Disney Takes Control of 'Indiana Jones' Franchise for Future Films

Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull - H 2012

Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull - H 2012

UPDATED: The studio reaches a deal with Paramount Pictures to take over distribution duties for future films, while Paramount retains rights to the first four.

Disney and Paramount have reached an agreement for the future of the Indiana Jones franchise, giving Disney control over all future films.

Paramount retains rights to the first four films and "will receive a financial participation on any future films that are produced and released," says the statement from the studios.

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The first four adventure films in the Harrison Ford-starring franchise -- 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- were all directed by Steven Spielberg and distributed by Paramount.

The deal paves the way for a new installment in the franchise, although no official news about a fifth film being in the works has been announced. While doing press for other films, Ford has mentioned that he'd be open to the idea of returning to the character, but of course reboots and prequels with new actors could also be an option.

The last film in the franchise, The Crystal Skull, grossed $786.6 million at the worldwide box office.

The Walt Disney Co. completed its $4.06 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm, the moviemaking company founded by George Lucas, in December 2012 for a cash payment of $2.21 billion and just under 37.1 million Disney shares.

When the acquisition was first announced in October 2012, Disney revealed its plans to commission a new Star Wars movie to be released in 2015. J.J. Abrams has since signed on to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, currently slated for release on Dec. 18, 2015.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford