Indy By The Numbers

Projects people once thought would never happen:

· Episodes I through III of the Star Wars saga
· A fifth Superman movie
· The original Star Trek series, updated with new special effects
· The 1977-1983 theatrical versions of the Star Wars trilogy on DVD
· The animated Star Trek series on DVD
· Richard Donner’s version of Superman II assembled and released
· A fourth Indiana Jones movie

One-by-one, the first six items on this “never gonna happen” list came about–proving that patience is indeed a good franchise-fan virtue.

So, maybe the recent announcement that the last item is finally in the works isn’t all that surprising. The prospect of Indiana Jones returning to cinemas is, nonetheless, an exciting one.

2008 will be a crowded and fun year for film frontier fans. Also expected to join Indy IV in theaters next year are The Dark Knight and Star Trek XI.

With Dr. Jones on his way back, I thought it might be fun to run some numbers on the Lucas/Spielberg/Ford Indiana Jones franchise that began with 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, continued with 1984’s The Temple of Doom, and hit theaters most recently back in 1989 with The Last Crusade.

# of years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace: 16
# of years between Rocky V and 2006’s Rocky Balboa: 16
# of years between Superman IV and Superman Returns: 19
# of years between The Last Crusade and Indy IV: 19

Age of Alec Guinness at release of 1977’s Star Wars: 63
Age of Clint Eastwood at Unforgiven: 62
Age of Sylvester Stallone at Rocky Balboa: 60
Age of William Shatner at Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: 60
Age of Patrick Stewart at Star Trek Nemesis: 62
Age of Sean Connery (Indy’s father) at The Last Crusade: 59
Age of Harrison Ford at Indy IV: 66

Age of Harrison Ford at release of Raiders of the Lost Ark: 39
Age of Ke Huy Quan (Short Round) at Indy IV: 37
Age of River Phoenix (Young Indy) at Indy IV (if he were still living): 38

# of Oscar wins for Steven Spielberg prior to The Last Crusade: 0
# of Oscar wins for Steven Spielberg after The Last Crusade: 3

# of Star Trek movies released since The Last Crusade: 6
# of all-new Star Wars movies released since The Last Crusade: 3

Combined US gross of first three Indiana Jones movies: $619 million
Combined US gross of last three Spielberg movies (director): $360 million
Combined US gross of last three Lucas movies (producer): $1.1 billion
Combined US gross of last three Ford movies (actor): $115 million

* * *

If you think I’m trying to give Harrison Ford a hard time about his age, I’m not. I just thought it would be interesting to point out some comparisons with other classic characters.

If anyone can pull this off, it’s Ford. He’s made a lot of my favorite movies over the years, and I’m not just talking Star Wars and Indy. As long as the movie acknowledges the character’s age rather than trying to treat him like a 30-year-old, there’s no reason Indy IV can’t be just as thrilling and entertaining as any of the original three.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a new character is planted in this film as a seed to star in future sequels, though. But, I’m getting way ahead of myself there.

Whatever the numbers, I’m just glad to hear that Indiana Jones will soon be back on the big screen.

Primary Information Sources
The Internet Movie Database
Box Office Mojo