Disney on Friday announced that it has paid Paramount for the rights to market and release future films in the “Indiana Jones” franchise. Paramount will continue to generate revenue through the distribution of the first four pics in the series. Studio will also earn a fee from the release of new Indy titles, the way it collected considerable coin from “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3,” even through Disney released those movies.
When the studio bought Lucasfilm last year for $4 billion, Disney chief Bob Iger said that while Indiana Jones was part of the acquisition, there were still “some encumbrances” in how it could make money from the adventurer. That included future films, given that Paramount controlled the rights to them at the time. The franchise had earned $1.9 billion to date.
And with a character like Indy, films are seen as the key in driving interest in everything else that involves the character.
Now that he’s officially in the Mouse House, here’s what Disney might have planned for the near future:
FILMS: While Disney has yet to officially announce a fifth film just yet, the Paramount deal now all but guarantees one is coming. Whether that’s a traditional sequel or a complete reboot remains to be seen. It’s now up to Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to let Disney know whether they want to continue with the saga.
TV SHOWS: It’s not unlikely that Disney already is considering ways to adapt Indiana Jones into a family action series for ABC, Disney XD or Netflix the way it’s promoting Marvel’s superheroes on those channels and the streaming service.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: There’s Indy’s signature whip and hat, and Disney’s consumer products arm will now be able to exploit other ways to bring the film franchise to life through toys, books, apparel and other merchandise that. Lego had already produced a line of playsets around “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
VIDEO GAMES: Lucasfilm will now look to broker licensing deals with publishers to produce new games featuring the character the way it’s done with “Star Wars” and Electronic Arts. TT Games already had produced two “Indiana Jones”-themed Lego games.
THEME PARK ATTRACTIONS: Indy already has a presence in Disney’s theme parks through a pre-existing relationship with Lucas, which also added “Star Wars” to the parks through “Star Tours.” There’s a version of the “Indiana Jones Adventure” ride at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, while Orlando’s Hollywood Studios has the “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular” show. But a new film (and franchise ownership) will enable Disney’s Imagineers to think up new thrills for guests to experience.
Longtime “Indiana Jones” franchise producer Frank Marshall may have said that he believed “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was “the last hurrah” for the series, but Disney’s latest move signals that Lucasfilm’s archeologist hasn’t gone on his final adventure just yet.