Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures said today that they’ve reached a marketing and distribution deal for the Indiana Jones franchise. Among other things, this agreement removes the last hurdle for Disney in moving forward with future Indiana Jones movies, which the company acquired when it purchased Lucasfilm in a multibillion-dollar deal late last year. The new deal gives Disney marketing and distribution rights to future films as well as retaining Lucasfilm’s ownership rights — which basically means they’ve got the whole shebang now. Paramount, on the other hand, isn’t left in the cold: The studio will continue to have distribution rights to the first four films. While details of the deal are unknown, Paramount also will receive financial rewards on any future Indiana Jones films that are produced and released by Disney. Moving ahead with a new Star Wars movie coming out in December 2015 and with two more in the pipeline, the studio has not confirmed that a fifth Indiana Jones has the green light. However, with today’s news and star Harrison Ford’s previous expressed interest in returning to the role, one would have to say it’s looking likely.
UPDATE: Jerry Bruckheimer And Paramount Ink First-Look Deal; Brett Ratner Attached To Direct ‘Beverly Hills Cop’
UPDATED: Paramount Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer are back in business together, with the free-agent producer and his Bruckheimer Films finalizing a three-year first-look deal with the studio that will begin in April 2014. “I have a lot more freedom than at Disney,” Bruckheimer told me today. Clearly, he’s referring to the fact that he can take projects elsewhere to develop if need be, something he couldn’t do at Disney. He also cited Paramount’s strong marketing and distribution team and said he was impressed with how well they handled the Brad Pitt zombie movie World War Z when the going got rough in the press.
In September, Disney announced it would not renew its first-look with one of the few brand-name producers in town — the one who begat the mega-successful Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise. That decision came as the studio said it would have to write down as much as $190 million from losses tied to The Lone Ranger, the big-budget pic from Bruckheimer that failed to pop at the box office. Bruckheimer’s films have earned a combined $16 billion over the years, with 19 of his movies topping $100 million mark in U.S. box office receipts. His deal with Disney was about the most expensive in the business, with generous overhead, 7-figure producing fees and gross.
Bruckheimer will not have a discretionary fund at Paramount.
Projects he set up at Disney will remain there until they pass on them. One of the projects Bruckheimer will take with him is Shake, a cat-and-mouse thriller about and FBI agent who is bringing in a serial killer when an earthquake happens and the killer gets loose.
The first project under the new deal, however, will be a new Beverly Hills Cop movie — a reboot of one of Bruckheimer and Paramount’s biggest successes together when he produced the original with late partner Don Simpson. Eddie Murphy closed his deal to reprise his role as Detroit cop Axel Foley — this time Foley will be returning to his Detroit roots. It will be the fourth installment of the lucrative franchise. Brett Ratner, who is currently finishing up Hercules for MGM, is attached to direct the film as soon as his duties on the Dwayne Johnson-starrer finishes up. The picture bows in July. The Beverly Hills Cop script is still being worked on.
Another big Bruckheimer-Simpson-Paramount hit in their sights: Bruckheimer as part of his deal will also produce the long-in-the-works Top Gun 2, which is being developed by Skydance Productions with Tom Cruise back in the cockpit to star.
The production deal brings another heavy hitter into the Paramount mix with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Bay, David Ellison and J.J. Abrams already there.
Jerry Bruckheimer may have his TV deal at Warner Bros, but sources say a feature deal at the studio for the producer is no longer in play. Bruckheimer now is looking to set up his lucrative production deal at Paramount. Sources close to the negotiation tell Deadline that they hope to seal a deal in the coming week but would not elaborate on the specifics — for instance, whether Bruckheimer would be given any special incentives or what the length of term might be.
Bruckheimer is one of the few brand-name producers in town, having worked for years to establish himself as such and making a mint for Disney with the Pirates of the Caribbean series. He also is one of the most expensive producer deals in town, pulling in hefty producing fees and backend deals. He has also made a name for himself in television with such successful franchises as CSI and The Amazing Race.
The producer previously had a long run at Paramount with his former producing partner, the late Don Simpson, where they churned out Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop and Flashdance in their heyday.
The director of this year’s slick magic drama Now You See Me and such tentpole fare as Clash Of The Titans and 2008′s The Incredible Hulk will direct Sacha Baron …
China Wants To See More “Positive Chinese Images” From Hollywood, Government Co-Production Chief Tells Confab
“We have a huge market and we want to share it with you,” said Zhang Xun, President of China Film Co-Production Company today at the U.S./China Film Summit in downtown L.A. However, Xun warned the crowd that successful Hollywood co-production in China requires a shift in the kind of Chinese characters American films depict. “We want films that are heavily invested in Chinese culture, not one or two shots,” she said, referencing films like Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 without mentioning them by name. “We want to see positive Chinese images. China has been opening up for 30 years and I think both U.S. and Chinese screenwriters want to write positive images,” Xun added, citing that there are still too many depictions of Chinese roles as drug dealers or criminals. A department of the Chinese government, the CFCC, is in charge of all administration and coordination for foreign film co-production. Last year, several films like Expendables 2, Cloud Atlas and Looper were hoping for co-production status but ended up hitting the big screen in China as purely foreign imports.
Xun’s remarks in a translated Q&A came after a morning of panels for the fourth annual confab. Running for a full day for the first time, the U.S./China Film Summit ends with a gala dinner tonight. Studios such as Warner Bros, Fox, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation are serving as sponsors of the event and execs from the likes of DWA and Vintage Roadshow Asia are participating Organizers announced today that they would soon start holding quarterly events on topics such as foreign sales in China and doing post production in the Middle Kingdom. AFM, which gets underway tomorrow in Santa Monica, will see a record influx of Chinese companies and execs, with more than 100 distributors and producers from more than 50 companies.
Paramount is going down the spinoff road with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, due out January 3. The trailer that dropped today gives the first look at the pic, which the distributor had mostly been mum about other than saying it will target the franchise’s sizable Latino fanbase using mostly …
On the heels of a domestic trailer released by Paramount earlier this month comes a new international version for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Chris Pine stars in the Kenneth Branagh-directed pic along with Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Peter Andersson, David Paymer, Colm Feore and Branagh. It’s set for …