Did Disney Trade Jerry for Indy?

Last Friday, there were a couple of interesting news stories that showed up. The first one really wasn’t a surprise: Film producer Bruckheimer in 3-year deal with Paramount. According to that story, Jerry Bruckheimer has signed a new deal, and his first planned projects are sequels to two of his classic films, “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Top Gun,” which he had made for Paramount before his deal with Disney. Disney had recently decided not to renew its deal with Jerry Bruckheimer, as we had discussed earlier in a post by Matt, More ‘Lone Ranger’ Fallout.

A few hours later, another interesting news: Disney secures rights for future ‘Indiana Jones’ films. As you probably know, when Disney bought LucasFilm, they got Indiana Jones in addition to Star Wars. However, Paramount still had some ownership in any future Indiana Jones movies before this new deal was made. So now, although they haven’t announced any plans for a specific movie, Disney can release a new one if they choose to do so. And one would think they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble to make that deal if they weren’t planning something.

But I got to wondering, were these two events related? Did Disney still have some say over Jerry Bruckheimer’s contract, even if they were deciding not to renew it? Did Disney make a trade with Paramount, trading Jerry Bruckheimer for Indiana Jones?

It wouldn’t be the first time Disney has done something like that. As you may remember, back in 2006 when Monday Night Football was moving from ABC to ESPN, sportscaster Al Michaels was wanting to move from ABC to NBC to host their Sunday Night Football games. So in exchange for letting Michaels out of his ABC contract, Bob Iger made a bargain with NBC Universal to get the rights back to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the cartoon character that Walt Disney created (and lost the rights to) before Mickey Mouse. So if this is true, it wouldn’t be the first time a real person was traded for a fictional character.

If there was a trade this time around, apparently both companies got what they wanted. As we have discussed, Disney does not see much value in future Bruckheimer films aside from the already-planned Pirates and National Treasure sequels in the works, while Paramount feels that Bruckheimer still has some good movies left in him. And I would agree with that. Not necessarily sequels based on 30-year-old movies with the original, aging stars. But I think he will come up with some other good stuff, as he has in the past.

And Paramount probably also didn’t see all that much value in another Indiana Jones movie. “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was not the huge hit that the first three movies were, and Harrison Ford isn’t getting any younger. But for Disney, the advantage is having everything under one roof and not having to negotiate with Paramount over any future Indiana Jones movies. It really makes sense, because they already own the character. Could they be planning at least one more movie with Harrison Ford as Indy? Or could they be planning something new with a younger actor taking over the role? While you could make the strong argument that Ford created the character and is irreplaceable, remember that others have already played Indy in the television series “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” While it might take some getting used to, another actor could very well take on the part, and even do it successfully.

So was there actually a trade? Or was it just a big coincidence in timing? Unless someone who has some inside knowledge tells what all really happened, we might not know for certain.

But I usually don’t believe too much in coincidences.

More ‘Lone Ranger’ Fallout

We’ve been discussing on a few of the past podcasts whether there would be any fallout or collateral damage resulting from the poor box office performance of “The Lone Ranger” this past Fourth of July weekend and into the summer.  Disney is expected to take a $190 million loss on the film.

In Episode 24, we mention that the date of the next installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise has been postponed from its July 2015 slot to perhaps a Memorial Day 2016 release.

Now, the next shoe has dropped.  Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer have announced that they are not renewing a first-look deal that saw the studio release a wide slate of films over the past two decades.  According to this article, the partnership has resulted in 27 films accounting for more than $3.7 billion in box office receipts worldwide.

Bruckheimer will still work with Disney to release future projects that have been established at the studio, including any future “Pirates” or “National Treasure” films.  The agreement will allow the producer to work on more adult-oriented/action films outside of the confines of the more family-friendly fare Disney is known for.  Disney, for its part, will focus more of its film making on franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, etc.

What do you think?  Surprised that Bruckheimer was set free based on the performance of “The Lone Ranger”?  A smart move by Disney to refocus efforts on in-house franchises?  A change in how big, tent pole movies are financed and distributed?  Let’s hear your thoughts.

~ Matt

Episode 24: Disneyland Half Marathon

Time once again for Beyond the Berm as Episode 24 comes your way!

As you may have heard us mention before, Matt had been planning to participate in the Disneyland Half Marathon. Now that event has come and gone, and Matt gives us an informative look back at his experience with the race. Way to go!

Up next, Steve mentions the schedule change taking the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie off the summer 2015 calendar, and we discuss how this may have been influenced by The Lone Ranger, among other things. And we take a look back at the summer box office results as well.

Happy Halloween! Yes, it is still only mid-September, but you wouldn’t know it at the Disney parks. We talk a bit about how Halloween has become a major event at Disney.

All this and more at Episode 24 of Beyond the Berm!

To hear our podcast:

Photos From the Reagan Library – Part 2

Continuing our photo tour of the D23 Exhibit at the Reagan Library from my previous post, we descended a staircase to a large tented section of the exhibit that could host items of somewhat larger scale than in the upstairs building.

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives signageSignage welcoming guests into the next part of the exhibit was hung at the base of the stairs to the temporary structure.

Alice in Wonderland costumesThis section of the exhibit featured a bunch of costumes from various Disney films, stage productions and advertising campaigns.  Some were displayed in glass cases while these costumes from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland were featured in a scene that included props and set pieces from the film.

Captain America costumeI’m still getting used to the idea that Marvel is part of Disney but Captain America was always one of my favorite superheroes when I was a kid so it was fun looking at this costume.  The nice thing about this exhibit is that there are plenty of things for the hardcore Disney fanatic to enjoy as well as stuff for people who might appreciate more contemporary pop culture.

Iron ManAnother entry from the Marvel Universe was this Iron Man promotional statue created for Iron Man 2.  It looked impressive and I know that others found this piece a highlight of their visit.

Fantasmic DragonThe only mild complaint I may have had with the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives Exhibit at the Reagan Library is that there wasn’t enough on display from the theme parks.  This Maleficent dragon head from the Fantasmic show at Disneyland almost single-handedly made up for that.  Like others who were impressed by the Iron Man statue, this was an impressive display in both scope and coolness factor.

Hitchhiking GhostIt is always fun to get a good, up close look at some of the things that make the Disney theme parks so magical.  The Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion attraction are iconic figures and it was interesting to be able to examine their features from outside a moving Doombuggy.

Pirates of the Carribean FigureheadOne of the more popular Disney film(s) from the recent era of the Studio is Pirates of the Caribbean so it was not surprising to find plenty of costumes, props and set pieces from the series.  The largest piece, towering high over visitors, was a special effects filming model of the Black Pearl.  Seeing this piece made me wish that I had taken wood shop in school so that I could perhaps build something 1 percent as cool.

Jasmine MaquetteI mentioned on the podcast that my least favorite thing to see on display at the exhibit was the set of animation maquettes.  Although beautiful made, we used to sell reproductions of these at the Disney Store when I worked there where they were on display in the collectibles case.  These figures are used by animators to help them get a three-dimensional view of the character when trying to animate them from different vantage points.

Hall of PresidentsA fitting conclusion to the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives Exhibit at the Reagan Library was memorabilia from Ronald Reagan’s connections to Walt Disney.  He served as one of the co-hosts of the opening of Disneyland television special.  He wrote a letter to the Postmaster General while governor of California asking for a stamp to be issued to commemorate the life of Walt Disney.  And his likeness appears in the Hall of Presidents attraction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  Reagan’s bust that served as his model for the Audio-Animatronic version at the Hall of Presidents was on display with busts of the other 43 presidents of the United States.

The above images are only a small sampling of what you’ll find at the exhibit.  There’s more than 500 items on display in the 12,000 square foot exhibition spanning from Walt’s boyhood days to Laugh-O-Gram Films, the Oswald Series, Mickey Mouse, animated films, live-action films, Disney theme parks and beyond.  (Including lots of costumes!)

D23 Presents Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Reagan Library is scheduled for exhibition through April 2013.  The Library is located in Simi Valley, California.  For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit the exhibit’s page at ReaganFoundation.org.

-Matt