Saturday, 16 March 2013

Disney and LucasFilm

I can understand many of my readers being a bit confused as to why I'm only just writing about this now, but I wanted to get more facts before I wrote a blog. Now that the legal dust has settled and all the information is here, it's time to throw my hat into the ring.

The biggest announcement of October 2012 was that Disney had bought LucasFilm and all it's subsidaries from George Lucas for a whopping $4 billion. Everyone I knew was excited. FaceBook, Twitter and the forums were alive with the news as well as thoughts and hopes for the future. Many people were excited and thought that it'd be amazing. Some thought that Disney were turning into a monopoly after previously acquiring Marvel. But to be honest and fair, Disney have largely left Marvel to their own devices comic wise and only really stepped in with distribution of movies.

The news broke that in 2015, Star Wars would return to the big screen for Episode VII and it'd have the original trilogy cast in it again. Once again, everyone was taking to the internet to explode about how great this was and what it would do for the Star Wars franchise as a whole and now that it'd be owned by Disney. Fans across the world have been in speculation ever since.

But then the interest turned to Indiana Jones. Where did the intrepid archaeologist sit in this deal. The answer is sadly tossed aside on the scrapheap. Despite there being several attractions dedicated to Indy across it's theme parks, the stores and the piles of merchandise with Indy's likeness on it available at the parks, as well as an overall box office record for all four movies of $1.9 billion worldwide, many people thought that Indy V would be a no brainer. The biggest issue that came up was Paramount holding the distribution rights for all Indiana Jones movies on formats. Though, this isn't much of an issue as Paramount currently distribute many of Disney's movies and have recently distributed the Marvel Cinematic Universe on DVD and Blu-Ray and there's no sign of that deal ever stopping. So if it's not that, what could it be? 

There are a few theories, so lets have a look at them. 

  • Spielberg tired of directing action movies
In a recent interview with TV show 60 Minutes to promote Lincoln, he claimed that the thrill of action has faded on him as the years have gone by. .“I knew I could do the action in my sleep,” he said. “At this point in my career, in my life, the action doesn’t hold any — it doesn’t attract me any more.”.

As Indiana Jones at it's core is an action-adventure movie, it doesn't hold much hope for a return to the franchise. But he hasn't totally given up on the action genre, as he's currently set to direct "Robopocalypse".  However, if Indy was to get new life in Indy V, how would fans feel if Spielberg didn't direct and instead, someone else took the helm?

  • Frank Marshall claims that "Crystal Skull" was Indy's "Last Hurrah"
Frank Marshall was the producer for Raiders, Last Crusade and Crystal Skull. While on the promotion trail for his most recent movie, The Bourne Legacy, Marshall was asked about Indy V by Collider and he had this to say:  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was “the last hurrah” for the franchise. He added that the principal Indy creative brain trust — Spielberg, Lucas, Harrison Ford, and himself — still “talk about” a fifth Indy film. “But there’s no idea [for a story]; there’s no MacGuffin.”

  • Harrison Ford's age
There's no denying it and no getting around it. Ford will be 71 this year. Sure, he's in fighting shape when he filmed Crystal Skull five years ago and he's still making movies even to this day. But how long can he keep doing action? The other point is that suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Can we really see a 75 year old Indy in the 60s, getting into fights with communists like he did in the 30s?

  • Shia LaBeouf is done with Hollywood
This one will affect people differently. There's Indy fans out there who like Mutt and then there's some who can't stand him. It seemed that in Crystal Skull, Mutt would be taking over the franchise at a future date and be the hero of his own series of adventures.  However, things changed when the news broke in 2012 that Shia was quitting mainstream Hollywood for more independent movies as he believed that “there’s no room for being a visionary in the studio system — it literally cannot exist.”

Now, compare his statement about Hollywood to the statement he made when he apologized for Crystal Skull. “[Spielberg's] done so much great work that there’s no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball"

It seems to me that after a flagging career over the years, bad movie choices over the years, his drunken antics off camera and then the thinly veiled attack at Spielberg, his career within Indiana Jones is slowly looking dimmer.

Now, I believe that these challenges and hurdles could be overcome with a killer script, some recasting and a new director. But with Spielberg occupied with other projects and Disney/LucasFilm looking at expanding the Star Wars universe, Indy's fedora is going to be hung on the rack for another long while to come.

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