Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Disney Empire Strikes Back: As George Lucas Moves On, Disney Picks Up His Bay Area Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 30, 2012 at 5:11PM

Walt Disney Co. has made a major purchase-- following its earlier acquisition of Pixar and Marvel Entertainment-- by scooping up George Lucas's Bay Area LucasFilm for $4.05 billion. This means that Disney and its theme parks will now own future rights to Lucas's "Star Wars" franchise--in all its myriad forms.
2
George Lucas
George Lucas


Walt Disney Co. has made a major purchase-- following its earlier acquisition of Pixar and Marvel Entertainment-- by scooping up George Lucas's Bay Area Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This means that Disney and its theme parks will own many rights to Lucas's "Star Wars" franchise--in its myriad forms.

Kathleen Kennedy recently moved up to the Bay Area to take over running Lucasfilm as president, as Lucas had planned to step back from hands-on running of the sprawling empire which includes top VFX house Industrial Light & Magic, which Disney will retain. She will continue as president and report to studio chairman Alan Horn.

Lucas has given Disney a detailed treatment for a new trilogy of future 'Star Wars" films, the first of which ("Episode 7") is in development now for release in 2015. The valuation of this purchase is based on the future revenues of new "Star Wars" films--and all the licensing and merchandising, expanded theme park rides and so on. They plan a new "Star Wars" film every two to three years.

The last "Star Wars" film, "Revenge of the Sith," came out in 2005. In that year Lucasfilm generated $550 million in operating income. In a conference call, Disney chairman Bob Iger loved the idea of banking on an established popular brand, and compared the purchase to Marvel. There is even more opportunity for growth internationally for Disney than with Marvel, as Disney will take over the third parties that handle Lucasfilm consumer products overseas.

Disney reports that about a quarter of Lucasfilm's business is the film studio-based business, a quarter consumer products, games are less than 20% and the rest is other businesses, based on 2011 revenues. Disney will stick to their plan to release one to two Marvel films a year (and say they are pleased with where they are three years in), one Pixar animated film a year, one Disney animated film a year, and four to six live action films; "Star Wars" would take one of the annual live action tentpole slots.

The "Star Wars" films at Twentieth Century Fox and "Indiana Jones" at Paramount are somewhat encumbered, although Disney said this was less so than many of the Marvel encumbrances. Fox does not have future distribution rights to "Star Wars." Iger started talking to Lucas about a year and a half ago and once they decided to go forward with a sale, they negotiated to close the deal. Lucas will effectively retire, but he will serve as a consultant, especially on the development of the new trilogy. "'Star Wars' is one of the great entertainment brands of all time," said Iger. "We like 'Star Wars'' potential in TV as well."

Here's the Disney release.

This article is related to: News, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney, George Lucas


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.