Disney acquires Lucasfilm for US$4bn – Star Wars: Episode 7 in production

31 Oct 2012

Robert A Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney, with George Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm

Digital entertainment giant Disney has acquired Lucasfilm for US$4bn in a deal that includes all of the company’s subsidiaries, including Lucasfilm Animation and its video games arm LucasArts. It has also been revealed that a new Star Wars movie is in production.

Legendary Hollywood producer George Lucas started the Lucasfilm organisation in 1971 and the company is behind such greats as the Star Wars franchise and the Indiana Jones franchise.

Disney has acquired Lucasfilm in a cash and stock transaction valued at US$4.05bn.

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm.

“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organisation, 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,” Lucas said.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production.

Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, California, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kennedy, current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Additionally, she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximise the value of this global franchise.

Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with Lucas serving as creative consultant.

And now the big new for all you Star Wars geeks: Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years