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Old 10-28-2013, 05:14 PM   #1
Moedred
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Disney vs. Paramount

Last year Disney CEO Bob Iger said,
Quote:
There are some encumbrances with Indiana Jones, largely with Paramount. But I would say though, on the whole, what we've got here are far fewer encumbrances to get at value that existed when we bought Marvel.
Marvel had a distribution deal with Paramount for 6 movies. Disney distributed the last 2 and paid Paramount about $100M for each to do nothing.

Fox has distribution rights to 5 of the 6 Star Wars films until May 2020 (4K UHD ennealogy set due that fall?) Paramount currently retains "some" Indy distribution rights, apparently indefinitely.

For Indy 5, without having to pay Lucas and possibly Spielberg $65 million each in residuals, another payout could make sense. Certainly more sense than John Carter (needed $600M to break even) or Lone Ranger (needed $800M to break even).
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #2
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I have hopes that the two studios can come to a happy compromise. Yes, in the film world, studios are mortal enemies with each other, but every now and then, enemies need to drop their weapons and shake hands. Probably an unrealistic hope, but it's Disney, they could probably offer Paramount more money than the combined grosses of the Indy films thus far.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:57 PM   #3
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I'm sure Paramount will fight for Indy. They're probably not eager about giving away their rights to one of their longest and most successful franchises to same the company that just got a hold of the rights to their Marvel characters.

Must admit I didn't know Disney paid Paramount $100 just to not distribute The Avengers/Iron Man 3(though that apparently wasn't enough to remove the Paramount logo from the movies). It'll be interesting to see how much Paramount asks for Indy. I'm sure they'd include the Paramount logo just for consistency of the mountain fading.

My question though is is there anything stopping Disney from releasing new Indiana Jones video games/comics/park attractions etc.?
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Well studios exist to make money from movies. KOTCS proved that IJ was profitable so it only makes sense that they'd want to make more.

I read the Paramount felt like they had lost out on selling some of their Marvel Properties to Disney, so they adapted a policy of holding onto any potential blockbuster properties, like Indiana.

Plus look at Disney's recent track record. Marvel is kicking ass, but their original products have been slammed lately. Lone Ranger and Carter were the biggest bombs of their respective years (I'm assuming there won't be any other huge bombs this year). It's got to make Disney cautious of starting anything that isn't a confirmed hit (pirates 5 anyone?). Now of course IJ5 would make money right? It's not like the massive backlash from KOTCS has the hesitant to start again.

I think it the property were in the hands of a sole company, or LucasFilm hadn't been purchased, IJ5's perspectives would be a lot higher.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:46 PM   #5
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It is inevitable that Disney will visit the Indiana Jones property, but they don't have to do so in any particular hurry. The problem is that's exactly what we need for a final Spielberg-Lucas-Ford outing to happen.

The recent rumor about Ford trying to make his participation in more Star Wars contingent on the studio's commitment to Indy 5 is intriguing, but those same rumors hold that Disney bargained down to merely a story outline by the end of next year that no one is obligated to greenlight. There's still going to have to be a lot of luck involved for this movie to happen.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:49 AM   #6
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I do not see Paramount selling Indy distribution rights unless its a huge payday for them. A Paramount/Disney co-production is about the best we can hope for with Ford.

Spielberg said a few days ago on the ROTLA Q&A he & Lucas had deals on ROTLA which guaranteed them profits upfront BEFORE the movie broke even. You can imagine the other Indy movies were similar deals....that alone would make it hard for anyone to buy the Indy rights as the budget would be over $100m before they even made the film so Lucas/Spielberg would have to alter their deals.........

The public would flock to see an Indy 5 with Ford/Spielberg/Lucas performing their usual roles so not sure how Disney could do anything else with the franchise when Ford is Indy its way too soon to reboot the backlash/negative PR would be overwhelming for Disney so its safe to say they are battling over an Indy5 & perhaps an Indy 6 filmed back to back.

Now that could be fortune & glory when the 6th would without any doubt be the last hurrah
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyForever
I do not see Paramount selling Indy distribution rights unless its a huge payday for them. A Paramount/Disney co-production is about the best we can hope for with Ford.

Spielberg said a few days ago on the ROTLA Q&A he & Lucas had deals on ROTLA which guaranteed them profits upfront BEFORE the movie broke even. You can imagine the other Indy movies were similar deals....that alone would make it hard for anyone to buy the Indy rights as the budget would be over $100m before they even made the film so Lucas/Spielberg would have to alter their deals.........

The public would flock to see an Indy 5 with Ford/Spielberg/Lucas performing their usual roles so not sure how Disney could do anything else with the franchise when Ford is Indy its way too soon to reboot the backlash/negative PR would be overwhelming for Disney so its safe to say they are battling over an Indy5 & perhaps an Indy 6 filmed back to back.

Now that could be fortune & glory when the 6th would without any doubt be the last hurrah

Let's hope they film two of them back to back. That seems to be the in things these days, doing multiple films at once and splitting them apart. Pirates, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Harry Potter, etc. Imagine an epic two part Indy film with Harrison wearing the hat for the final time... my god that would be amazing!
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:57 AM   #8
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Semi-unrelated, but I remember reading somewhere that the Walt Disney Company employs more lawyers than every major law firm combined. While I can only imagine the Byzantine nature of Entertainment Law, I wonder if it's as dry as Admiralty/Maritime Law?

Anyway. Per Stoo's advice, I thought I would drop in and append some of my post from his thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
...another payout could make sense.

Disney has a positively massive war chest, but another payout to Paramount and/or The Beards isn't going to happen. Dipping into Unca Scrooge's vault isn't a problem, but they aren't going to. Why? Disney doesn't want to. Not only is their focus elsewhere, but they don't make movies for other studios to distribute.

Disney's 5 Year Plan looks something like this:

Jerry Bruckheimer's first look deal with Disney expires after Pirates 5 and National Treasure 3. Smart money says Jerry gets kicked to the curb after the complete bath the company took on John Carter and The Lone Ranger. If Pirates 5 is an absolute monster hit, the partnership has a slim chance of continuing. I doubt it, though. All of that money could have been directed into other, better projects.

Jerry might be suffering from his own version of Barry Sonnenfeld Disease.

Not many companies can lose a cool half-a-billion dollars and have their stock price remain relatively unchanged. In fact, I distinctly recall it rising, like, two-percent the Monday after The Lone Ranger opened. I'll need to find my quarterly report, but I believe it's up ~35% on the year overall. That's impressive.

Disney will continue its remaining Marvel acquisitions & projects. The distribution deal with Paramount ended after Iron Man 3's release, so Thor & Captain America are owned outright. The rights to Ghost Rider, Daredevil, The Punisher, and Luke Cage have reverted back to Marvel as well. Their attendant villains and sidekicks are included, too. Natch. There's a strong rumor going around that Fox has approximately one year to start shooting another Fantastic Four movie, or those rights also revert back to Marvel as well. While Disney-Marvel would like the rights to those characters back just because, I believe the real attraction to be Dr. Doom.

So, that leaves Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Wolverine, and those damn mutants out of the family. It's understandable that Disney wants those feature film rights* back.

*--Disney negotiated back 100% of all television rights to Spider-Man and (I believe) a significant cut of all merchandising proceeds in exchange for allowing Sony more time to produce their next series of films.

Now here is where it gets speculative. Sony has made about $3.2-billion (using Box Office Mojo's numbers) on a total series budget of $850-million. So, they come out ahead by $2.4-billion over the decade. Figure that they'll do similar business over the next four films, but beyond that what will the budgets for tentpole pictures look like in 2018? With virtually all ancillary rights to Spider-Man negotiated away -- and zero crossover options -- the long term attachment to the webslinger doesn't look that attractive.

In the other thread I suggested that Disney would offer Sony a cool billion dollars in walk-away money. Let's up the ante, though. Get really wild. What if the House of Mouse offered to make Sony whole? Give them $3-to-4-billion? In essence handing Sony the money they would have made over another decade. Is it obscene? Absolutely. Can Disney afford it? Of course. The long term returns of having Spider-Man more than outweigh that kind of investment.

Peter Parker in a third or fourth Avengers movie? A not so small corner of the internet will explode. Spidey scaling the Matterhorn West of the Mississippi? You couldn't find tickets to the park. The wallcrawler swinging from the Matterhorn to Sleeping Beauty's castle? Florida would secede from the Union and become East California for the opportunity. Cruise ships, theme park encounters, crossover films, games, merchandise: It'd pay for itself in a year's time.

Hyperbolic? Certainly. Spider-Man, though, is probably why you'll never, ever see a payout to anybody for Indiana Jones.

Now enjoy this picture of Spider-Man to break up what's quickly becoming a wall of text.



The obvious component of that same plan involves that crown jewel of acquisitions, Star Wars. There's going to be so much money pumped into Star Wars that fans of the series (I'm not) are going to be sick of it. There'll be about six movies, a few television shows, books and comics aplenty, and the chances for increasing the presence in the parks is astronomical. Nowhere more so than Disneyland where Tommorowland is going under the wrecking ball for the third(?) time in my life. Don't forget the Chinese. They'll be spoonfed Star Wars, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyForever
I do not see Paramount selling Indy distribution rights unless its a huge payday for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forbidden Eye
I'm sure Paramount will fight for Indy.

Don't count on it. Rights are funny things.

The further we get away from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and 2008, the actual value of those rights shrinks even further. There's nothing in the public consciousness in the terms of merchandise or product that allows them to retain any real value. Couple that with Ford's AARP-membership, and every second he ages, those rights are worth even less than would be in a simply dormant franchise like Batman or Bond. The long term viability of the character (read: Once Ford takes that dirt nap) is unproven.

Blame this on The Beards, and to a lesser extant, Ford. There's no real reason why it took thirty years to turn out four movies. Had Kingdom of the Crystal Skull been the sixth or seventh movie, the street value of those rights would be higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyForever
A Paramount/Disney co-production is about the best we can hope for with Ford

Won't happen. See above. Disney doesn't make movies for other studios to distribute. Note the fates of both The Spectacular Spider-Man and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyForever
The public would flock to see an Indy 5 with Ford/Spielberg/Lucas

Really? Are you absolutely certain it wasn't curiosity tinged with nostalgia that drove audiences into the theatre for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Twenty years is a lo-ong time between entries. Had the box office remained consistent with a couple of more entries, you might have an argument.

This is a large part of the encumbrance Disney is operating under regarding any future Indiana Jones pictures. The actual distribution rights will be had for a song, but what will future films hold? Nobody's going to watch an octogenarian punch enfeebled Nazis as they fight over the final oxygen tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Udavarnky
It is inevitable that Disney will visit the Indiana Jones property

No, not really. The character could just as easily be shelved forever for any number of reasons. The largest, and most obvious, is where does he fit in the modern world? Are the underlying imperialist qualities of the flicks palatable to a modern and future audience? Does anybody really want to see Side of Beef continue to the role? Why does he have to be white?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurlock
Marvel is kicking ass, but their original products have been slammed lately.

Neither John Carter of Mars or The Lone Ranger are, of course, original properties. They were produced wholly under the Disney umbrella, but the company approached both projects wrong. Budgets and expectations sunk both properties, but that's to be expected with so many hands in the pot with all of the money involved.

Well, then.

If I were a betting man I wouldn't put money on any projects involving Indiana Jones to gain traction until 2020 at the earliest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
Fox has distribution rights to 5 of the 6 Star Wars films until May 2020 (4K UHD ennealogy set due that fall?)

So? Unless an original, uncut copy makes its way onto home video there isn't much more Fox can do with them. They've wrung all the blood from that stone they'll be able to. Disney retains all rights to future film properties.

A short, amusing read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hollywood Reporter
McCarthy, the head of his white-shoe firm’s Los Angeles office, narrowed the task down to 290 primary, copyrighted characters. To sort through them all, he assembled a legal team of bona fide Star Wars fans. “I tried to find people in the office who ... didn’t have to spend time figuring out who Princess Leia was,” recalls McCarthy. “I was shocked by how many people knew the intricacies of whose father-in-law was married to whose sister.” The top-secret process — code names were employed to keep office chatter to a minimum — started in June 2012, and crunch time came during a six-week period beginning in August, when as many as 20 Skadden employees (from $500-an-hour partners to less expensive paralegals) pored over complex chain-of-title documents related to Star Wars and Lucasfilm.

And that's the heart of the matter.

'nuff said.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:30 PM   #9
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Curse you, Saboteur. Logic is a cruel thing to the hopeful...
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
No, not really. The character could just as easily be shelved forever for any number of reasons.

Forever? With the truckload of money the film franchise has brought in? Forget any other consideration; the executives understand integers. Besides, we live in a world where decidedly non-blockbusters and even old cult films that were financial disappointments upon release get treated to expensive remakes/sequels that are marketed as event pictures. This license isn't even close to that. This isn't The Poseidon Adventure, Tron, Wall Street, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Weird Science, Rollerball, The Wicker Man, The Longest Yard, The Pink Pather, Total Recall or Conan the Barbarian. This is Indiana Jones, a globally loved, billion dollar brand.

It may not happen next year or in twenty years, but it's insane to think that the the property will not continue to be milked in some, way, shape or form in the future. Just wait for all the Star Wars stuff to die down. All it's going to take is a poor enough fiscal quarter and the pressure of restless shareholders. If there's a stuffed shirt out there who would greenlight a remake of "Footloose," you can bet Indy can get rebooted, and he will.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
If there's a stuffed shirt out there who would greenlight a remake of "Footloose," you can bet Indy can get rebooted, and he will.

Those stuffed shirts, don't graduate from Disney University. 'Cept the Mars Needs Mom's chap; and that John Carter fella. But they're not there anymore. They are in Neverland, now.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
With the truckload of money the film franchise has brought in?
The films aren't a franchise, Udvarnoky.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
It may not happen next year or in twenty years, but it's *insane* to think that the the property will not continue to be milked in some, way, shape or form in the future.
Le Saboteur is not "insane". Please note how he wrote, "the character could just as easily be shelved forever", not "would" (as in, a possibility not a probability). He also surmised c.2020 as a potential period for a re-milking of Indiana Jones, which is only a mere 6 to 7 years from now.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyForever
The public would flock to see an Indy 5 with Ford/Spielberg/Lucas performing their usual roles so not sure how Disney could do anything else with the franchise when Ford is Indy its way too soon to reboot the backlash/negative PR would be overwhelming for Disney so its safe to say they are battling over an Indy5 & perhaps an Indy 6 filmed back to back.

Now that could be fortune & glory when the 6th would without any doubt be the last hurrah

I don't think, if Spielberg was directing, that these films would be made back to back. Spielberg doesn't make movies like that, or at least hasn't in the passed. Plus back to back filming is exhausting, filming two movies without break, I'm not sure Harrison Ford, at, what is he? 73? could take that. He had a hard enough time surviving the original 3, not in sequencial order in the prime of his life.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kongisking
Curse you, Saboteur. Logic is a cruel thing to the hopeful...

Keep hope alive. It springs eternal afterall. Keep the faith too. In the meantime, don't let the sober-eyed reality of your fandom keep you from availing yourself of other properties in the genre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
Forever? With the truckload of money the film franchise has brought in?

Yes, forever. Film returns are increasingly not where the money is at. No, it's in merchandising, licensing, and creating a brand that's strong enough to be spun off into various entities whether that's in teevee, video games, or theme park rides.

For example, Cars, that Tier II Pixar series, generates $2-billion in merchandise sales annually. Yes, $2-billion each and every year. So in the five years between the first and second movie, $10-billion had exchanged hands. Following the release of the second film, the company was projecting an uptick in that number to $2.8-billion. I have no reason to doubt that figure. Or, do you not have your very own Taco Truck Mater?



There's an article I read where they initially had difficulty conceptualizing how Disney was going to merchandise the picture. Somebody asked "What can we put the logo on?" Some sharp corporate ladder climber replied, "Everything!" And thus an empire was born.

I left out one very crucial component in my original post -- the animation division. In hindsight, it's not that big of a deal though. The entire department is going through a massive upheaval. It's legacy of Disney Princesses, however, is a force unto itself. The Princess and the Frog & Tangled together took in about $900-million in global box office. In 2012 alone, merchandise sales for the Disney Princess line was $3.4-billion. Yes, billion. Again. In one fiscal year.

Marvel? In the first quarter of this year they contributed $200-million to Disney's bottom line in merchandise sales. If they simply maintain that level throughout the year, there's another $800-million.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
Just wait for all the Star Wars stuff to die down.

In the ~36 years since A New Hope's initial theatrical run has the fervor ever really "died down"? It's gone through very real phases, but it has never gone away. It never will now that Disney has a firm grip on the throttle.

Over the series lifetime, Star Wars has generated ~$35-billion in merchandise sales. As of '07, Forbes attributed roughly $9-billion in sales to toys. Yes, toys. That's monstrous. Now imagine the spike in numbers with a whole new series of movies, with a whole new cast of characters. While doing that, enjoy this infographic on the merchandise breakdown courtesy of Wired.



The point? My helicarrier crushes your truck. With Star Wars now in-house, Disney owns six of the Top 10 franchises in the world. They dominate the market with an 80% share, and generated $39.4-billion last year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Variety
Through its purchases of Marvel and Lucasfilm, Disney now has six of the top 10 franchises in the world: Disney Princess (No. 1), “Star Wars” (No. 2), Winnie the Pooh (No. 3), “Cars” (No. 4), Mickey & Friends (No. 6) and “Toy Story” (No. 8), with Disney Fairies (No. 11), and Spider-Man (No. 16) in the top 20.

The next studio, according to LIMA, was Warner Bros., which came in at No. 7 with a $6 billion haul, consistent with previous years. It’s doing well this summer with merchandise tied to “Man of Steel.”

Full article here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky
...we live in a world where decidedly non-blockbusters and even old cult films that were financial disappointments upon release get treated to expensive remakes/sequels that are marketed as event pictures.

Q: Why were all of those old films resurrected and given an event picture makeover?

A: They were wholly owned. They didn't cost anything to acquire, and the studios were attempting to build a franchise. Since they flopped, you won't see them again any time soon.



Where does Indiana Jones fall in on this list? Don't know. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that it barely breaks a billion over thirty years. With that in mind, let's pencil out a fifth Indy movie's total possible budget:

$100-million (upfront to Lucas);
$100-million (upfront to Spielberg);
$50-million (upfront to Ford. Salary plus points);
$200-million (production budget);
$100-million (advertising);
$20-million (distribution; printing).

Total expense: $570-million

How does Disney-Lucasfilm make their money back? Using Crystal Skull's box office numbers, they'll make about $200-million. Assume they owe points and shave that profit down to $100-million. The returns don't look that sexy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
He also surmised c.2020 as a potential period for a re-milking of Indiana Jones, which is only a mere 6 to 7 years from now.

2020 is important for a couple of reasons.

1.) Marvel has firm plans through 2021, and a roadmap through 2035. If Marvel is stalling at the box office (doubtful), Disney might be looking for a new "boys" franchise.
2.) At 78 Ford would be firmly out of the picture for reprising the role. He will not be the future of the series.

Apologies for the scattered nature of this post. I've been doing seven different things.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
Where does Indiana Jones fall in on this list? Don't know. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that it barely breaks a billion over thirty years. With that in mind, let's pencil out a fifth Indy movie's total possible budget:

$100-million (upfront to Lucas);
$100-million (upfront to Spielberg);
$50-million (upfront to Ford. Salary plus points);
$200-million (production budget);
$100-million (advertising);
$20-million (distribution; printing).

Total expense: $570-million

How does Disney-Lucasfilm make their money back? Using Crystal Skull's box office numbers, they'll make about $200-million. Assume they owe points and shave that profit down to $100-million. The returns don't look that sexy.

Regardless of how accurate I would contend these numbers to be, you've got to pick a scenario. We were talking about the reboot scenario which would not include Ford, Spielberg or Lucas (who account for the majority of the budget), and you're crunching numbers for the other one. Given an Indy5 that gets made in the next few years with the Big Three involved - sure, that would be more of a concession to Ford to earn his Star Wars participation than it would be a windfall for Disney, but it would certainly not be a loss for them.

I don't really see how my "died down" remark could have been misinterpreted. That Star Wars as a brand is evergreen really doesn't change the fact that Disney will be burning the most calories on it within the next several years. And your aside about merchandising only succeeds in arguing against Indy as a stop-the-presses, manna from heaven, every-exec-gets-a-private-island jackpot. An argument which never existed. And regardless of how favorably it compares to Cars or Star Wars, I would have to question the position that Indy's merchandising potential is negligible, especially following a successful re-imagining that renews pop culture awareness.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
$50-million (upfront to Ford. Salary plus points);

I ask myself, can Indy really survive in the major league without Ford?

If the character of Indy is distinctive enough then any Tom, Dick or Harrison could play him, just as numerous actors have reprised Marvel or DC characters over the years.

If the character is strong enough alone then Disney could save a wad of cash.

They could also ditch Lucas, since any number of writers could step in. And there are plenty of directors to replace Spielberg.

But what it boils down to is a man with a hat, whip and a quirky attitude. Indy isn't a colourful or super-powered Marvel character with fifty years of comic book history. His super power was Harrison Ford.

'Ford fetish' is the real marketable factor to Indiana Jones as blockbuster material. And if there's Ford there's Lucas and Spielberg.

To make its mark Indy 5 has to be expensive.

Age being a factor that's not going away, Indy 5 can't be 'classic' Indy.

So, the future for Disney is a stake in a series that will eventually be one without Harrison. It'll be almost as if starting from the beginning again as new actors breathe life into characters that have become familiar through established actors.

Putting a lot of money into that is going to be a far riskier prospect. As such, it may be just as profitable for them to move to new characters and worlds, without involving the extra expense of Paramount and the paraphernalia that goes hand-in-hand with creating what's expected from an Indiana Jones film.

However, Disney did pay to own Indy, so they need to do something with him, unless mere ownership of Lucasfilm already brings in enough revenue without the need of new films.

If they did do something, it could be television based - live or animated. Something similar to the YIJC which negates the need for Ford. Animated would be the least risky and expensive, and it's something, of course, which Disney already has a lot experience with.

Would Disney have to pay Paramount to air an animated television series?
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #17
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That concept art for an animated Indy series is depressing to me, cause I know it won't happen for a loooong time, if ever. Must avert thine eyes!
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:21 PM   #18
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Excellent research, Saboteur. Some of these franchises boggle my mind. I can understand Spider-Man merchandise seizing a young imagination, but wonder if the decennial film reboots will ever grow tiresome (they always stop short of a spider egg sac birthing horror).

I would love to know the particulars of Paramount's distribution rights, but for now assume by Iger's statement it would cost much less that $100M to leave Paramount on the sidelines. And I take all the kow-towing to Lucas with a grain of salt: Spielberg is more concerned with his legacy and doesn't want to pull a McCartney if Indy 5 never happens or it happens without him. Ford is following suit. But Lucas sold his creation, and while his story input may be considered, he's not expecting another check in the mail.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
However, Disney did pay to own Indy, so they need to do something with him, unless mere ownership of Lucasfilm already brings in enough revenue without the need of new films.

As was reported at the time of the sale, Disney didn't account for Dr. Jones in their valuation. He was lagniappe, as are all the various characters and scenarios LucasArts dreamt up when they were still relevant. So things like Guybrush Threepwood & Monkey Island, Full Throttle, and Sam & Max are minor properties they could conceivably do something with. With a general move away from action cartoons to... something more comedy oriented I could easily see Monkey Island becoming a feature film.

Sony is doing something similar with Ratchet & Clank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Would Disney have to pay Paramount to air an animated television series?

It looks like the rights to Indiana Jones on television are divvied up between Paramount Television, ABC, and some Japanese company. I can't find a specific comment -- the contract is, of course, not a matter of public record -- but it sounds like Paramount holds the distribution rights to the character in all forms of media. Now what constitutes "media" is another question entirely. It'd take a sharp lawyer with a lot of free time to see where exactly those rights splintered.

An animated series is out of the question. It would be the last stand of the fetishists, because at least they could, maybe, get Ford's voice and likeness. That aside, animated films have become increasingly expensive to produce. The much lauded return to traditional animation with The Princess and the Frog cost Disney ~$105-million. Tangled cost a whopping $260-million to produce!*

They essentially "shot" the movie four times before getting it into the can. I distinctly remember it being called Rapunzel at one point in time, with a fully finished trailer. Other efforts got equally far into the process.

Compare that to The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor & Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Both films cost $145-million and $185-million to produce respectively. When taken on balance live-action pictures are cheaper to produce and have less of a downside given the general perception of animation.

Now, around the house, we've discussed the possibility of Disney doing something with Indiana Jones on Netflix and/or Hulu. It might skirt Paramount's standing, and Disney could put as little or as much money into it they wanted. Given the very real problem of the character's lasting appeal beyond Ford's likeness/appeal/whatever this might be the way to reapproach the character. No reboot is necessary.

With Marvel's announcement today of bringing Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones to Netflix, it sounds like an avenue The Walt Disney Company has considered as a viable option. Plus, the only divisions that aren't firing on all cylinders happens to be its games and teevee groups. A live-action teevee series featuring everybody's favourite archeologist could give it a shot in the arm.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
I can understand Spider-Man merchandise seizing a young imagination, but wonder if the decennial film reboots will ever grow tiresome (they always stop short of a spider egg sac birthing horror).

Nope. Let's take the case of The Spectacular Spider-Man. Here you had a low-budget (comparatively speaking) animated series that was well received by fans, and headed towards a third season. Once Disney completed their buyout of Marvel, that series was ended unceremoniously. In its place Disney greenlit Ultimate Spider-Man, a series everybody hates except for a legion of five-year olds. In another five years time, about the time Disney wrests control of Spider-Man, they'll be primed for another series of origin films.

Disney's into family planning.

More later. I have some reading that needs to be done.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:20 AM   #20
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Thanks for the in-depth analyses, Le Saboteur, despite them all being so depressing.

I do wonder though - does Spielberg actually have difficulty getting stuff made these days? Every time I've heard of his films stalling, it usually seems to be him that has put on the brakes, since he's so finicky about not going over budget.

But if Spielberg is happy to move ahead with a script - and considering that all the Indy films have definitely made money, even if it isn't gajillions - would Disney really say no?
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:32 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Toht's Arm
Thanks for the in-depth analyses, Le Saboteur, despite them all being so depressing.

I do wonder though - does Spielberg actually have difficulty getting stuff made these days? Every time I've heard of his films stalling, it usually seems to be him that has put on the brakes, since he's so finicky about not going over budget.

But if Spielberg is happy to move ahead with a script - and considering that all the Indy films have definitely made money, even if it isn't gajillions - would Disney really say no?

They might, if we're talking about something that isn't a sure tentpole. Here's an account of happened with Lincoln, with some pull quotes excerpted below.

Quote:
With studios set on tent pole franchises to carry them, newer filmmakers with fresh ideas are less likely to get a chance to try something new. "That's the big danger, and there's eventually going to be an implosion, or a big meltdown," Spielberg says. "There's going to be an implosion where three or four, or maybe even a half dozen, mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm."

He even says there was trouble getting "Lincoln" a deal to show in theaters. Though Daniel Day-Lewis went on to win an Oscar for Best Actor due to the film, Spielberg says "Lincoln" was nearly a TV movie with no theatrical distribution, admitting he was close to a deal with HBO.

Moving along...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
An animated series is out of the question. It would be the last stand of the fetishists, because at least they could, maybe, get Ford's voice and likeness. That aside, animated films have become increasingly expensive to produce. The much lauded return to traditional animation with The Princess and the Frog cost Disney ~$105-million. Tangled cost a whopping $260-million to produce!*

Le Sab, are you posing "animated series" here to mean an animated film series? Otherwise, I'm guessing that an animated television series would cost a heck of a lot less.

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Old 11-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
They might, if we're talking about something that isn't a sure tent pole. Here's an account of happened with Lincoln, with some pull quotes excerpted below...

Le Sab, are you posing "animated series" here to mean an animated film series? Otherwise, I'm guessing that an animated television series would cost a heck of a lot less.

I don't have anything substantial to add to LeSab, whose work here is tremendous..but I was considering the future.

With the Marvel universe inking a deal with Netflix and the Once Upon a Time universes having its successes too, I would like to throw the thought out that perhaps the tent-pole model of an Indiana Jones feature is indeed outdated.

Hope for the franchise - (see what I did there ) may lie in a different sort of content distribution via the ever changing television/streaming model Disney is having successes with.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #23
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Maybe I'm too naive to understand this yet, but I really don't see why an animated TV show with Indy wouldn't be a very smart idea. If it were done similarly to Batman: The Animated Series (animation and story-qualitywise, I mean. Calm down, everyone) or Gargoyles, it could be magnificent, and rebirth interest in the character and the genre once again. Were this early 2000's Disney, they'd have no problem milking Indiana Jones for what it's worth purely for the brand name value.

I'm probably like a typewriter die-hard fighting the extinction of his favorite gadget, but this world needs adventure as a genre, IMO. At this point, the nostalgic power of Indiana Jones is the only thing that seems to make anyone go out of their way to watch pulp adventure-y stuff. If Indy doesn't come back, soon, I fear we as fans of the genre will have to suffer a Dark Age even worse than the one in between Last Crusade and Crystal Skull.
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:40 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Hope for the franchise - (see what I did there ) may lie in a different sort of content distribution via the ever changing television/streaming model Disney is having successes with.


Yes, I'm quoting myself. Deal with it.

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Old 11-10-2013, 04:11 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Le Sab, are you posing "animated series" here to mean an animated film series? Otherwise, I'm guessing that an animated television series would cost a heck of a lot less.

I'm suggesting that animation, whether that's on teevee or theatrical, is an absolute non-starter. There's no real upside for anybody.

While The Simpsons and Family Guy have been wildly successful, animation and anime have made very few inroads with adults. The much lauded Batman: The Animated Series couldn’t find an audience on Sunday nights opposite 60 Minutes, and was relegated to the more traditional afterschool block where it was phenomenally successful.

Why is that? I don’t know, but I suspect that it’s a cultural truism at this point in time. After a generation and a half were raised on Disney’s form of family entertainment, it’s accepted without question. If you see a cartoon advertised or, Allah forbid, on the air, move along. It’s for children.

Now there’s a general trend in television animation away from action-oriented cartoons. For starters, they’re expensive. The more moving parts on the screen, the more expensive it becomes. Somebody needs to draw all of that. Did you blow up a building? Your background art needs to be redrawn/reset. That takes time and money. The more “in-between” animation – that is, the frames between the key frames that give the illusion of movement – you have to dedicate more time and resources. That difference in frames is why Disney animation traditionally has been superior to, say, Hanna-Barbera. Disney ran at the traditional 24fps, and Hanna-Barbera ran between 4 & 14fps. A lot of anime has similarly low frame rates.

Secondly, there’s the issue of what we’ll call “shelf-space.” With only a relative few hours in the broadcast day, there are a fixed number of shows that can air at any given time. While adults might not have a problem focusing for an hour long program, children get bored easily. They aren’t going to sit still long enough to care what’s going on. So, 22-minutes it is. That leaves you eight minutes of advertising in a thirty-minute program block. Not exactly a lot of time.

Numbers vary, of course, but the average cost for a thirty second spot during primetime was $110,000. So over your allotted eight minutes of commercials you’ll make $1.7-million. Not bad, right? Well, no. That’s for a primetime spot on one of the major networks. Cartoons don’t air on primetime, and they don’t air on major networks anymore. Niche networks, like The CW, peaked out $75-grand per spot.

Assume that an Indiana Jones animated teevee series airs on Disney XD. Well, it’s airing at a substantial loss because Disney doesn’t allow outside advertising. Promos for other Disney shows and products, sure, but you won’t be seeing an ad for Kung-Fu Panda 3. Disney, of course, doesn’t pay to advertise its own offerings on its own channels.

Let’s say Disney allows the same series to air on the Cartoon Network. Their standard appears to be $25-grand per 10-seconds. Assuming advertising get a volume discount, let’s bump it up to a flat fifty grand for thirty seconds. $100-thousand per minute over 8-minutes nets you $800,000. Still, not bad. I wouldn’t mind having that kind of money. It’s a net loss for the production company, though.

Trying to find official numbers has been difficult, but it’s been estimated that Ultimate Spider-Man costs $1.6-million. The Simpsons and Family Guy, by comparison, cost two-three million-plus* per episode. Since this will ultimately be a Disney production, I suspect an Indiana Jones cartoon will cost about the same as Ultimate Spider-Man. Why? Marvel’s characters are visually complex, and require a significant amount of “inbetweening” to do justice to their respective powers. Dr. Jones will require the same type of treatment as he defies death week-in, week-out. Add in the major destruction to exotic sets, and the purely animation costs rack up. Just how high depends on the season length, but since Ultimate Spider-Man runs 26-episodes per season I would expect the same. So, at $1.6-million per episode you’re looking at $41.6-million over the length of a standard season.

Sample of Ultimate Spider-Man:



How does Disney make their money back? The hypothetical teevee series operates at a massive loss on Disney’s channels, a large loss on a niche network, and might eke out a miniscule profit if it could find an audience during the primetime schedule. Miniscule gets it canned after a season, but it gets yanked mid-way through its run only to be replaced by a low risk, high reward sitcom or reality show. The remaining episodes can be found on-line.

The answer, of course, to Disney’s monetization dilemma is toys. Lots of toys. $41.6-million is a rounding error for Spider-Man since he accounts for ~$700-million in merchandising sales alone. Dr. Jones can’t hope to ever match that kind of muscle without significant “repositioning.” In this case, it turns into something like… Adventure Friends! Indy will head up a multi-national, United Benetton of Explorers featuring a girl, a black guy, an Asian dude, and, maybe, somebody of Hispanic origin. Maybe a First Nations pal to round things out.

If anybody is interested in animation's cost per minute, do check out this report Cartoon Brew put out on the independent scene for a sense of scale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
...but for now assume by Iger's statement it would cost much less that $100M to leave Paramount on the sidelines.

The actual price of those distribution rights aren’t the problem. Iger will cut the check, but digging through the transcript reveals some interesting facts. To begin with, only 25% of Lucasfilm’s business lies in films. It’s also very toy and North America-centric. Per Disney’s FY11 revenue breakdown, less than 40% of Lucasfilm business is derived from overseas. At the time of Marvel’s acquisition in ’09, over 40% of their business came from overseas. That’s a significant disparity, and Disney obviously sees a substantial return on any investment there. Star Wars, of course, being the driving force.

It comes down to capital allocation, and with such outsized returns on a relatively minimal investment, it's obvious where The Walt Disney Company's attention is going to be focused for the next decade.

*- The Simpsons": 6 voice actors -- $400,000 per episode. Script and production costs, retake costs: $900,000- $1.5 million = $3.3 million-$3.9 million.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kongisking
If it were done similarly to Batman: The Animated Series (animation and story-qualitywise, I mean. Calm down, everyone) or Gargoyles

You're way too young to be name checking either of those shows.

Last edited by Le Saboteur : 11-10-2013 at 04:17 AM.
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