Is Disney Going to Ask Harrison Ford to Play Indiana Jones Again?

Is Indiana Jones about to be the next great Disney franchise? Source: Disney/Lucasfilm.

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) has acquired from Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIA  ) Paramount Pictures all marketing and distribution rights to future films featuring the adventurous archeology professor Indiana Jones. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed at the time of writing.

Harrison Ford has played whip-wielding, fedora-wearing 'Indy' in four highly lucrative Lucasfilm productions:

Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating
(Critics / Viewers)
Worldwide Box Office
Production Budget

Raiders of the Lost Ark

95% / 96%

$389.9 million $18 million

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

85% / 82%

$333.1 million $28 million

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

88% / 94%

$474.1 million $48 million

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

78% / 54%

$786.6 million $185 million

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo.

Disney has owned limited rights to the character since its $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm last October. Inking a distinct arrangement with Paramount clears the way for new films. I'm expecting Disney to start commissioning scripts within weeks.

Would executives also ask Ford to reprise his role? I'd doubt it, but the 71-year-old actor is still interested in the character. He's said as much in recent interviews on France's TF1 TV and the BBC's The Graham Norton Show. More likely, I think, is that Disney will seek a reboot now that it has control of the franchise.

Either way, the good news for investors is that Disney is consolidating assets. In July, Disney acquired all of Paramount's remaining distribution rights to four Marvel films: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. As a result the studio now gets 100% of the profit from future distribution or syndication of these early Marvel hits as it continues to build out the Avengers franchise. If there's a difference here it's that Disney doesn't get to rewind the clock. The House of Mouse will continue to share distribution gains from earlier films.

That's still a win. Box office history suggests a new 'Indy' adventure would draw a large audience. Now Disney, with rights in hand, can start making the next one.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you want to see Harrison Ford in another Indiana Jones movie? Do you believe the franchise can rival Marvel and Star Wars as an earnings driver for Disney? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

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  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 3:00 PM, mavrik0333 wrote:

    I don't know why you are speculating here because he WILL be in at least one more Indiana Jones movie and Star Wars Ep. 7 and likely 8 and 9. He will then retire from acting at the ripe young age of 80!

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:01 AM, lgregg wrote:

    I believe that his son has the same name as him so they could have him in it but have the kid more involved and it feed into the son becoming the main character.

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