What the @$%?! Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas

Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 4:37 PM

LOS ANGELES — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind “Star Wars,” from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It’s also making a seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series called “Episode 7,” set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.


11 Responses

  1. Just the final nail in the coffin. I still have the VHS versions where Han shot first.


  2. Laserdisc.


  3. I still have the VHS versions where Han shot first.

    I’m doubly sad. First off, I have the VHS versions too. Secondly, I knew immediately what you were talking about … why do I still have that stuff rolling around in my brain?


  4. I’m just glad to know that you guys are geekier than I am. . .


  5. I think my favorite response was “when you wish upon a death star.”


  6. This is exciting. Not as exciting as an announcement for Tron 3, which may never happen, but definitely exciting. Very excited that they are going to make Star Wars 7, and I’m guessing that Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will at least have cameos. Harrison Ford has made no secret of his hating Star Wars, and never wanting to have anything to do with anything Star Wars again, but he might be convinced to do a little cameo work—especially if they killed of Han Solo in the 1st movie.

    I haven’t been watching Clone Wars, but after a rough start (apparently) the word is that it’s a very good series, and generally Star Wars fans like it better than the prequels. Star Wars was a good and innovative film, but it’s Empire and ROTJ that helped cement it as a permanent cultural icon, and different folks directed those. Having other people play in the Star Wars sandbox may turn out to be very, very positive. Certainly, having someone else direct, and edit: Hayden Christensen suggest that Lucas chose what he considered the worse takes, and gave the actors no clue as to their motivations, and so on . . . a good director could do wonders in the Star Wars universe. I mean, Sam Jackson’s performance is underwhelming in the prequels, and it takes a special director to get a wooden performance out of Sam Jackson.

    On the entertainment sites, there is a lot of begging for the OT (Original Trilogy) on Blue Ray, in the original format. The problem is, no pure version of the original trilogy exists—the closest are NTSC DVD versions, I think, and even those were taken from prints of the the original film, rather than the original negative. This is because Lucas—not exactly a purist when it comes to original negatives—did all the inserts for the expanded additions right onto the original negative. So, now, even the original negative has Greedo shooting first. The original negative for the original footage for much of that stuff is apparently gone, or filed somewhere, or something . . . in any case, releasing the original movies on Blu Ray is a complicated proposition, and may not happen. Could be done, but much of it would have to be done from prints, which are now old and discolored, and so would have to be touched up and color corrected. Restoring original audio is a much simpler proposition. Whether or not Disney is going to see the market for the original cuts to be large enough to merit such an effort is another question.

    But on the whole: this is the most exciting thing that’s happened in a long time, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a big Star Wars fan, and big Indiana Jones fan, and a big Disney fan (I love Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye ride out in Disneyland). Disney has some great opportunities to make some solid Star Wars movies, make their 4 billion investment back a dozen times over, and do some interesting stuff in television and in their theme parks. And, unlike the Marvel deal (for which they also paid 4 billion), there are fewer complicate licensing deals. Right now, Disney can’t put Marvel themed attractions at their parks, because Universal holds the rights. They can’t make any movies with the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, or the X-Men, because other companies hold those rights (and the same was true with Daredevil, until Fox killed a reboot movie, and the rights reverted back to Marvel/Disney).

    With Star Wars, nobody else has rights to the films, not even distribution rights (like Paramount has with the Marvel films currently). Fox’s deal for distribution ended with Return of the Sith. There are a few rights issues, but not nearly as many, so Disney can start leveraging Star Wars and Indiana Jones in all sorts of ways, right away.

    A very good move for Disney, I’m betting. And I can’t wait to see the first (new) movie.


    • make their 4 billion investment back a dozen times over

      Too good to be true, IMHO. Kev, you cannot spend enough on the expanded Star Wars library to make this happen. Michael Jackson only paid $30M for the Beatles’ copyrights, and look what it got him. See?


  7. “So, now, even the original negative has Greedo shooting first.”

    Fuck me. Really? I just died a little inside.


  8. yello, you need to get that VHS copied onto a DVD or something and then put the tape in a safe deposit box. Think how much it’s worth now!


  9. @markinaustin: “Michael Jackson only paid $30M for the Beatles’ copyrights, and look what it got him. See?”

    Well, Michael did not deploy the assets he purchased very effectively, that’s one thing. I don’t think a record company holding similar copyrights would have made the same decisions. But also, Michael couldn’t make new Beatles songs. Disney can produce new Star Wars films. Disney spent 4 billion on Marvel, and is well on the way to paying off that investment, and even the films they don’t distribute or own directly, like Spiderman and X-Men, profit them.

    Star Wars as it stood, without new films, was producing something upwards of $400 million a year in profits (merchandising, Clone Wars, expanded universe, DVD and digital sales, games, other licenses, etc). Avengers world wide gross was $1.5 billion dollars. Revenge of the Sith did $848 million back in 2005. 3 movies with that kind of performance would be worth $1.5 billion, + another $500 million or more in related merchandising. Plus, they got ILM and Skywalker Sound and Lucasarts and a few other things that produce money. It’s going to be hard work to make that investment pay off, but I think it will.

    Disney’s track record with expensive purchases is very good, too. Pixar and Marvel were both very expensive deals, and Pixar had already paid for itself, and Marvel is well on they way. After Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 and Captain America 2 and related merchandising, chances are that 4 billion will more than have paid for itself.

    In the case of Star Wars, Disney also can start integrating Star Wars into the theme parks right away, something they can’t do with Marvel. Plus I think there’s still money to be made off of Indiana Jones, either via reboot or a 5th movie. I think reboot is the better bet: back to fighting Nazis.

    @novahockey: “Fuck me. Really? I just died a little inside.”

    Yup. There is some debate as to whether the original footage, snipped from the movies, even exists, though Lucasfilm has a reputation for keeping elaborate archives, so it seems unlikely that the actual footage is gone forever. However, Lucas still has the right, apparently, to the final cut of the first 6 movies, and he really doesn’t like the older version, so it seems unlikely that we’ll see Blu Rays of the OT before he passes on.

    And the original theatrical release is available on DVD:


    My understanding is that the DVD version is from the master for the VHS, so it’s the same pan & scan or letter box or whatever edition that was. It wasn’t remastered from negative for DVD.


  10. And the original theatrical release is available on DVD

    Even sadder, I have the DVD box set as well as the VHS versions.


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