Box Sets Just Got Complicated: Rights For 'Star Wars: A New Hope' Still Held By Fox

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by Charlie Schmidlin
October 31, 2012 9:03 AM
7 Comments
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Amid yesterday's massive announcement that Disney handed over $4.05 billion to call LucasFilm their own, the immediate predictions of such a merger's result have established a firmly forward-looking perspective. However, that keen attitude toward the “Star Wars” franchise may have overlooked some past decisions of LucasFilm's that could come back to haunt Disney, as the two industry giants now face from Fox a bit of thorny issue of rights over the film that started it all.

"Disney is the perfect place,” explained a LucasFilm associate yesterday, following their press conference. ”At Fox they just make movies. Fox doesn't have theme parks and huge brands. This is a good fit." At this stage in George Lucas' career, it's obvious his intent matches this assessment, and it also points to why Fox was never even approached when LucasFilm was set to sell. But when it comes to the inevitable Blu-ray box set after the new trilogy hits theaters starting 2015, the recently realized fact that Fox retains distribution rights to the original “Star Wars” -- as well as theatrical, nontheatrical and home video rights worldwide for the others through 2020 -- will undoubtedly pose a bit of an issue.

Word from Fox has been quiet following the sale, but in this case the company can keep its silence while they reap the benefits of laying a blow to Disney's intensive home-video rollouts. The 3D versions of 'Attack of the Clones' and 'Revenge of the Sith' will still hit theaters next fall as planned via Fox, but as far as Lucas' hopes of keeping the “Star Wars” story contained on home video, it won't be until a deal is reached between Fox and Disney that any such option can exist. Or they can just wait -- rights for the film revert back to Disney in 2020.

Still, as far as the audience is concerned, 'A New Hope' will (hopefully) remain unchanged from its most recent Blu-ray release, but in the manner of everyone else surrounding the sale, we'll keep eyes trained instead on what surprises the next near-decade holds. [THR]

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7 Comments

  • T | October 31, 2012 9:47 AMReply

    "Still, as far as the audience is concerned, 'A New Hope' will (hopefully) remain unchanged from its most recent Blu-ray release..."

    Are you kidding me? Give us the unaltered trilogy on blu-ray! THAT'S what the audience wants.

  • N | October 31, 2012 10:56 AM

    Agree 100%. Why the hell would we want the version with Greedo shooting first, and the horribly awkward scene with Han and Jabba?

  • savgfdh | October 31, 2012 9:31 AMReply

    this sucks.

  • Bash | October 31, 2012 9:31 AMReply

    Come 2020, the rights would revert back to LucasFilm which will be owned by Disney.

    In the interim, expect to see Fox milking the rights for all their worth.

    Maybe they'll even release the original trilogy in their un-basterdised version.

  • sam | October 31, 2012 9:23 AMReply

    so Fox loses the rights in 2020. the next Trilogy will come out in 2015, 2017, 2019. so no biggie: the box set can come out when Episode IX is ready for home video. if Disney gets the rights to them. (who'll have 'em by then? Lucasfilm gets 'em back? or maybe it's already in the contract that Disney gets 'em in 2020.)

  • Craig | October 31, 2012 12:55 PM

    Fox still has the rights to the original Star Wars unless Disney can reach a deal with them.

  • Cde. | October 31, 2012 9:33 AM

    Disney = Lucasfilm

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