by Ray Keating
July 23, 2018
Why is it so difficult to get an Indiana Jones script done in timely fashion? Going all of the way back to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), script delays have plagued this beloved franchise.
Director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas waded through an assortment of story ideas and scripts for a third movie, after Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) met with mixed reviews, especially when compared to the monster hit Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). (By the way, Temple of Doom is an excellent movie.) It took five years to get Last Crusade, but as it turned out, it was well worth the wait.
But if Indy fans thought that was a long time between whip-cracking adventures, it would be another 19 years until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) hit theaters. Many thought that wait was not exactly worth it. My take is that, yes, it is the worst of the four Indy movies, largely due to it being wildly uneven, with some high points and a variety of lows, and a clear need for another round of edits (including putting Mutt and the monkeys on the cutting room floor, and an ending that was too drawn out). The long delay between films covered myriad story ideas and scripts being kicked around and rejected.
But Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, and with it, the intellectual property to Indiana Jones, and in the following year, the distribution and marketing rights for future Indiana Jones films were secured from Paramount. Surely, Disney would make a new Indy film happen, and with greater speed given their considerable investment in buying Lucasfilm.
After all, keep in mind that each Indy movies has been a nice moneymaker at the box office. On an $18 million production budget, Raiders made $390 million, Temple of Doom ranked in $333 million on a budget of $28 million; Last Crusade earned $474 million with a budget of $48 million; and even Crystal Skull pulled in $787 million on a $185 production budget, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Yet, here we are still waiting for a new movie, with a recent announcement that a movie that was supposed to be released in 2019, and then 2020, is now rescheduled for 2021. The problem? As reported by Variety, it’s once again script issues, with Jonathan Kasdan reportedly being brought on to take a crack at a new script. Kasdan co-wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story with his father, Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the script for Raiders.
Meanwhile, as time passes, it must be noted that Harrison Ford just turned 76 this month, and therefore, would be roughly 78 when filming Indiana Jones 5, that is, if there are no further delays. Time is not exactly a friend for Ford portraying this action hero – though it’s hard for me to doubt the seemingly ageless Ford.
Make no mistake, I’m a huge Indiana Jones fan. And like so many others, I want to see Harrison Ford don the fedora and leather jacket, and pick up the whip one more time. But jeez, let’s go people. Can’t anyone in Hollywood pen a quality Indy script on a deadline? After all, millions of fans around the world stand willing to hand over money at the box office, for blu-rays and digital copies, and for merchandise
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the two latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel and Heroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at email@example.com.