Disney Buys LucasFilm, New Star Wars Coming in 2015, Twitter Explodes

Improvise, adapt, overcome.

So the news broke a while ago that George Lucas had sold LucasFilm to Disney to “let Hooper take a turn.” So now Disney will start making the new movies, etc. Twitter had a total meltdown over it, with names like Brad Bird and Joss Whedon being bandied about. Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are the only two good ones, in my opinion. I also love American Graffiti. I am sure I am not the target audience for this.

But it’s worth noting that I’ve seen Star Wars maybe more than any other movie except Jaws and know the movie line for line. Literally, line for line. I can quote most of the scenes. I fell madly in love with Luke Skywalker when I was around 11.

“Aren’t you a little short to be a storm trooper?”

The press release:

Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.

Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.

Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.

STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.

Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

“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.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Warsfranchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Warsfranchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

Note: Additional information and comments from Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and Jay Rasulo, senior executive vice president and CFO, The Walt Disney Company, regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, are attached.

Investor Conference Call:

An investor conference call will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. PDT today, October 30, 2012. To listen to the Webcast, turn your browser to /investors/eventsor dial in domestically at (888) 771-4371 or internationally at (847) 585-4405. For both dial-in numbers, the participant pass code is 33674546.

The discussion will be available via replay on the Disney Investor Relations website through November 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM EST/2:00 PM PST.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media, and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of over $40 billion in its Fiscal Year 2011.

About Lucasfilm Ltd.

Founded by George Lucas in 1971, Lucasfilm is a privately held, fully-integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company’s global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production; LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm’s entertainment properties; Lucasfilm Animation; and Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm’s entertainment properties and businesses. Additionally, Lucasfilm Singapore, produces digital animated content for film and television, as well as visual effects for feature films and multi-platform games. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

23 Comments on this Post

  1. This was pretty damn surprising. I’m cautiously optimistic. I think the franchise is due for new blood to come in and shake things up, so hopefully it turns out great.

  2. Tero Heikkinen

    Let’s just see the original trilogy as they used to be (or Special Editions) on Disney Blu-ray :)

    Not gonna happen, but should.

  3. I heard about this 15 minutes ago. I haven’t stopped crying yet. This is so sad. :(

  4. Tero Heikkinen

    Hah, the biggest entertainment news of 2012. The comment section is flooding, Sandy has nothing.

  5. I was more into the bad boy, so when Han Solo said to Leia at the end of Strikes Back (after she professes her love to him) “I know”, I knew I was doomed. :)

    It is really difficult for me to believe I will see the greatness of something like The Empire Strikes Back once again from this franchise.

    Oh well, what can I say, good luck to them.

  6. Tero Heikkinen

    The only way is up (after Eps I to III), so yeah.

    Most important two words here: Kathleen Kennedy.

  7. It’s official… He is a prostitute. And his one trick pony lives on.

  8. Jesus Alonso

    Well, it’s not bad news, to be honest. I, for myself, am not a fan of the franchise, but while I think the original trilogy is horribly overrated artistically – its groundbreaking components are out of question – I think the last 2 films Lucas shot (Clones & Sith) are quite good for different reasons (Clones for entertainment and Sith as a film alltogether) and the only two of the saga that dignify thematically the whole, giving it a sense, a reason to exist apart from moneygrabbing. The politichal motivation of the prequels, is pretty much spot-on, on the actual western civilization’s situation and is shown with depth (probably one of the motivations for the harsh rejection from hardcore fans). But it’s my opinion, from a guy that hasn’t bought the bluray editions, and will keep just the DVD ones, before George dares to change even more the original candid trilogy.

    To my taste, the only “great” film of the series is “Strikes” and the only bad film is Phantom. The rest, are fun, dumb entertainment, pure popcorn and pulp.

  9. Jesus Alonso

    I have to add something… I don’t believe in coincidences. Star Wars was transferred to a comic book series by Marvel, which is now Disney’s too… and was distributed/produced filmically by 20th Century Fox, which, “by chance” is in talks now with Marvel about certain characters to go back from 20th Century Fox to Marvel Studios. They’re negotiating, it seems, to assure Daredevil keeps being on Fox side, while Marvel is claiming at least Galactus and the Silver Surfer to go back to Marvel – which probably would lead into Fox’s dropping Fantastic Four, also.

    Maybe are we assisting at the first movements of Disney’s attempt to take over Fox? Are they in talks for merging both corporations into one? I smell something is going on, it’s really surprising Fox would give up distribution on future Star Wars films this easy, unless Lucas have secured total power of decission on this issues.

  10. I too am being cautiously optimistic. The only way that Disney will cement my enthusiasm will be determined by who they’ll pick to direct this beast. If its Brad Bird or Matthew Vaughan or Rian Johnson or Alfonso Cuaron…holy shit I will be through the moon! Brad Bird especially could literally give the only two good movies IV-V a run for their money. And please if Disney really wants to yank more dough from my wallet for the love of God release the “originals” in a spruced up anamorphic Blu Ray boxed set. You will make BILLIONS!

  11. Can you imagine in 2015: Star Wars Episode 7; The Avengers 2; Avatar 2. If critics and fans embrace all of these…the Oscars would sure have a lot of splainin’ to do if they snub all three and give it to a $2m indie film out of Sundance or Berlin.

  12. Not all that surprising, really, as they seem to be competing in the same business – recycling.

    As far as “embracing” further chapters, that would be akin to hugging a smelly old uncle. Respectable but too familiar, not all that interesting, and kind of annoying by repeating the same stories.

  13. unlikely hood

    Jesus Alonso: Fox doesn’t own the Star Wars universe at all. It’s all George. He tipped them a little fee to distribute Ep 1-3.

    The deal doesn’t go through til January, so if you’re one of the many, many creative artists who have made hay with the Star Wars franchise – George Lucas in Love, Robot Chicken, Family Guy, all the rest – do everything you can for the next 2 months. George didn’t sue you (usually), remember? But he’s now sold his baby to the most litigious company on the planet.

    Just had a long chat with my neighbor Leland who works for George Lucas – Leland handles Star Wars licensing. He knew about episodes 7 8 and 9 for about a month but had NO idea the company was up for sale. He found out on MSNBC early this afternoon, about 30 min before a company-wide email that called everyone in for a meeting. In the auditorium of about 1000 people, Lucas didn’t give specifics about his future plans, and didn’t make it clear whether he’d keep veto power over the films (as he has over the Clone Wars cartoons). He did say that to have Pixar “back” was like giving away your child and having them return home as an adult. I guess that line got some laughs. My neighbor is excited to work for Kathleen Kennedy (who was also there). She’s gonna be keeping him busy.

    I don’t know what to think about the creative product. As I already said on Sasha’s fb, there has never been a sequel produced a generation later that equalled the original. Never. Ever. No exceptions. 007 doesn’t count because they have just been re-tooling that machine for 50 years. So…bottom line…in film, you can’t go home again. And they won’t. They won’t make something as pure and clunky and breathtaking as the 1977 and 1980 films. But they might make films with other aspects to recommend them…

  14. Let’s review

    Nolan-just turned down Justice League
    Zack Snyder-Will he do only one Superman film or a few more?
    Bird-Save for MI: Ghost Protocol, he’s an animated director. Next.
    Vaughan-Now available after he and X-Men First Class had a divorce.
    Soderbergh-Magic Mike unexpected hit; 2nd unit director on THG. Maybe.
    Gary Ross-He did direct #13 all-time domestic boxoffice hit (Hunger Games)
    Spielberg-Don’t think he’d want to do it.

  15. Understand, those were the directors that aren’t attached to film franchises at the moment (like Abrams, Whedon, Cameron, Marc Webb, etc.). I didn’t include animated directors like the ones who co-directed Brave, Madagascar 3 or Ice Age 3 (?). Maybe somebody who’s not on the radar yet.

    Just don’t let it be M. Night Shamamlamadingdong.

  16. Here’s a name; Sam Mendes. If Skyfall is as good as advertised, then I think he’d be a great candidate.

  17. It’s great to see breaking news that isn’t about real-life storms and tragedies.
    The story about SW could go either way. Disney can go 3 ways:

    1- Make a kid / child friendly movie that would make Phantom Menace and Return of Jedi look like Godfather Part 1 and 2.

    2- Make a broad / balanced movie like Avengers or Pirates that has something for ALMOST every type of demographic.

    3- Make a adult / dark movie in vein of District 9 and The Dark Knight.

    My guess is a mix of 1 and 2 since the 3rd option doesn’t apply to something like Star Wars (Unless we’re talking about BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic). I also STRONGLY agree with Sasha the Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back are the only good ones and they are probably a mix of all 3 types which will never happen these days. Every single movie is made with specific demos in mind and in that regard, at least original Star Wars is out.

  18. Tero Heikkinen

    The Empire Strikes Back is a near-masterpiece. A New Hope is good, but Return of the Jedi is – at times – almost unwatchable. So, the original trilogy is far from perfect, but still way way better than the prequel trilogy where all episodes sucked (mostly due to dialogue which is as bad as in The Room or any B-movie made in a week).

  19. Why won’t they just leave Star Wars alone. The prequels were painful enough. Just stop it.

  20. Ed Steinberg

    FYI:
    StarWars Film Studio LUCASFILM Acquired By DISNEY For $4.05B, 100% Owner George Lucas Gets $4 Billion+, Now Non-Paper Billionaire, Star Wars 7th Film To Be Released In 2015

    LUCASFILM- the privately-held film studio giant behind Star Wars and Indiana Jones film franchises as well as market leading special effects provider Industrial Light & Magic -has just agreed to be acquired by Disney ($DIS) in a massive $4.05 cash and stock acquisition. The deal makes Lucas officially a non-paper (cash) billionaire. Related news: Star Wars Episode 7 to be released in 2015. George Lucas’s consent to allow the final 3 Star Wars Films to be made (even after his death) added $1.1 Billion to the Lucasfilm Ltd. acquisition price per PrivCo (private company financial data site):

    http://www.privco.com/breaking-alert-starwars-film-studio-lucasfilm-acquired-by-disney-for-405-billion-sole-100-owner-of-privately-held-studio-george-lucas-gets-2025b-in-cash-and-2021b-in-disney-stock-george-lucas-now-officially-non-paper-billionaire-worth-of-55-billion-incl-p

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