Disney buys LucasFilm. New Star Wars movie coming - theme parks next?
Published: October 30, 2012 at 1:48 PM
Disney announced today that it will buy LucasFilm and its associated businesses from Star Wars creator George Lucas, for $4.05 billion in cash and Disney stock.
That gives Disney control not just of LucasFilm and its Star Wars franchise, but also of Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. ILM created last year's Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature, Rango, in addition to providing special effects on hundreds of other hit movies. Of course, Disney's bought a former Lucas outfit before. Let's not forget that Pixar started as a Lucas sideline, before Steve Jobs bought it.
In a statement, Lucas acknowledged that the deal means he's turning over control of the Star Wars franchise. (Foes of Jar Jar Binks cheer!) Check out this line (I added the emphasis):
"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's confirmed Star Wars, Episode 7 for release in 2015. (Whaaa? Less than three years? Have they been working on this?) Who knows what else might be in the works?
First Marvel and now Lucasfilms. I have to wonder if Disney's next target will be the one based on a smart-ass remark Michael Eisner once offered up at an informal meeting with a group of reporters in 2004: "Mergers and acquisitions? Oh yes, we're thinking of taking over Comcast."
The Force is definitely with Iger... the hits just keep on coming. The only franchise left: Lord of the Rings. Make it so.
Maybe get someone like Joss Whedon to write and direct SW EP 7 and ensure that George Lucas remains in a "Consultant Only" role. I am salivating at the potential of finally seeing a decent sequel to the classic 1977 film!
Most importantly, set the Imagineers free! Star Wars Land here we come!
Lucas has finally admitted on the interview posted on You Tube that he did storyline the plots for Episodes VII, VIII and IX (he denied it at the time Sith was released) so the new films will be based on those. There were rumours last year that new Star Wars films were being worked on but Lucasfilm swiftly denied them.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if work started then and the negotiations with Disney began at the same time too. That's certainly what Kathleen Kennedy implies in the same interview video and Lucas says this has been in the planning for some time. Surely that means Mark Hamill will be back as an older Luke teaching the younger Jedi (he's mentioned that this was part of the outlines for the future trilogy for years)
With regards to the potential of the theme parks, I'm betting Disney will soon be expanding Hollywood Studios with a revamped and bigger Star Wars area (perhaps the whole backlot will make way for this??) and so something similar to what Universal did with Harry Potter at IOA. I doubt it'll get it's own park to itself but who knows??
Also I seriously doubt the Avatar land will now go ahead at AK now that Disney have got the Holy Grail of Movie franchies!! Who needs big blue smurfs when you've got Jedi and Sith ;o)
Disney/Lucasfilm also confirmed this evening that they currently have no plans for further Indiana Jones movies (which puts paid to the rumours about Indy 5) but despite that I hope they have some plans for at least a Indy ride in HS Orlando.
Disney & Universal continue their duel (to the death?). New Fantasyland opening countered by Universal Nov. 1 announcement, in turn countered by Disney Oct. 30th Lucas announcement. The next 10 years is going to be great for theme park fans as the two behemouths vie for theme park market share. Hopefully a Star Wars land will now come to fruition in Hollywood Studios. It makes sense to nearly everyone, so Disney now has no excuses to not do it. Before Universal's Harry Potter there was little new for the previous decade. Now the floodgates are opened. Even Sea World is being fresh & innovative.
If there is any property Disney could bring into the parks to compete with Harry Potter, it's Star Wars. I wouldn't be surprised to see new attractions themed to Star Wars appearing at all the resorts, although I do hope Disney doesn't overdo it like Universal is getting close to doing with Harry Potter.
As for new movies, yay! The original Star Wars trilogy is one of my favorite movie series of all time, and I could definitely see Disney getting close to the quality of these. As long as they're all at least on the level of Revenge of the Sith (the only good prequel in my opinion), I'll be happy.
I'm hopeful that Hollywood Studios will finally expand not only Pixar Place, but now Star Wars land. There is not a lot of space to expand the park, based on Google Maps, but the Backlot Tour and Lights Motors Action are really unnecessary and would be much better served by being transformed into larger SW and PP lands.
As much as I'd love to see Disney create a brand new park, I really would prefer that they invest in remaking Hollywood Studios.
I think Lego will continue the license as Universal and Lego do continue the Marvel license. But I guess Universal will tell us tommorrow that they will stop that and change Mavel Island into something even more fun.
There are still a ton of questions to be answered. Book rights are currently contracted to Del Ray and toy rights are with Hasbro. Will these continue? In general the merchandising and side publications are a vast portion of the Lucas Empire. It will be interesting to see all of that sort out.
Aside from Spidey, Marvel Island is a wash now so it wouldn't be too hard to improve on it It feels like a Six Flags park and the rides are about on par with that. I would love to see them give up the rights to Disney. I think Disney has shown investment in the property rather than just dressing for a couple off the rack rides.
There is no downside to this. More, and probably better movies, more and really awesome theme park lands and attractions. So there should be no more complaining about Disney not stepping up the the plate with Universal.
I'm resonably sure we can forget Carsland coming to DHS. However, from my friends and sources in the company, DHS is getting really rearranged to make way for a whole Star Wars land, including moving the parking lot, main gate and surrounding roads.
"Also I seriously doubt the Avatar land will now go ahead at AK now that Disney have got the Holy Grail of Movie franchies!!"
What are you smoking?
No, this means Avatar will one day be owned by Disney. Besides, Star Wars is more likely to fill out at the Studios park with a Star Wars Land. Avatar is still needed at Animal Kingdom.
Published: October 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Skipper says So there should be no more complaining about Disney not stepping up the the plate with Universal. I didn't here anyone anywhere at Disney mention anything about Disney theme park expansion that would come close to the expansion at Universal. There is alot of fantasy in Disney actually building these pie in the sky projects but there history proves otherwise. If SW 7 flops, then doubt they will consider any expansion into the parks, other than a themed restraunt and more gift shops.
I am so torn on this, really really torn. Don't get me wrong, I love Disney, and I love Star Wars. But, just like I was skeptical about the Disney/Marvel deal, I am skeptical about this.
My main issue stems from my main issue with the prequels. Those movies, which should have been a lot better, ended up being WAY too kiddy, with ridiculous additions like Jar Jar Binks. The main question I have is, will Disney actually stop episode VII from being too kiddy?
Now, I know people will say they did not ruin Marvel (in fact, they did a wonderful job at keeping their hands out.) And I hope they do that, all while keeping Lucas at arms length during the production of the new movies.
However, two things I am 90% positive this means. 1 - Disney will expand the Star Wars attractions at their parks (FINALLY!) 2 - Disney will not 'break the bank' to try to get the Marvel theme park rights back from Universal. Why should they, when they have something FAR more profitable?
Why would anyone think Disney would be more bold with it's rides than Universal? No history of that at all. The best thing that comes out of this is the win / win situation here in Orlando for park guest of ALL the parks. Except for the inevitable LARGE price increases
Published: October 31, 2012 at 1:45 PM
Okay her name escapes me right now, but didn't that one head imagineer lady that did Carsland make her new home at Walt Disney World.... mmmmmmmm Maybe that and the LucasFilm land have something to do with eachother.... we shall see... all I know is that the D23 expo for next year us sure looking pretty gosh darn good.
Tim, the good thing about the new movies is that Disney has the creative license to find & choose any director they like, & improve the quality.
Online, votes for everyone from JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon, Brad Bird, Ben Affleck to newcomers like Josh Trank & Justin Lin are being tossed out.
Disney (as well as everyone else) is well aware of how the prequels are perceived. Obviously, as this is now their biggest franchise, I'm sure they know that movie #7 needs to be a huge success (financially, I'm sure it will be), but being critically successful is equally as important to silence that throngs of fans who are against this (already there's a large amount of sw fans who are against this)
Technically, if the movie is considered better than the phantom menace, they are already n the right track.
The fact the Lucas will still be a consultant means it's not going to go completely off the rails, but by having a good screenplay & new director, it's all good
I don't think Disney really thinks that Indy has no value, it is just they are putting all their effort behind SW at the moment because that is the cash cow. I fully expect to see some type of reboot to this franchise in the future, just not right away.
^Agreed. With competition it is the theme park fans who win.
As for the next Star Wars film... Whedon is too busy with Avengers 2, but Brad Bird would work. For the "darker" Empire-like eighth movie, go with someone like David Fincher, who can make a SW movie that has the potential to leave scars, and finish it all off with Whedon for the triumphant ninth blockbuster. You get those three, and that will be all she wrote. Lucas can die a happy man knowing his franchise has been righted, and the long term outlook for Disney's latest cash cow will be "out of this world" good!
Ugh...not exactly, TH, but since you mentioned a nutty hospital, I believe a Disney Channel STAR WARS (SW) spin off series about the madcap adventures at an orbiting medical outpost would indeed work. Just imagine the mirth filled moments as twin medical droids reattach limbs and heal burns related to lightsaber duels, exploding space stations, and other zany Jedi adventures! Think M*A*S*H meets Doogie Howser, with Pair of Kings thrown in for yucks. Rather than DAVID Fincher, though, a better choice for such youth-oriented adventures would be Chris Columbus, the only director who was able to really capture the charm of the children's books that saved IOA.
I think we have a winner on our hands, TH! Have your people call my people and let's ship this baby off to Hollywood!
Not overly sure I get all the excitment. Star Wars sold out years ago I even saw Yoda selling phones for Vodafone a few moths ago. Lucas has flogged the brand to death while it still means alot to those who remember the original movies for all those below 30 its a saturday moning cartoon and a few ok movies. Im also not sure if Disney are the right people to bring it back to where it deserves to be yes Avengers was amazing but what about John Carter ??? Also as to a Disney Star Wars Land well they could have done that for years and havent. Its obvious they need a franchise to compete with HP and I think the msg that Avatar was not it may have sunk in also for all those dreaming of eating in the Cantina with Disney making new movies any new rides or eating areas built will be from the new films not the original three. Still I would love to go to a Star Wars Land and it would bring me back to Disney it would be great to see. But the big problem for me is it wont hold its integrity like HP and the wizarding world has done. You will see Micky dressed as a jedi the droids will have mouse ears and their will need to be a new princess so Disney can sell things to little girls... I hope its brilliant but the sceptic in me will just end up feeling a little bit sick walking through a Star Wars land looking at kids in Droid/Mouse ears...
Because prancing around in designer robes, swishing $30 wands, giggling over singing frogs, dancing with Beauxbatons, cooing at animatronic owls, affectionately gawking at a hippogriff, and chanting "avada kedavra" is the height of adult coolness, right?
N B, Star Wars Land (or Lucasfilm Studios) will be the Potter killer. Don't underestimate the mouse's power! As for who will direct VII, like I said yesterday Steven Spielberg would be the perfect choice considering George is his friend, he tried to direct the prequels, and he knows sci-fi. If not him, Brad Bird would be the second best option.
No killing allowed. Theme park fans need lively competition if they want continued improvement. It should never be "either/or" when it comes to Disney and Universal. The world is a better place when both chains succeed.
Ahh, I struck a nerve. Cool. To be honest, I actually like that photo… (the real one, not the photo shopped version).
You should understand that there is nothing wrong with a company trying to appeal to the kid in all of us. Disney makes billions of dollars in profit doing it, and Universal makes millions copying the same formula. However, you are fooling yourself if you think Potter Land is anything other than an elaborate playground designed for eight to twelve year-olds and adults who like reading kids’ books. That’s why old theme park fogies like to say we’re “young at heart”!
I have no issue with Universal appealing to the kid in all of us - in fact I love that they are family oriented like Disney - but don't try to pull that "Disney is for kids, Universal is for ADULTS" crap here.
James if anyone struck a nerve it was obviously my comments about Disney Im sorry I dont worship at the alter of the eared one. However I really dont understand the Universal for adults Disney for kids comment from you as I did not say that seems like a bit of a pent up rant on your part !!.I did say Disney will try to aim the product at Kids which they no doubt will or do you think that the Disney Pirates and Princesses and Bippity Boppity Boutique are aimed at Adults ??? The majority of Disney merchandise is aimed at Kids
Also it seems you have quite an immature attitude to anyone who disagrees with you again sorry if you dont like Harry Potter or feel that noting should be compared to Disney (thats your problem) .
The point I made was that Universal have tried to aim for as much immersion as possible in what after all is a fake world. You are one of the many exponents of Disney theming and storytelling so I would have assumed that you would have understood the point I was trying to make I have no problem with kids playing with light sabers and dressed as star wars charcters I simply dont like the fact that you cant hide from the fact that your in Disney no matter the themeing of the ride or land and I feel this cheapens the Land/Ride/Experiece. I used the Wizarding World as an exaple of this at no point did I compare Star Wars to Harry Potter or say one was better (So dont get your knickers in a knot)
Sorry to have rattled your cage but honestly other people are allowed to have opinions other the your own... Ps I lke the I like all theme parks line was very good but your little rant about Harry Potter kinda shows you up !!
Fair enough. Obviously, I misconstrued your comments as negative ones. However, based on your latest response I must admit you are both a Disney AND (capitalized for emphasis) a Universal fan and therefore announcements of this nature (Disney buying Star Wars) can only be interpreted as GREAT NEWS (again for emphasis) by a theme park fan like you.
Despite my acquiescence, I will continue stand by my assertion that all the Orlando-based theme parks are kid/youth-oriented. No, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is not geared to appeal to adults, it is geared to appeal to families and those who are young at heart. Just as Harry Potter is geared towards families and the young at heart. Which has been my point all along. Picking on Disney for targeting this demographic is a silly argument when all the parks do it. Furthermore, the most adult park in the region is Epcot, and last I checked it was a Disney property.
Regardless, I appreciate your enthusiasm and your opinion. Thank you for taking the time to clarify your position to one as dense and immature as me.
PS If you truly believe my statement about being a "theme park fan" is a lie, then you haven't been reading my posts. I will let my record speak for itself on this point.
Published: November 1, 2012 at 10:49 AM
SW 7 possibly being a flop comment response. Just maybe if the facts were looked at then one can see the risk of SW flopping. Especially a 8 or 9 will depend heavily on the success of 7. Fact disney has not been successful with sci-fi. Lucasfilm said no for a reason. If the movie was making avatar money he would have kept the series alive. Fact episode 1 did theatrically grossed nearly half a billion -with 2 and 3 did over 300 million each, a considerable drop. SW clone, 35 million gross. Like Jurassic 3, grossed 200 million and was a clear financial flop. Not denying the franchise has value, but more movies doesn't guarantee a profit. And if 7 flops financially, theme park expansion plans would likely also fizzle.
The fact is that we are talking about a $4.5B movie franchise that has not had a new feature length, live action film since 2005. Disney could put out a film called Star Wars Episode 7: The Jawa Laundry List and it would make $500M worldwide.
But, yes, I get your point, if the franchise that somehow survived the drek that is Return of the Jedi and Phantom Menace produces another stinker along those same lines, it could have a detrimental impact to Disney's future plans. Which is why I am sure every care will be given to making the next film the best one since 1977.
(Incidentally, Episode 3 did $850M worldwide, which was a step up from Episode Two's $660M - in other words the franchise is trending up. Also, all six films turned a sizable profit as the highest budget among them was $115M for episode 3.)
HI James,thanks for your response yes I agree we both love theme parks and to be fair we both have our views Ill be honest I prefer Universal buts thats a personal thing its no reflection on what Disney do.
However I am a huge Star Wars fan and dancing Storm Troopers,Wookies,Darth Vader etc ala the Re opening of Star Tours drives me mad and makes me worry what Dsney will do with the franchise also givin that Star Tours is all Disey did with the amount of material they had on hand with the Star Wars Universe I do genuinly worry as to what they will do with the land or the franchise.
My fear as you pointed out is another flop movie I hope they go back to what works with the origional three but my fear is that they wont or will attempt to re imagine the franchise altogether going down a darker route ala Batman type remould.
I have no propblem with you having your opinion and will prob disagree with you in the future but thats what this site is about.
One of the reasons that I worry is Pixar their first full movie under Disney control is Brave a film that gives us a new Princess thats not Pixars style its Disneys !!
Then again Im delighted that creative control has been taken from Lucas before he tried to drive any more nails into the Star Wars franchise.
Still I will be in the cinema next week to see Wreck It Ralph which looks like it could be the first really good Disney animated film for a decade so fingers crossed I also think it might lead to a franchise that could generate a seriously cool ride and alot of people looking for a Nintendo land this could at least give them a ride with the Nintendo characters involved
I would have never guessed you preferred Universal! =) Me, the park I like best is the one I am visiting at the time! Overall, I think Disney is better at whole park experiences, and Universal is better at individual attractions. Spider-Man is my favorite theme park ride of all time, but Epcot is my favorite park.
The more family-oriented activities Disney does with Star Wars in the parks (SW Weekends, the dancing, costumes, etc) really should not impact any future movies. Once a director is put in place it will be his/her vision that sets the tone for the film. Just hope Disney does a good job selecting the director and everything should be fine. And in all fairness, Disney has really done a great job with the Marvel films since they took over, so I wouldn't worry about Star Wars - it will receive the best talent from a pool of great people.
To your other point about the tone of the films, I also worry about the darker tone of the Nolan Batman films (which I personally do not like) influencing future choices. However, the huge success of the Avengers (which soundly bested the most recent and worst Batman flick) with its lighter, hipper tone, should set a good precedent for Disney going forward (although the teaser for Iron Man 3 looks a bit darker than previous films - I hope I am wrong).
None of the Star Wars films have been flops. Even the Clone Wars cartoon (a pretty bad effort that set up a pretty good TV series) made a profit. So, I do think worries about anything Star Wars related flopping are a bit unnecessary. Sure, it could happen, but the movie would really have to be God-awful (far worse than Episode 3 or Episode 1).
I liked Brave - a lot. And I thought Merida, like Rapunzel and Tiana, was quite different from previous Disney princesses. She was definitely more independent, assertive, and aggressive. But, I have no issue with Disney Princesses... by and large they are good role models, and they are HOT! =)
I totally agree with you that Disney wresting control of the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas is a good thing. He had the vision, but should have let other people flesh out the details. He can still be visionary in a consultant role, but now top notch directors will be making the key decisions. The end result: no more Jar Jar, no more Ewoks, fewer or no Muppets (my greatest fear is Disney wanting to add MORE Muppets to Star Wars - ugh!), and grander stories in much bigger universes that span many great characters not just a select few (Luke, Han, Leia).
I hope to check out Wreck-It Ralph tomorrow. I am more of a Sports simulation video gamer (NCAA College Football on my PS3 just flat out rules) than a platformer or first person shooter, but I look forward to the flick nonetheless. Plus I am sure my Nintendo loving kids will think it is the best thing since.... Revenge of the Sith! =)