Five years ago today, October 30, 2012, the Walt Disney Company announced it would purchase Lucasfilm (including Star Wars) for $4.05 billion. The transaction was approved by the Federal Trade Commission on December 4, 2012 and the company was reincorporated to become Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC on December 8, 2012. By December 21, 2012 the Lucasfilm purchase was complete.
George Lucas was considering retirement and selling his company and Bob Igur grabbed it up. Mr. Lucas was given some of the purchase price in cash and then 40 million Disney shares. This made him the “second-largest-non-institutional shareholder of Disney.” The first was the trust of Steve Jobs.
Initially Mr. Lucas was supposed to kept on as a consultant, but that didn’t go so well. He eventually went public claiming he was cut out and even quoted as saying he sold Lucasfilm to “white slavers.”
Originally the plan for Star Wars was a movie every two-three years, but they have since changed that to movies pretty much every year, with the spin-offs (that’s fine with me.) Between the films and the massive theme park tie ins, Disney did not lose money on this deal.
What happened after Disney purchased Lucasfilm?
In order to begin recouping their investment Disney immediately began re-branding and co-branding products with the Disney name. They started with Star Wars Rebels in early 2013.
Then in April of 2013, the development team of the LucasArts gaming was shut down and most of the staff was let go, but a handful of employees were kept to keep a game licensing status.
In December 2013, Walt Disney Studios purchased the distribution and marketing rights to future Indiana Jones films from Paramount Pictures. The distribution rights for the original four films remain with Paramount.
20th Century Fox has the physical distribution rights to the original two Star Wars trilogies and they own permanent distribution rights to the original film (Episode 4). They have the theatrical and home video rights of the prequels, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi until 2020.
In early 2014 they pulled the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse and sent them to Marvel, and now some are done through IDW. They also announced that the Star Wars expanded universe was no longer cannon and only stories they put out through approved channels would be considered cannon. This didn’t go over well with a lot of people.
The good news is we have gotten new films out of it including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rogue One, and the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December and Solo: A Star Wars Story next May.
To top it all off the Disneyland and Hollywood Studios theme parks will be getting new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge additions in 2019.
There have been some down sides, but the Disney ownership has led, and will lead, to a legacy for Lucasfilm that will last for a long time!
What do you think? Comment and let us know![Sources: USA Today, Wikipedia, Business Insider]
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