Disney Buys Rights To INDIANA JONES Films

Jason Gorber, Featured Critic
Whip it good, for Variety is reporting that Disney has taken control of another beloved franchise in the form of the Indiana Jones series.

While this isn't a super surprise, given last year's Lucasfilm deal that saw the rights to the character go to the Mouse House, this at least overcomes one of the hurdles about actually getting a new film from the series out into theatres. It's not such a bad deal for both - Disney gets (had?) rights to all future iterations along with their marketing opportunities, while Paramount will continue to have the rights to distribute the first four films, as well as profiting in part on any future installments.

So, basically, the gates are open for the new owners to do their thing, with the blessing of the old owners.

Disney of course has a longstanding connection with Indy (as they did with Star Wars before) in the form of their theme park, but this actually paves the path for new iterations of characters moving forward. A follow-up to the (underappreciated) Young Indiana Jones TV series? A followup with the adventures of Mutt as he takes over his father's business? Or maybe a complete reboot? Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford have all said they wouldn't mind another iteration, even if time seems to be running out, at least in terms of plausibility of the character doing much more than being a zany old coot.

It'll be hard to think of an Indy film not opening with the iconic Paramount mountain, almost as hard as to think of a Star Wars film not being intro'd by the snappy snare of the Fox theme. Still, I'm sure that someone will come up with a clever dissolve from the famed Disney castle into some foreboding location, as long as we see a man with a whip and a hat on screen again.
Around the Internet:
  • As with Star Wars, I have more faith in Disney to develop stories and maintain the character than I do in Lucas. There's going to be more Indy no matter what and that being the case I'd much rather have the control here than there. Maybe this'll mean a revival of The Young Indian Jones Chronicles?

  • Mr. Cavin

    I definitely agree with this, too.

  • TapewormBike

    Did they acquire fountain of youth for Ford as well?

  • They did, in 1989... He chose...wisely.

  • TapewormBike

    Have you seen Enders Game though? He looked closer to the guy who chose poorly. But way more lifeless.

  • Kurt

    The Disney acquisitions thing, the whole uber-franchising with Marvel - and now Star Wars and Indy under that umbrella - kind of makes me sad and kind of depressed. Why can't they just make NEW stuff instead of continually drilling down on stuff from the 1980s (or comics from the 1960s??)

    I don't want Indy movies. I don't want Star Wars movies. I WANT NEW AMAZINGLY ORIGINAL AND FORWARD THINKING movies that I won't spend time mentally comparing to the 'originals' or where they fit into the saga, or continuity, or whatnot. I want new forms of adventure storytelling that bust tradition, cliche and expectations - stories that are not overly shackled to mythology or canon or the delights of the greatest generation, baby boomers, or Gen X - films that defy attempts to box into a '5-year plan.'

    I don't want Darth Vader taking fucking selfies of himself and posting to twitter, or Luke and Han as old folks telling the young 'uns what is what about the Empire or The Force. I don't want Prequels, Sidequels, Equals or Sequels. I don't want anymore Indy, Salah or Marion. And I sure as shit don't want any films centred around Shia LaBeouf's yodelling Mutt.

    I want these big studios to stop giving me what they think I want, and show me what is amazing about the things I didn't even know I wanted. If this takes some kind of collapse/reconfigurization of the studio system such that Studio cinema will have to rebuild itself from the ground out instead of fucking SYNERGY and BRANDING, then so be it. Please stop.

    (Oh, and get off my lawn!! Harumph.)

  • Mr. Cavin

    Nice manifesto. I agree. Make new stuff. I know it's the ubiquitous bitch-n-moan of the aging, but when I was a kid, none of my favorite things were decades-old rehashes of my parents' stuff. (Bond was kinda at a low point, too, frankly.) Sure, there are plenty of interesting things that can be done with Indiana. But what a soulless waste of modern talent, to shackle them to the stuff we all liked when were ten.

  • From a personal perspective, I completely agree. From a business standpoint, I completely understand that Disney is pursuing a strategy to maximize profits and minimize risks. Now, within the narrow confines of that dream factory, can something startling and satisfying be conjured up?

    I'm not holding my breath.

  • You get this angry about new James Bond films?

  • Kurt

    Bond is a different animal altogether.

  • Why? What's inherently different about a franchise like Bond?

  • Ironic, given that INDY only exists because Lucas/Spielberg wanted to do their own Bond-style film. The character I think is rich enough to be used in other propertied (animation?), but we'll see how it plays out.

  • Kurt

    Indy was made from the DNA of a lot of things. This movie has Disney far more intent on capitalizing rather than creating. There is nothing wrong with this in America, it just doesn't work for yours truly.

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