Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“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 Chief Executive Officer 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 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.”
Speaking later on the topic, Lucas confirmed his pending retirement noting that hiring Kennedy was only the first step and that with her, he had developed the remaining portion of the third Star Wars trilogy as well as enough material ‘for a hundred years.’ The final step in his retirement was to find a caretaker for the company, which he found in The Walt Disney Company. Lucas’ plan is to engage in philanthropy, experimental films and other activities he felt he could not take Lucasfilm through.
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, 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.
Kathleen 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 maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. 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.
The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.
Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm’s legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world’s top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney’s strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.
The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney’s very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company’s unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney’s portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company’s ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world’s highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.
The heart-tugging, original feel-good series, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” returns to ABC with four special holiday-themed episodes. The first episode will premiere Monday, November 26 at 9:01 pm ET, immediately following the ‘Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars’ Performance Finale on the ABC Television Network. The remaining three episodes will air on the following three Mondays, December 3, December 10 and December 17.
Guest host Jenny McCarthy visits the Watson Family of Knoxville, TN in a special Thanksgiving-themed show. The Watson family has adopted children and runs a home for single mothers in need called Restoration House. The episode features a visit to the ‘Wipeout’ set and an appearance by UFC Champion fighter Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
In a special Christmas-themed episode on Monday, December 3 at 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET, host Ty Pennington visits the Zdroj Family of Smithville, TX. Mizzy Zdroj is a female firefighter volunteer whose own home was destroyed by the largest wildfire in Texas history. The episode features an appearance by BMX biker Matt Hoffman, Chef Art Smith and some special guests from Star Wars.
On Monday, December 10 at 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET, host Ty Pennington brings a special holiday surprise the Friday family of Lincolnton, NC. The Fridays have been foster parents to more than 30 children, including adopting a family of five siblings. The episode features an appearance by racecar driver Michael Waltrip, the NBA Charlotte Bobcats’ female dance troupe, and even The Grinch shows up to help with the build.
And on Monday, December 17 at 8:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET, host Ty Pennington and the team of designers visit the Harris family of Smithville, TX for a Christmas-themed wounded veteran episode. While on patrol in Iraq, Shilo Harris was wounded by a massive IED blast. Shilo now fights for other wounded warriors to find jobs and emotional support upon their return to civilian life. The episode features appearances by J.R. Martinez (‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘All My Children’) and Country Music superstar Lee Greenwood, who performs ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’
‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ which aired for nine seasons on ABC, transformed the lives of thousands of deserving families and galvanized communities and businesses to help their neighbors in need. “EM:HE” also put a spotlight on causes that touched these families, ranging from the treatment of serious illnesses or accident victims and the importance of foster care & adoption, to helping veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and the plight of the homeless, to campaigning against texting while driving and building coalitions to end bullying. Celebrities including First Lady Michelle Obama, Elton John, Robin Williams, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Glenn Close, Tyler Perry, Mary J Blige, Carrie Underwood, David Duchovny, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Usher, KISS, Rihanna, Jessica Alba and Derek Jeter are among the many who “got on the bus” over the years to join the show. In addition, the series won multiple Emmys for Outstanding Reality Program, received six Emmy nominations, won two People’s Choice Awards and an NAACP Image Award, in addition to other honors.
“EM:HE” is produced by Endemol USA, of Endemol Holding, and executive-produced by Brady Connell & George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America.
The Walt Disney Family Museum has announced its newest special exhibition, ‘Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation,’ on view from September 27, 2012 to April 28, 2013 in the Museum’s Theater Gallery. Curated by WDFM Registrar and Curatorial Assistant Anel Muller, the exhibition explores the evolution of stop motion animation in the United States — especially in special effects, television, and film — while examining some of the key milestones and innovators including Willis O’ Brien (King Kong), Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Art Clokey (‘Gumby’), Ray Harryhausen (It Came From Beneath the Sea), Henry Selick (Coraline and James and the Giant Peach), Phil Tippett (Star Wars and Jurassic Park) and more.
‘Between Frames’ tells the story of a 100-year-old art form that has been used in special effects, television and film and launched Walt Disney’s career in animation. The exhibition includes behind-the-scenes photographs from films such as The Lost World (1925) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963), replicas of the original armatures from King Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949), along with a Digital Input Device (DID) created just for Jurassic Park (1993). Puppets from the ‘Robot Chicken’ (2005) opening sequence and a puppet mold from Gumby, as well as original armatures from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Coraline (2009) and original storyboards from James and the Giant Peach (1996) will also be on view.
Visitors will be invited to manipulate and touch armatures at a special interactive station. A film loop of great moments in stop motion animation will also be running in the gallery.
The origins of stop motion animation are rooted in special effects. Discovered accidentally, stop motion was the key for filmmakers to open the door to fantastical realities. Stop motion animation enabled films like The Lost World (1925), King Kong (1933), It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955) and the original Star Wars (1977) trilogy to transport the audience into worlds where anything was possible and the unexpected was certain.
Before The Nightmare Before Christmas, stop motion animated features were a huge gamble for movie studios. Hansel and Gretel: An Opera Fantasy, released in 1949 and distributed by RKO, was the first American stop motion feature film, and had only modest success at the box office. After Hansel and Gretel, the lackluster success of stop motion features continued in the United States for many years. The success of The Nightmare Before Christmas sparked a renaissance in stop motion features with productions, in the last 20 years, such as James and the Giant Peach (1996) and Coraline as well as the creation of stop motion studios like Laika and Cinderbiter.
Shorts were and still are the laboratories for most stop motion animators to test out new tools and techniques to improve the art form. Not only has this format launched the careers of many filmmakers like Tim Burton but it is has been the only format of stop motion animation to be awarded an Academy Award® for Closed Mondays (1974).
Commercials and television series have both made use of stop motion animation. Commercials from cigarettes to band-aids and even memorable characters like the California Raisins (1986) were all brought to life with stop motion. Stop motion animated television series in the United States are limited in comparison to Europe and Asia; it remains a great platform for the art form with characters like Gumby, which appeared in over 234 episodes over four decades beginning in the 1950s. While more recently, ‘Robot Chicken’ (2005) has revived interest in stop motion animated series while sparking the imaginations of a new television generation.
‘Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation’ was organized by The Walt Disney Family Museum.
In conjunction with ;Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation,’ the Museum is hosting a suite of special programs, screenings, and events:
Puppet Masters: Stop Motion Animation in Visual Effects Filmmaking Panel – Saturday, October 20 at 3 pm – General: $12 adult, $9 youth | Members: $10 adult; $7 youth
Visual effects legend Ray Harryhausen inspired a generation of visual effects artists with his pioneering work in stop motion animation. Four of Harryhausen’s “kids,”—Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett, Tom St. Amand, and Jon Berg—all masters of this technique, will gather to discuss stop motion animation and its use in creating characters and creatures for movies. Join moderator Hal Hickel in a discussion of their work with stop motion, its history as a visual effects technique, and the transition into computer-generated animation.
Muren, Tippett, St. Amand, and Berg have created visual effects using stop motion in some of the most famous films of the last three decades. The holographic chess pieces in the original Star Wars, the Hoth snow battle in The Empire Strikes Back, the dragon Vermithrax in Dragonslayer, the mine car chase in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the flying rocket man in Rocketeer, and the deadly ED 209 robot in Robocop are just a few examples of their amazing craft.
Animate Your Night: Where it’s AT-AT™ – Friday, September 28, 7–10pm | Museum-wide – Members: $5 | General: $10
Join us as we celebrate the opening of ‘Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation,’ which reveals the magic behind movie creatures such as King Kong, the Jurassic Park Velociraptors, and the revered Star Wars AT-AT! Experience the galleries in a whole new light and illuminate your imagination with music, performance, film screenings, and hands-on art activities. Complimentary bites, a cash bar featuring a thematic signature cocktail, and much, much more.
Animate Your Night: Halloweentown! – Friday, October 26, 7–10pm | Museum-wide – Members: $5 | General: $10
Experience the galleries in a whole new light and illuminate your imagination with music, performance, film screenings, and hands-on art activities. Complimentary bites, a cash bar featuring a thematic signature cocktail, and much, much more.
Hallowscreen – Monday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 31 – 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm | Theater | Free with Museum admission
Celebrate Halloween with our special selection of haunted cartoon shorts such as The Skeleton Dance, The Mad Doctor, Pluto’s Judgment Day and more.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is located at the Presidio in San Francisco, California.
The official StarWarsCelebration.com website for Celebration VI, being held August 23 – 26, 2012 at the Orange County convention center in Orlando, FL has been updated with participation information from Disney Parks and Resorts.
In addition to anticipated items such as new Droid Factory pieces and the second series of Star Wars Vinylmation, Disney Theme Park merchandise (booth 331) has announced at least two show exclusives (pictured above). The Princess Leia Hologram Vinylmation figure is a show-exclusive variant, limited to an edition size of 2,500 pieces and retails for $18.95. Also available will be a limited edition die-cast set celebrating the 25th anniversary of Star Tours. The set features both the Starspeeder 3000 and the Starspeeder 1000 and will be priced at 19.95.
D-Tech.Me will be represented at booth 341, where the ‘Carbon Freeze Me’ experience will return, allowing participants to have their facial features included in an 8″ Han Solo-esque carbonite figure for $99.95 as well as print on-demand iPhone 4/4S cases featuring Star Wars and Disney artwork for $36.95 per case.
Panels involving Disney theme parks include:
Disney Parks & Star Wars – This is where the Magic Begins (Thursday, 3 – 4 pm, Room W414 ABCD)
Be among the first to get a sneak peek into what new exclusives will be coming from the Disney Parks in 2012 and 2013. You will also take an inside look behind the magic at how Disney Parks creates exclusive Star Wars merchandise, with insights from Brad Schoeneberg and Cody Hampton of Disney’s creative development team.
The New Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (Saturday, 3 – 4 pm, Room W414 ABCD)
Description: Before you take your next trip on the Starspeeder 1000, you’ll want to check out this panel that goes behind the scenes with the wizards at Walt Disney Imagineering and Industrial Light & Magic. Bill George and Steven F. Spiegel will reveal what it took to relaunch the hit attraction in 3D, and what secrets the amazing ride through the galaxy may hold.
What do you get the Star Wars fan that has everything? Studios Central is reporting that Star Wars Weekends (weekends May 18 through June 10, 2012 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) will be offering a ‘Carbon Freeze Me’ opportunity in which guests can be digitally scanned to produce a likeness of themselves frozen in carbonite.
The site reports the experience will be offered inside ‘Sounds Dangerous’ and will cost $99.95. The final product will be delivered via mail within 3 – 4 weeks.
No further details have been offered at present, but it’s quite likely the product will resemble the ‘Custom Carbonites‘ by Paul Pape Designs which replicate the personalized iconic image in plastic and Super Sculpey, as pictured here. Paul Pape Designs is not affiliated with the Star Wars Weekends experience at Walt Disney World, but is able to provide custom carbonite sculpts based on photos and is arguably cheaper, offering a 4 1/4″ long sculpt for $50′along with a 12″ long sculpt for $300 (at this time, the dimensions and materials for the Star Wars Weekend version is unknown). Pape also offers a couples version.
Photos © copyright and courtesy of Paul Pape Design. Used with permission.
UPDATE #1: 5/4/12 – According to Cast Member information, the figure will be 8″ in length and appointments are required to participate. Appointments can be made by calling 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324).
Via the official Disney Parks blog, Walt Disney World has released further details for its upcoming Star Wars Weekends celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for weekends between May 18 and June 19, 2012. In addition to the previous announcement regarding James Arnold Taylor acting as the Star Wars Weekends’ celebrity host and Ashley Eckstein as the host of the ‘Behind the Force’ special presentations, the following celebrities and autograph FASTPASS information has been released:
Weekend I (May 18 – 20)
- Ray Park – (Darth Maul, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Captain Rex and Commander Cody, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’)
Weekend II (May 25- 27)
- Andy Secombe (Watto, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- Ray Park (Darth Maul, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- Tom Kane (voice of Yoda, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’)
Weekend III (June 1 -3)
- Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- Silas Carson (Nute Gunray, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- TBD (from ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’)
Weekend IV (June 8- 10)
- Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
- Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
- Daniel Logan (Boba Fett, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
- Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’)
The popular nightly stage show, ‘Hyperspace Hoopla,’ is scheduled to return and be performed nightly at 8 pm on a stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey Hat on Hollywood Boulevard.
Oriental Land Company, owner and operator of Tokyo Disneyland, has announced that it will be following in the footsteps of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts and will be updating its ‘Star Tours’ attraction in Tomorrowland. With an estimated cost of 7 billion yen (approximately $91 million US), ‘Star Tours: The Adventure Continues’ is expected to open in spring 2013.
From the initial announcement, it does not appear that the attraction will differ from that of the recent makeover at the Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Just yesterday, the attraction redo was recognized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and will receive a Thea Award for its refresh.
‘Star Tours’ opened at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort in July of 1989. It will close April 2, 2012 to receive the upgrade.
On Friday, October 14, 2011, noted author Timothy Zahn will be on hand to sign his latest Star Wars novel, Choices of One as well as the 20th anniversary edition of the best-seller, Heir to the Empire.
Zahn will be at The Writer’s Stop located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 1 – 3 pm. As always, theme park admission is not included and items must be purchased at the event (no personal items).
In Choices of One, eight months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebellion is in desperate need of a new base. So when Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector proposes an alliance, offering the Rebels sanctuary in return for protection against the alien warlord Nuso Esva, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are sent to evaluate the deal.
Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand, is also heading for Candoras, along with the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment. Their mission: to punish Ferrouz’s treason and smash the Rebels for good.
But in this treacherous game of betrayals within betrayals, a wild card is waiting to be played.
This coming holiday, Disney invites audiences of all ages to make Prep & Landing (the all-new modern classic Christmas tale) part of their family’s ‘must own’ holiday-viewing collection! Arriving to DVD on November 22, 2011 (now available for pre-order), ‘Prep & Landing’ is the perfect blend of Christmas spirit, humor and entertaining characters that will keep the entire family grinning from ear-to-ear. Complete with two new bonus shorts — ‘Tiny’s Big Adventure’ and ‘Operation Secret Santa’ (which features Betty White as the voice of Mrs. Clause) -– ‘Prep & Landing’ will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and $24.99 in Canada. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for all ages!
‘Prep & Landing’ is an adorable holiday story about a high-tech team of elves who ensure homes around the world are properly prepared for their visit from Santa. After working for a tireless 227 years, an elf named Wayne (voiced by Dave Foley) is upset when he doesn’t receive an expected promotion. Instead he is partnered with an idealistic rookie elf named Lanny (voiced by Derek Richardson) to execute a special Christmas Eve mission. While on their journey, Wayne and Lanny encounter unexpected challenges that push them to their limits and ultimately threaten Christmas for children around the world. But in the end, these two elves work together to guide Santa through a raging snowstorm in order to save Christmas.
Prep & Landing, which first debuted in 2009 as ABC TV’s first animated television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, features the voice talents of Dave Foley (Disney/Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Cars) as Wayne, Derek Richardson (TV’s ‘Men in Trees’) as Lanny, Sarah Chalke (TV’s ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Roseanne’) as Magee, Mason Vale Cotton (TV’s ‘Desperate Housewives’) as Timmy Terwelp, David DeLuise (Disney Channel’s ‘Wizards of Waverley Place’) as Dancer, Peter Jacobson (TV’s ‘House M.D.,’ Transformers) as Waterkotte, Lino DiSalvo (Disney’s Bolt) as Gristletoe Joe, William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers, The Prestige) as The Big Guy, Nathan Greno (Disney’s Bolt, Meet The Robinsons) as Dasher, Hayes MacArthur (Life As We Know It, She’s Out Of My League) as Thrasher and Kasha Kropinski (Fame, Big Fish) as Miss Holly.
Prep & Landing Stocking Stuffer Shorts:
- ‘Tiny’s Big Adventure’ — The assistant to the North Pole Christmas Eve Command Center is trying to make a pot of coffee and in the process, accidentally ruins the elves’ break room
- ‘Operation Secret Santa’ — Lead elves Lanny and Wayne are sent on a special assignment by Mrs. Clause (voice of Betty White) into Santa’s office
Prep & Landing Kringle Academy Training Videos – Entertaining Elf training videos shot in Santa’s workshop:
- Elfdate.com/The Fruitcake Factory/Spa Navidad
- Welcome to Kringle Academy
- Kringle Academy Equipment Training
- Academy Do’s and Don’ts
Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger (left) talks with Star Wars creator George Lucas as they walk through Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. May 20, 2011 during grand opening ceremonies for “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction based on the “Star Wars” films. The attraction, which features more than 50 possible random ride experiences, opened May 20, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and will open June 3, 2011 at Disneyland Resort in California. Photo by Todd Anderson.
Pictured, L-R: are James Arnold Taylor, voice actor from Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Dave Filoni, director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Iger; Lucas; Star Wars character C-3PO; Anthony Daniels, the actor who portrayed C-3PO in Star Wars; Ashley Eckstein, voice actor from Star Wars: The Clone Wars; and Daniel Logan, who portrayed Boba Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Photo by Kent Phillips.
Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger (left) “Star Wars” creator George Lucas (center) and actor Anthony Daniels, who portrayed C-3PO in Star Wars (right), pose with “Star Wars” characters May 20, 2011 inside a “Star Tours” ride vehicle at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. during grand opening ceremonies for “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction based on the Star Wars films. The attraction, which features more than 50 possible random ride experiences, opened May 20, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and will open June 3, 2011 at Disneyland Resort in California. Photo by David Roark.
Photos and video courtesy Walt Disney World Resort