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Star Wars script due in January, Indiana Jones 5 a few years off

The new script for Star Wars: Episode VII is expected in January, but a new Indiana Jones is a bit further off, according to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. While speaking at Variety’s dealmaker breakfast, Horn also confirmed the plans to release Star Wars films annually, beginning with Episode VII, and then alternating each year between the main series and spin-offs.

Horn also hinted that the budget of Star Wars: Episode VII will be over $200 million, and that Disney is considering how to position it – and all its movies – for the international market starting with China.

“The international market wants (to see films that have) size, scope and scale,” Horn said, explaining why Disney’s movies will continue to see film budgets increase. “It drives us to support the tentpole philosophy.”

The conversation then turned to future Indiana Jones projects. Although Disney acquired the rights to produce Indiana Jones films when it purchased Lucasfilms, Paramount retained the rights to market and distribute any future films in the series. That changed last week, when Disney purchased the marketing and distribution rights, although Paramount retains the distribution rights to the previous films.

Although still unconfirmed, the rumor is that Harrison Ford was unwilling to sign on for more Star Wars films unless the studio began to move ahead with a new Indiana Jones. Ford reportedly wanted to see a story outline for a fifth Indy film before committing to Star Wars, but Disney was wasn’t ready to move ahead at the time. Ford and Disney eventually came to terms, but part of his deal still includes a new Indiana Jones movie.

During the breakfast, Horn confirmed that Disney wasn’t willing to produce a film that it would then hand over to Paramount for marketing and distribution, but now that Disney owns those rights it’s moving ahead. A fifth Indiana Jones movie may be a few years off though.

“We don’t have a story,” Horn said when asked about a possible Indiana Jones film. “We need a story.”

Horn went on to suggest that we may see a new Indy film in two or three years, even though Disney has not officially confirmed the new film – at least not yet.

Along with Star Wars, the Indiana Jones brand was a big part of the Lucasfilm purchase. With Ford not only on board, but basically demanding a new film be made, and Steven Spielberg reportedly interested in a new film based on what the script looks like, there seems very little reason for Disney not to move ahead.

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