Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures have reached an Indiana Jones agreement, Deadline reported Friday. Disney now has marketing distribution rights to future films in the franchise, while Paramount will retain distribution for the first four movies.
That means Disney is now clear to make a new Indiana Jones movie, although no announcement has been made yet for a fifth film. So whether it's a traditional sequel or a complete reboot remains to be seen. It's also not unlikely that Disney is considering ways to adapt Indiana Jones into a family action series for ABC (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Disney XD (Star Wars Rebels, Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk Agents of S.M.A.S.H.) or Netflix (Marvel) the way it's currently promoting on those channels and the streaming service.
Harrison Ford also said on the The Graham Norton Show that he would do another Indiana Jones "in a New York minute." "I don’t think there’s any barrier to Indiana Jones being an old fart," the Ford said. "It's OK. We've seen him in all stages of his life."
Disney’s October 2012 $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm included Indiana Jones, but the franchise's preexisting deal with Paramount made monetizing the property, to include moving forward on a new production tricky. Friday's deal removes those obstacles, though Paramount is set to receive financial restitution on any potential future films he way it collected on Marvel's The Avengers and Iron Man 3, even through Disney released those movies.
The Disney/Indiana Jones relationship stretches back to at least 1989, when the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! opened at Walt Disney World (Orlando’s Hollywood Studios). The pre-existing relationship with Lucas, 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. But a new film (and franchise ownership) will enable Disney's Imagineers to think up new thrills for guests to experience.