Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Thoughts on the Disney Purchase of Lucasfilm!

October 30, 2012! This will be a day long remembered! The day that Disney and Lucasfilm combined forces! Magic Kingdom meet the Galactic Empire!
The Walt Disney Studios has announced that they purchased George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd. for an estimated $4.05 billion. Disney has also announced that they plan to make at least one and maybe several new Star Wars sequels, beginning with the release of Episode VII in 2015! Lucasfilm’s technology companies – LucasArts, Industrial Light + Magic and Skywalker Sound are also all part of this deal.

There’s obviously going to be TONS of additional details and coverage of this story in the coming days, weeks and months ahead!
Statement by George Lucas: “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Here are the details from the official Disney investors’ conference call yesterday afternoon:
  • Deal signed and announced earlier today – includes Star Wars franchise and all Lucasfilm operating businesses.
  • Indiana Jones franchise rights ARE also included in this deal.
  • Disney loves the Indiana Jones franchise, but it wasn't included in the studio’s Lucasfilm valuation due to its “encumbrances” (meaning existing financial/legal involvement of Paramount).
  • First project under the joint under Disney/Lucas partnership will be Star Wars: Episode 7 in 2015, followed by Episode 8 and Episode 9.
  • Disney purchased “extensive and detailed” treatment for Episodes 7-9 as part of this deal which they “feel very good about.”
  • Disney long term plan is to release a new live-action Star Wars film every 2-3 years – films may eventually explore entire 20,000 year time-span of the franchise.
  • It’s Lucas’ plan to stay retired, but he will serve as creative consultant on new Star Wars films. Kathleen Kennedy will executive produce. Both are now sitting down with writers to discuss stories.
  • Fox retains certain distribution rights to the existing Star Wars films but not the new franchise films going forward.
  • Kennedy will serve as Lucasfilm president, reporting to Bob Iger at Disney.
  • Disney plans to expand Star Wars brand into many new product categories and internationally.
  • Star Wars brand will also be expanded into Disney parks, games and TV businesses.
  • Iger feels Disney XD would be a good TV home for the franchise going forward.
  • Star Wars interactive strategy: Disney will focus more on social and mobile platforms, opportunistically on consoles.
  • Deal was 50% cash and 50% stock – $4.05 billion
  • Disney believes Lucasfilm value is comparable to value of Marvel, but valuation is only based on Star Wars alone – value of other Lucasfilm intellectual properties are in addition to this.
  • Disney plans to let ILM continue operating as it currently does.
Needless to say this is very exciting news! I, for one cannot even begin to think about all of the possibilities!This is something I have been wanting for sometime now! After Disney purchased Marvel I told people that all we need to do is purchase Lucasfilm!

Here are just some of the possibilities:
  • Not only new Star Wars attractions but a Star Wars Land or a Star Wars theme park! Imagine a fifth gate at WDW all based around Star Wars! Each land could be a different planet! Imagine those possibilities - Hoth, Naboo, Coruscant, Tatooine, etc.! Then let's not forget about the food, interactive experiences, the shows! I'm sure we can talk for days about a theme park!
  • Hopefully new Indiana Jones attractions or themed areas in the Disney Parks!
  • LucasArts taking over Disney Interactive to not only produce Star Wars related games but Disney ones as well! Maybe bring back something like VMK!
  • Star Wars TV Shows! Ok well at least one was in the works!
  • Maybe Paul Dini's Indiana Jones The Animated Series will be created! Paul did write the amazing Batman The Animated Series!
  • Clearly tons and tons of new merchandise tying Disney and Indiana Jones and Star Wars.
My head spins with what could happen! And this would just be the tip of the iceberg! Through in shows, interactive experiences, mobile apps, the list can go on and on and on! Such an exciting time to be a Disney fan as well as a Star Wars and Indiana Jones fan! All I know is that I bet next year's D23 Expo will be something to attend to find out much much more!

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