Disney Acquire Lucasfilm

November 6, 2012 10:00 am

Not so long ago, in a galaxy quite close to home…

The Walt Disney Company yesterday announced that they had agreed a deal to purchase Lucasfilm from its Chairman and Founder, George Lucas, for the hefty price of $4.05 billion. The terms of the deal mean that Disney will be handing the Star Wars creator approximately half of the money in cash, making up the rest with 40 million shares in their company.

The deal delivers Disney an impressive portfolio of brands, including Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts and Skywalker Sound – but the real prize is the rights to the Star Wars franchise. Star Wars is one of the greatest entertainment franchises of all time, with a host of movies, television shows and merchandise, as well as some of the world’s most devoted fans. And Disney is set to take full advantage of this moneymaking machine.

The entertainment giant stated that they intend to create a new suite of Star Wars movies, following on from Lucas’ original trilogy (4: A New Hope, 5: The Empire Strikes Back and 6: Return of the Jedi). Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for a 2015 release date, with Disney hoping that this will be just the first of many new films from a galaxy far, far away.

This deal may take many fans by surprise, but in some ways it was inevitable. Disney has been reaping great financial success from another recent acquisition, Marvel Entertainment, which has become the world’s highest-grossing movie franchise, with huge blockbusters such as this summer’s The Avengers. This move opened up a whole new demographic to Disney, appealing to young males and fanboys eager to see the latest superhero film or buy the latest merchandise. Disney has always enjoyed a close relationship with Star Wars, featuring content from the franchise in their popular theme parks in Orlando, Anaheim, Paris and Tokyo. Acquiring the rights to the franchise cements Disney’s appeal to male audiences previously uninterested in a company famed for its princesses.

George Lucas

But the news of further Star Wars films may not be music to everyone’s ears. Diehard fans of the original trilogy were not shy to voice their disappointment at George Lucas’ prequel trilogy (1: The Phantom Menace, 2: Attack of the Clones and 3: Revenge of the Sith), seeing it as a betrayal of the originals. Star Wars fans’ hatred of the newer movies is regularly referenced in popular culture, with certain aspects (such as the ill-fated Jar Jar Binks) becoming the subject of regular jokes. For these fans, the thought of further movies brings the worry that things can only get worse for their beloved Star Wars.

However, the prequel trilogy, spin-off television show and merchandise found spectacular success amongst younger audiences, and these fans are likely to be ecstatic at the prospect of further films. With such a huge fanbase eagerly anticipating its release, Star Wars Episode 7 is likely to bring Disney the same success that they found with Marvel – regardless of the feelings of the original fans.

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