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Disney + Lucasfilms

Disney Buying Lucasfilm for $4 Billion

By MICHAEL CIEPLY
George Lucas in 2005, flanked by stormtroopers from his
Richard Lewis/European Pressphoto Agency George Lucas in 2005, flanked by stormtroopers from his “Star Wars” films.

8:22 p.m. | Updated LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Company, in a move that gives it a commanding position in the world of fantasy movies, said Tuesday it had agreed to acquire Lucasfilm from its founder, George Lucas, for $4.05 billion in stock and cash.

The sale provides a corporate home for a private company that grew from Mr. Lucas’s hugely successful “Star Wars” movie series, and became an enduring force in the creation of effects-driven science fiction entertainment for large and small screens. Mr. Lucas, who is 68 years old, had already announced he would step down from day-to-day operation of the company.

Combined with the purchase of Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009 and of Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion in 2006, the acquisition solidifies Disney’s status as a leader in animation and superhero films. And it strengthens the legacy of Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, who has become known for his aggressive expansion of the company since taking charge in 2005.

Mr. Iger is set to step down as chief executive in March 2015, but will remain with Disney in a lesser role under an employment deal he reached with Disney last year.

Like the Marvel acquisition, the Lucasfilm purchase caught Hollywood and Wall Street by surprise. It was announced on Tuesday afternoon, while the New York Stock Exchange was closed because of Hurricane Sandy.

In a hastily convened conference call with investors late Tuesday, Mr. Iger said Disney planned to revive the Star Wars franchise and release a seventh feature film in the series in 2015, with new films coming every two or three years thereafter. Mr. Lucas will be a consultant on the film projects, Mr. Iger said.

Mr. Iger said Disney acquired a detailed treatment for the next three “Star Wars” films as part of the acquisition. He noted that the last film in the series, “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” was released in 2005, a period that he said has created “pent-up demand.”

Jay Rasulo, the company’s chief financial officer, said Disney’s financial calculations in agreeing to purchase Lucasfilm were driven almost entirely by the potential of the “Star Wars” series, which already has a place in the Disney theme parks. Lynne Hale, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lucas, said he was on a flight back to San Francisco from Los Angeles and could not immediately be reached. “It’s now time for me to pass ‘Star Wars’ on to a new generation of filmmakers,” Mr. Lucas said in a statement.

The companies said Disney would pay approximately half of the purchase price in cash, and would issue about 40 million shares of stock to cover the balance when the deal closes. Mr. Rasulo said Disney expects within two years to repurchase those shares. Lucasfilm, he said, should begin enhancing Disney’s earnings by 2015.

With the acquisition, Disney will acquire Lucasfilm’s live-action production business, along with its Industrial Light & Magic effects business, its Skywalker Sound audio operation and its consumer products unit, among other things. Ms. Hale noted that Mr. Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and other physical properties in Marin County, Calif., were not part of the deal, and would remain with Mr. Lucas.

Kathleen Kennedy, a longtime associate of Steven Spielberg who recently agreed to become co-chairwoman of Lucasfilm, will now be its president, reporting to Alan F. Horn, the chairman of Disney’s movie studio.

Lucasfilm is based in San Francisco, and now, in combination with Pixar — which operates across the San Francisco Bay in Emeryville — it will give Disney, based in Burbank, a major presence in Northern California.

After the release of the first “Star Wars” film in 1977, Mr. Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic took the lead in developing effects technologies that were used in a generation of science fiction and fantasy films. Eventually, other companies, including Weta Digital, a New Zealand company co-owned by the filmmaker Peter Jackson, rose to prominence in that field.

Asked about the future of Industrial Light & Magic, Mr. Iger said: “Our current thinking is we would let it remain as is.” In a later interview, Mr. Iger said Disney would be prudent in handling the Lucas operations, but was also mindful of the need to “reap the value” it sees there.

Along with “Star Wars” and its many iterations on movie screens, in television programming, in video games and elsewhere, Mr. Lucas has been a partner in the “Indiana Jones” series, and, occasionally, in an unrelated film, like “Willow,” though Disney executives said they were not relying on those films for future profit.

Mr. Rasulo told analysts that Lucasfilm’s consumer products licensing revenue, about $215 million this year, is roughly comparable to the amount of licensing revenue Marvel had when Disney bought it three years ago.

Currently, Mr. Rasulo added, Lucasfilm’s licensing revenue comes mostly from toys and heavily from North America. Disney, he said, is positioned to extend the licensing business to other products and to strengthen it internationally.

Asked by an analyst about Mr. Lucas’s reasons for selling at this point, Mr. Iger said, “I don’t want to put words in George’s mouth.” But he noted that Mr. Lucas has said he began planning his retirement four or five years ago.

Speaking later, Mr. Iger said talks were conducted personally between Mr. Lucas and himself, and began about a year and a half ago in Orlando, Fla., where the two spent time while reopening a “Star Wars” attraction at Disney World.

Of Mr. Lucas’s willingness to put his creative legacy in Disney’s hands, Mr. Iger said: “There was a lot of trust there.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 10/31/2012, on page B1 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Disney Is Buying Lucasfilm.

Disney adds ‘Star Wars’ to its galaxy
Disney’s big-bucks purchase of Lucasfilm gives it control of the blockbuster film franchise created by George Lucas. The media giant plans to exploit it through sequels, TV and theme parks.

George Lucas

George Lucas, shown in August 2010 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., has put together story treatments for three “Star Wars” sequels and is turning them over to Disney. (Walt Disney Co., Getty Images / August 15, 2010)

–By Ben Fritz and Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2012

Adding another marquee pop-culture property to its roster, Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $4.05 billion to acquire the company that controls the blockbuster “Star Wars” franchise — allowing Disney to exploit the brand through film, television, consumer products and theme parks.

With the purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd., Disney plans to churn out new “Star Wars” movies every two or three years beginning in 2015 with “Star Wars Episode 7,” Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said in conference call with analysts late Tuesday.

The acquisition surprised rival studios, especially 20th Century Fox, which has released all of the live-action “Star Wars” movies since the 1977 original. Executives at Fox and other studios said they weren’t even offered a chance to bid for Lucasfilm, the San Francisco company founded and owned by filmmaker George Lucas.

But it’s unlikely anyone else would have paid more than Disney, which can make use of “Star Wars” characters throughout its sprawling media and consumer empire, analysts said. Disney already has “Star Wars”-related attractions at four theme parks.

“No other company is as well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity as Disney is,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank.

The acquisition is another high-stakes gamble for Iger. Since taking the helm in 2005, he has transformed Disney from a company that developed and produced its intellectual property in-house to one that spends billions to buy popular characters. The Burbank company purchased Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 for $7.4 billion and Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion.

So far, the deals are paying off. Although Iger was criticized by some for overspending, the acquisitions have generated billions of dollars in revenue through such mega-hits as “Cars” and “The Avengers.” The studio’s track record outside of Pixar and Marvel has been mixed, marred by such box-office flops as “John Carter” and “Mars Needs Moms.”

“Nobody, not even George Lucas, can just go out and create another ‘Star Wars,'” Wunderlich Securities media analyst Matthew Harrigan said. “By the time Bob retires, I think people will be confident they’re going to see more consistent performance from Disney’s movie studio.”

Iger said that although Disney is also getting Lucasfilms’ well-regarded special effects and sound units, the deal was all about acquiring the “Star Wars” property.

“It makes sense not just because of our brand compatibility and the previous success that we’ve had together, but because Disney respects and understands probably better than just about anyone else the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively,” he said.

With the sale of his 41-year-old company and his previously announced retirement, Lucas will end three decades as the movie industry’s most powerful independent producer while simultaneously injecting new life into the fan-favorite “Star Wars” brand.

The seven “Star Wars” movies, including 2008’s animated “The Clone Wars,” have grossed $4.4 billion worldwide, making it the third-most-successful franchise ever at the box office, behind only “Harry Potter” and “James Bond.”

“I wanted to go on and do other things, things in philanthropy and doing more experimental kinds of films, but I couldn’t really drag my company into that,” Lucas said in a video released by Disney. “This will give me a chance to go off and explore my own interests and at the same time feel completely confident that Disney will take good care of the franchise I’ve built.”

At one time, Lucas said he had no intention of making new “Star Wars” movies. But in the last few months he has changed his mind, putting together story treatments for three movies that would take place chronologically after 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.” He is now turning those treatments over to Disney.

“I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life, so more people can enjoy them in the future,” Lucas said. “I get to be a fan now.”

The deal with Disney comes almost five months after Lucas named veteran producer Kathleen Kennedy co-chairman of his company as the first step in his retirement plan. Lucas had intended to remain chief executive and serve as Kennedy’s co-chairman for at least a year.

However, Lucas will not be a part of Disney once the sale is complete, except as one of its 10 largest shareholders, with an approximately 2% stake. Kennedy will remain and report to new movie studio Chairman Alan Horn, overseeing the “Star Wars” brand.

Few financial details are available on privately held Lucasfilm. Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said the purchase will dilute Disney earnings by “low single-digit percentage points” in its fiscal 2013 and 2014. But in fiscal 2015, when the next “Star Wars” movie is set to come out, he expects the acquisition to turn positive.

In 2005, the last year a “Star Wars” movie came out, Lucasfilm generated $550 million in operating income.

About 25% of Lucasfilm’s revenue last year came from its movie business and another 25% from consumer products, Rasulo said. The other half came from video games and postproduction services.

The latter category includes special effects house Industrial Light & Magic and sound company Skywalker Sound. Acquiring them will help Disney save money by doing expensive effects work in-house, rather than paying outside firms.

The sale must still be approved by regulatory authorities before it can close. Rasulo said Disney over the next two years will repurchase the shares that it issues to Lucas.

Iger said on the conference call that “Star Wars” sequels will be among the few original live-action movies that Disney is planning to release annually under Horn.

“We actually determined that we’d be better off as a company releasing a sequel to ‘Star Wars’ than probably most other not-yet-determined films,” Iger said. “This will take its place in our live-action strategy as an already-branded, already-known quantity.”

Disney will also take ownership of the Lucas-produced “Indiana Jones” franchise, although Iger did not indicate any plans to do more with the adventurous archaeologist.

Rasulo said Disney’s valuation of Lucasfilm is based entirely on what it hopes to make off “Star Wars.” Any additional opportunities, he added, “would provide upside to our base case.”

As the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm, Lucas will benefit enormously from the $4.05-billion acquisition. Forbes last month estimated his net worth at $3.3 billion.

Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Episode 7 Coming 2015

–by Jim Reilly on October 30, 2012, Gameinformer

Disney announced it acquired Lucasfilm in a stock and cash transaction worth $4.05 billion. As part of the announcement, Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” Lucasfilm CEO George Lucas said in a statement. “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.”

Roger Iger, chairman and CEO of Disneys, says fans can expect to see more Star Wars movies more often. ” In 2015, we’re planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the ‘Disney-Lucasfilm’ brand,” he said.

“That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.”

The deal has no immediate affect on any of the video game projects currently in development at Lucasfilm. “For the time being all projects are business as usual,” a spokesperson told Game Informer. “We are excited about all the possibilities that Disney brings.”

During today’s investor call to discuss the deal, Iger said Disney will likely focus on mobile and social games rather than console. “We’ll look opportunistically at console, most likely at licensing rather than publishing. But we think given the nature of these characters and how well known they are, they lend themselves quite nicely to the other platforms.”

[Source: Disney]

New Star Wars in 2015 as Disney buys Lucasfilm

New trilogy planned, with Star Wars films planned every 2 to 3 years
Words: Connor Sheridan on October 30, 2012, gamesrader

Disney is acquiring Lucasfilm (including LucasArts) and is targeting Star Wars Episode VII for release in 2015, the company announcedthis afternoon. After 35 years of independence, founder and CEO George Lucas is passing ultimate leadership of the Star Wars franchise and all the rest of the company’s properties to The Walt Disney Company.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” Lucas said in a statement. “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.”

Disney plans to start another trilogy with Episode VII, the company revealed in a post-announcement conference call. Episode VII is in early development, and Disney release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years, with Lucas as creative consultant.

The deal includes all of Lucasfilm’s portfolio, including Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, and as previously mentioned, LucasArts. Disney similarly acquired Marvel Comics in 2009 and Pixar in 2006. The worldwide company also owns television channels ABC and ESPN, among many other media entities.

Does this mean the next Kingdom Hearts will have a Grim Fandango Land of the Dead world? Probably not, but given this news anything is possible.

UPDATE: Disney plans to “focus more on mobile and social than we are on console” games, and will look more into licensing games than publishing them, according to the conference call. We’ve reached out to LucasArts on how this will impact its operations and will update this article with any response.

‘Star Wars’: Three new movies, Lucas won’t write or direct

— Oct. 30, 2012, LAtimes, Gina McIntyre

In an interview with The Times in 2008, George Lucas said that his personal connection to the “Star Wars” saga ended with the Ewoks on Endor.

“There really isn’t any story to tell there,” the filmmaker said at the time of prospects for his participation in the movie life of the franchise beyond the tale-concluding events in “Return of the Jedi.”

“I get asked all the time, ‘What happens after “Return of the Jedi”?,’ and there really is no answer for that,” Lucas continued. “The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that’s where that story ends.”

The Walt Disney Co. announced today that it’s agreed to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, and word quickly followed that there are plans in place for not one but three new “Star Wars” movies, the first of which will arrive in theaters in 2015. Lucas, however, will only serve as a “creative consultant” and will not write or direct.

“It’s true, I’m not going to do any more,” Lucas said today in a video released with the Disney Co. announcement of the deal, which will give Disney ownership of the “Star Wars” franchise and Lucas’ special effects, sound and animation companies.

In the video, Lucas said that he has story treatments for Episodes Seven, Eight and Nine in the space opera and that he was going to hand that “treasure trove” of intellectual property over to Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, who will serve as executive producer on the upcoming seventh live-action movie in the blockbuster franchise.

“We are absolutely going to make ‘Star Wars’ movies,” Kennedy said, using the plural, in the video.

George Lucas and Anthony Daniels, dressed as C-3PO, on the Tunisia set of “Star Wars” in 1976. (“The Cinema of George Lucas” by Marcus Hearn)

In June, Kennedy was named co-chair of Lucasfilm, which positioned her to take over the legendary San Francisco studio as its founder Lucas looked toward retirement.

Referring to Lucas as her Yoda, Kennedy in the video said she’s sitting down with writers now to talk about what those stories would look like.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said today that the long-range plan would be to release a new “Star Wars” film every two to three years.

“I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life, so more people can enjoy them in the future,” Lucas said in the video. “I get to be a fan now. I sort of look forward to it.”

So, who should take the creative reins on the “Star Wars” franchise? Leave your writer-director ideas in the comments section.

Twenty Stories That Will Absolutely Run The Week ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Is Released

In this Oct. 15, 2011 file photo, "Darth Vader" accepts the Ultimate Villain award from Star Wars creator George Lucas during the 2011 Scream Awards.

— NPR, Linda Holmes, 31 Oct 2012

Well, now that Lucasfilm is being bought by Disney and a new set of Star Wars films is allegedly on the way, there’s only one thing to do: look into the future and realize that we already know what a lot of the coverage will look like when the next film comes out in 2015.

1. Almost 40 Years After The Original, Four Generations Wait In Line. “Jeff Montgomery, 47, was just a boy when his father Ted, now 74, took him to see the original Star Wars. Now, he’s back with his own son, Chris, 26, and Chris’s new son Patrick, who, at a little over two years old, is a little young to appreciate Star Wars: Episode VII, but who’s going with the rest of the family anyway — right after his nap.”

2. Does Star Wars Still Matter? “In 1977, Star Wars set the cinematic world on fire. But that was before Indiana Jones, before Heath Ledger’s Joker, and before last year’s Robopocalypse and Tranformers 4. All these years later, can Star Wars penetrate with a new audience?”

3. The Hottest Women In The Star Wars Universe.

4. A Merchandising Bonanza: At Burger King, The Toy’s The Thing. Star Wars: Episode VII hasn’t opened yet, but you can already purchase hundreds of products made to promote it, from masks to make you look just like the new characters to beer steins to let you drink out of the heads of the old ones.”

5. The Real Trash Monster: How Much Star Wars Merch Will Wind Up In Landfills?

6. For The Men Behind The Original Star Wars Cantina, A Drink To TheFuture And A Toast To The Past.

7. Geeks Rule: This Time, We Really Mean It.

8. Ten Characters From Star Wars: Episode VII You Will See At Comic-Con.

9. A New Generation Of Star Wars Fans With A New Set Of References. “Steve Banks loves Star Wars, but when you ask him about his favorite character, you might be surprised. It’s not Han Solo or even Darth Vader — it’s Darth Maul. Banks is part of a new generation of Star Wars fans raised on the sequels and other offshoots of the Star Wars universe, not on the beloved original trilogy. And he insists he’s just as much of a fan as anyone.”

10. The Five Greatest Scenes In Star Wars History.

11. Ten Things That Are Better In The Prequels.

12. Twenty Dogs Dressed Up Like Star Wars Characters.

13. No, Really: Does Star Wars Still Matter?

14. A Galaxy Not So Far Away: For Star Wars, The Target Is The World. “The growing importance of international box office means that Star Wars isn’t just the great American pop-culture phenomenon: now, it belongs to the world.”

15. Beyond Princess Leia. “The Star Wars universe has always contained women — in fact, the toughest of pop-culture rebel princesses led the way from the start. What does the new film mean for women in Leia’s shadow?”

16. How Mickey Bought The Empire. “In this five-part series, we look at the rise of Disney as an international entertainment mega-ultra-super-conglomerate, and how its acquisitions of the Muppets, Marvel, and Lucasfilm have affected the bottom line and the brands in which it’s invested.”

17. Shut Up And Enjoy It. “The internet is full of people whining about how everybody is dumping on their childhoods, which is exactly what happened when the prequels came out. It’s time for people who call themselves passionate fans to get the [BLEEP] out of the way and stop trying to put their dead, bony fingers all over what their kids — sorry, their grandkids — are trying to enjoy.”

18. Ten Things To Do This Weekend Instead Of Seeing Star Wars: Episode VII. “Contrary to what the clamor of popular media would have you believe, you don’t actually have to see Star Wars this weekend. We’ve collected ten great family activities, from museum visits to reading aloud in a sunny patch of grass, that you can take part in instead.”

19. Bread And Circuses, Without The Bread. “It’s remarkable to witness the national frenzy over the release of a sequel to a nearly 40-year-old science-fiction trifle. Why, one must wonder, can we not whip up the same cultural frenzy to respond to our most serious global problems?”

20. Twenty Greatest “Yub Nub” Lipdubs.

The Force Is Strong With This One: Disney Buys Lucasfilm For $4B

In this handout image provided by Disney, Star Wars creator George Lucas has a playful lightsaber duel with Jedi Mickey Mouse at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Aug. 14, 2010. Disney announced Tuesday that it was buying Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion.

–NPR, 30 Oct 2012, Krishnadev Calamur

Fanboys and -girls, get ready to celebrate – or be disappointed: Disney announced Tuesday that it was buying Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4 billion, and continue the Star Wars franchise with the first of new series of films in 2015.

Here’s more from the news release issued by Disney:

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 founder George Lucas said the deal allows him a chance to pass the beloved Star Wars franchise 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,” he said. “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.”

Here’s more on the deal:

“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 Star Wars franchise began in 1977 with the release of A New Hope. Five movies followed: Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). Combined, the movies have grossed more than $4 billion worldwide. The films have inspired generations of moviegoers and spawned a devoted fan base.

Disney bought Marvel Entertainment, and its associated characters, for $4 billion in 2009. The studio has had mega-successes with movies such as The Avengers and Iron Man.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET More Details

In a conference call, Disney said the studio will also release episodes 8 and 9 of the franchise; Star Wars films will be released every two-three years.

Disney, which bought animation giant Pixar, the makers of Toy Story and Nemo, for $7.4 billion in 2006, also acquires Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones franchise, as well as its movie-effects business, including Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound.

“If Disney is really trying to focus on the tentpole, event pictures, and given that this is something that has huge carryover value in the parks and merchandise business, it certainly makes sense,” said Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities in Denver, told Bloomberg News. “This is just the paradigm of the sustainable Hollywood franchise.”

Update at 5:52 p.m. ET Lucas and Kennedy On Deal

There’s a video up with Lucas and Kennedy, who produced E.T., discussing the deal and the new movies.

Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Plans 2015 ‘Star Wars 7′

The-Walt-Disney-Company-Lucasfilm-150–by October 30, 2012 by Mercedes Milligan, animationmagazine.net

Big business news today as The Walt Disney Company announces it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.—including the popular Star Wars franchise—in a stock and cash transaction from 100% owner, chairman and founder George Lucas. Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock  on Oct. 26, the transaction value amounts to $4.05 billion with Disney paying half in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing.

“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 Lucas. “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 the studio including the Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live-action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects and audio post production; plus the substantial technology portfolios of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, ILM and Skywalker Sound.  Current co-chairman of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Kennedy will also serve as brand manager for Star Wars and exec produce new Star Wars films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode VII is targeted for a 2015 release, with the franchise expected to grow.

Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and George Lucas, chairman and founder, Lucasfilm sign the agreement for The Walt Disney Company to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.

Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, and George Lucas, chairman and founder, Lucasfilm sign the agreement for The Walt Disney Company to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd.

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12 comments on “Disney + Lucasfilms

  1. DarthKratos
    October 31, 2012

    I actually think this could be a good thing. Honestly, the Disney company is filled with geniuses. Look at Hannah Montana, no, we don’t all like it, but we don’t have to, it was the smartest thing a company could have done to reach out to its targeted demographic (getting a person with screen presence for pre-teen girls who could sell albums filled with songs that are basically advertised in the show)and while its a corporate ploy, it only worked because the targeted people liked it. And they’ve shown this ingenuity this in the way they handle the subsidiary companies like Marvel, Pixar, ABC, and ESPN as well. With this in mind, we can imagine them to handle Lucasfilm at least just as well (while giving them access to a lot more $$$). And since other people will be handling the franchise knowing the feelings of the target demographics and thinking “There’s a lot of pressure, I must respect the franchise for this to work” and not the overconfident creator/director view that makes Gungans, a metal called “unobtainium”, adds his own made up content to make three Hobbit movies, or puts Bane in a goatse mask. Plus, we can’t forget how well the Pirates of the Caribbean movies came out.

  2. Larry Brancato
    October 31, 2012

    If you look at what Disney has done with its last two major acquisitions they have taken a hands off approach. Letting Marvel do their thing and letting Pixar do their thing. Which has resulted in great movies coupled with great profits. Lucasfilm should be no different; it’s when Disney tries to do something their self (except for POTC) that they get into trouble.

  3. Dale
    October 31, 2012

    People forget that George Lucas did NOT direct “Empire” which really is the best of the six films and when you think about it, is the episode which inspires so much love of the whole cycle. It’s the only one that is unspoiled and the one that you can watch over and over again and not get bored or roll your eyes. But this was Irvin Kershner directing and written (again, not by Lucas) but by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote “Raiders” and “Body Heat” with William Hurt. So all the people today wonder how Lucas went off the rails with the second trilogy? But did he really have it to begin with? Stream “The Searchers” and “The Hidden Fortress” and then answer. Some guy on YouTube did a deconstruction of “Phantom Menace” years ago that called out how creatively bankrupt the prequels really were. All Disney is buying is a brand that generates a spike in toy sales every few years by tapping into the fond memories people have for “Empire Strikes Back” which is still the most-quoted and the most-revered of the bunch. George should someday acknowledge Irvin Kershner’s directing as it was what inspires so many people to smile when they think of the “Star Wars” universe even despite the meddling with “A New Hope” and three simply dreadful prequels.

  4. David
    October 31, 2012

    What is with all you naysayers out there? I am an original Star Wars fan having, seen it 7 times in the theater before the day of DVD and probably VHS (I can’t remember) when I was 1, paid for with hard earned cash from mowing lawns. I loved the entire 4-6 trilogy, loved 1, so so 2, hated 3 (and save my greatest disappointment with the casting for Anakin and the wooden performance of the usually stellar Natalie Portman) but would’ve seen any desk they put out if it had a tiny bit of the spark of the first movies. Disney may make many movies and is obviously motivated by cash but they won’t make movies no one will see and our motives are congruent with theirs. By hey have the means to keep the flame going. There are so many books and storyline already written, before and after the movies in timeline..so what if they make a ton of movies forever. That makes me happy. Whatever will be done will it change the legacy of the movie that changed the world and Hollywood forever. One can see them in their original anytime. Thanks Disney, I hope you make a ton of money (definitely some of mine) and great movies. My kids have loved them like their father before them, and hope my grandchildren will enjoy the series just as much as I did. Together, we can rule the galaxy!

  5. Eli Bildirici
    October 31, 2012

    ‘So Disney has all the Disney characters, all the Pixar characters, all the Marvel characters, and now all the Star Wars characters? ‘
    You forgot the Muppets.

    Lucas changes his story to the media often enough that it’s totally believable that he’s been working on a sequel trilogy. Of course, the idea he’s been prone to repeat from the late 90s on, that he had all 9 or even 12 of them outlined and chose to begin from ‘Episode 4’ due to technological restrictions, was and remains hogwash. (More in Michael Kaminski’s excellent book ‘The Secret History of Star Wars’, available at Amazon.) Now, that doesn’t rule out work on story treatments over the years. It could be that talks for the deal, which may have begun long before this announcement, spurred him to return to the story and create new material.
    My thoughts on the deal: I’m afraid LucasArts is going to move away from creating the epic console/PC games for which they are renowned. I’m worried that ‘Star Wars’ will be diluted by having a movie come out every three years in perpetuity. I don’t know if Disney will be as forgiving as Lucasfilm when it comes to making and distributing fanedits – Disney has a history of being much more litigious. Lucas is now the second or third largest shareholder at Disney, so it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing the theatrical versions of the original trilogy any time soon.
    That said, Disney may not mess up the sequel trilogy; they have a mixed track record recently but have done well with Marvel.

  6. David Marks
    October 31, 2012

    Lucasfilm has partnered with Disney’s parks for over 20 years on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones rides and related attractions. Since there’s a huge catalog of Star Wars canon material and as long as Lucas leaves the dialogue writing to someone else, I think it will be fine.

  7. Odddreams101
    October 31, 2012

    I’ve been into star wars since the theater re-releases in the mid 90s, when I was just a kid. I grew up on Disney as well. I’ve waited for star wars 7,8,9 since I was 7 years old, and through the vast amount of canon fiction now out there, I hope to see all of the adventures I’ve read about come to life on the big screen, with risks taken that only Disney would ever try.

    I’m not usually optimistic, but this DEFINES kid in the candy store right here.

  8. David Glenn
    October 31, 2012

    I think that things will work themselves out! Lucas has already had a good history with Disney and includes Star Wars and Indiana Jones themed rides and souvenir merchandise and I know now that the Star Wars side of at least will grow. I’m sure that LucasFilm will continue to show Clone Wars on Cartoon Network for the imitate future and Disney will ruffle as few feathers as possible. Disney realizes the fan base sensitivity to this brand and would like to see the enthusiasm to live on and grow.

  9. MadOnMadonna
    October 31, 2012

    Star Wars has indeed a vast galaxy where lot’s of stories can take place in. That much is true. But as Lucas said himself: ‘the story of Anakin Skywalker is finished’ so announcing new movies as “episodes VII, VIII & IX” is just wrong.

    • Geekernator21
      October 31, 2012

      Yes the story of Anakin Skywalker is finished, but what about the rest of the characters? Luke’s story continues well past the events in Return of the Jedi.

    • Solaxe
      October 31, 2012

      After he sold the rights he has nothing to say

  10. evenios
    October 31, 2012

    the thing is though rather then it be a huge suprise it would have been nice if he had said earlier that he was planning to have made the next 3 star wars movies instead of denying it for the past 10 or so years. In one interview he said that he didnt want someone else to make it because he felt Star Wars was “The life of darth vader and once he died that was it”. So a bit of conflicting info there. I just think Disney made him an offer that he coudnt refuse 🙂

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