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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Dear Bob: Disney Needs to Step It Up on Indiana Jones

by Ray Keating
September 12, 2019

Dear Bob,

I just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World, and I’m left wondering, once again, what the heck Disney is doing with Indiana Jones? Please allow me to address some glaring issues.

The first is Indy merchandise. I always stop at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost – while also taking in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – when at Hollywood Studios. And quite simply, the Indy merchandise currently available is underwhelming, compared to what was once offered long ago, and what could be offered, especially when considering what’s presented throughout the Disney parks for other iconic films and characters. And quite frankly, there aren’t too many movie characters more iconic than Indiana Jones.

Yes, I picked up a very nice satchel, as well as a new pin. I have the Indy shirt and a hat – and even an action figure. But the point is, where’s the rest? Where are the assorted mugs, additional shirts, towels, blankets, glasses, posters, and so on. The first three Indiana Jones movies truly rank as classics (with the fourth being okay), beloved by people of all ages. It’s pretty clear that an opportunity is being missed here, which is odd for you and Disney.

My hope is that when the Stunt Spectacular gets a much-needed upgrade for the summer of 2021 – coinciding with Disney World’s 50thanniversary and the scheduled release of the fifth Indiana Jones movie – the merchandise will be expanded as well.

Secondly, I have written in the past wondering why Disney seems to be lagging on the Indiana Jones front – see What’s Up with Script Delays and Indiana Jones? (July 23, 2018) and What the Heck is Disney Doing with Indiana Jones? (October 25, 2018). I’ve noted:

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, the House of Mouse not only acquired Star Wars but also the ownership rights to Indiana Jones. So, what the heck has Disney done since with everyone’s favorite archeologist? Oddly, the answer is: Absolutely nothing.

Bob, Disney really needs to step it up on Indiana Jones. There’s the merchandise issue, but let’s expand things in terms of the parks – there’s been talk of an Indiana Jones land – and looking beyond Indiana Jones 5 in terms of additional films (who will be the next Indy?) and Disney+ opportunities. The key, of course, is high quality storytelling and related materials. But quality should not mean a lack of supply. 

By the way, if you need a Kevin Feige-type to helm the Indiana Jones franchise, I’m available.

Thanks for the consideration, and have a magical day!

Ray Keating

Check out Ray Keating’s previous “Dear Bob” letters...

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

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