Disney plans to bring not just one but three new Star Wars films to the big screen, and the companies “have a pretty extensive treatment of the next three movies,” chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a conference call announcing its deal to acquire Lucasfilm. “Episode 7 will be released in 2015, the first under the Disney/Lucas banner,” he said, with Episode 8 and Episode 9 to follow. Disney plans to release a new Star Wars movie “every two to three years.” Disney also intends to pursue the Star Wars brand in their parks, with games and, “other initiatives,” CFO Jay Rasulo said. “Being that there hasn’t been a Star Wars film since 2005, a lot of the value we attribute to the deal is to come, added Rasulo. “This gives us a great footprint in the consumer market, and we already had a good one,” said Iger of the licensing possibilities that the Star Wars franchise could represent for Disney.
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“We love the fact that this will take its place in our live-action strategy as a known and loved brand,” said Iger of his newest property. “We really like Star Wars’ potential on TV, and Disney XD would be a great home for that.” He did not provide any more details about future Stars Wars TV shows. He added that that the deal “combines two of the strongest family entertainment brands in the world.”
Disney announced today that it would be purchasing LucasFilms for $4.05 billion. Half the consideration is in cash; the other half is in issuing approximately 40 million shares based on the company’s October 26 stock price. The company said it intends to buy back all the shares in the next two years. This purchase includes rights to the entire Star Wars franchise, Industrial Light + Magic and LucasSound. Unlike Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Marvel in 2009, this deal comes with few limitations on the company’s use of the purchased properties like the Star Wars characters. “There are some encumbrances with the first Stars Wars films with Fox and some encumbrances with Indiana Jones with Paramount,” said Rasulo. Iger said that, while he “loves the franchise,” the Indiana Jones films were not a big factor in the deal because of Paramount’s rights to the franchise. Fox has no future distribution rights to any further Star Wars films, the execs said.
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