by Micah Johnson
The following article is a rant born out of frustration with the whole Indy IV rumor scene. The Cinescape news item is unusual in that it is based on actual fact, a single, very slim fact, but a fact nonetheless. The addition of the phrase "no longer in the planning stages" to the fact was enough to throw me into a tirade, which admittedly was far harsher than warranted. So, enjoy the rant, but remember the fact.
On January 29, 1998, Cinescape Online posted a "news" item, with the revelation that "Indiana Jones 4 is now confirmed as being in development and no longer in the planning stages." Evoking mysterious government documents, Cinescape's news had an official air. This was a first in Indy IV rumors. Given that companies don't generally make a habit of lying to the U.S. government, this was a source without peer... unshakable, rock solid. Unaccustomed to actual Indy IV facts, my fevered mind envisioned a flurry of location scouting, storyboarding, casting, ... taking place at that very moment.
Blinded by the certain truth of the item, I failed to notice that the "news" was severely lacking in content. What does it mean to be "in development?" The meaning of such industry terms aren't well known to me. Corona's Coming Attractions considers "in development" as the point where the project has been solidified financially, the script is undergoing its final polish, and tentative release dates are being announced. However, there is a lot of play between this relatively advanced stage of development and Corona's "development hell", a term clearly unsuitable for a legally binding license agreement. Confused by the relative ambiguity of the term, I rested my hopes on the phrase "no longer in the planning stages," which suggests that the discussion is over and something is actually being done. But what? Uncertain whether this was good news or it even qualified as news, I resolved to go straight to the source.
Delving into the depths of the SEC database at www.sec.gov, I looked at the dates of Galoob's past filings. If the pattern held, the next filing wasn't due until the end of March. Cinescape must have been reporting on the document for last quarter, filed in November 1997. How did such news escape the scrutiny of others for so long? Those folks at Cinescape are clever ones, I thought, mining dry financial documents for important information, while others rely on the trades. At least they would be clever if they had reported what was actually said in the document.
The purported spilling of beans is contained in the details of a strategic relationship agreement between Lucasfilm and Galoob, dated October 14, 1997. The agreement gives Galoob first negotiation rights for merchandising various Lucasfilm properties:
including the sequel theatrical motion picture currently in development and tentatively entitled "Indiana Jones IV" and intended to star Harrison Ford and be directed by Steven Spielberg.
This is the sole mention of Indy IV in the entire half-megabyte document. Excuse me, Cinescape, but where did "no longer in the planning stages" come from? Take away that promising phrase, and all you're left with is "currently in development," a term which may have specific meaning in Hollywood circles, but in this context is rife with ambiguity. The only definitive information we can glean from this passage is that somewhere someone is putting effort into an Indiana Jones sequel. Didn't we already know this?
Included in the agreement are first dibs on licensing merchandise based on the existing Indy trilogy. However, considering that the agreement also includes the laughable prospect of Tucker: The Man and His Dream merchandise, I wouldn't bet on a new series of classic Indy toys, except as a compliment to the Indy IV line.
For the terminally curious among you, the entire text of the filing can be found at www.sec.gov.
Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: Micah Johnson
Created: February 9, 1998
Last modified: April 2, 1998