and starring Ford.

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