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.