The Walt Disney Co.’s $4.2 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm speaks to the value of its characters like Indiana Jones and Anakin Skywalker, a catalog of intellectual property that can be brought to life in any medium. Console games, however, will not be a priority for Lucasfilm’s new owners.
That’s one piece of information gleaned from what Disney’s chairman and CEO Robert Iger said during an investors call.
“We’re likely to focus more on social and mobile than we are on console,” he said. “We’ll look opportunistically at console, most likely in licensing rather than publishing, but we think that given the nature of these characters and how well known they are, and the storytelling, that they lend themselves quite nicely, as they’ve already demonstrated, to these other platforms.”
The deal brings some of the world’s most beloved family-friendly characters under one umbrella, although complicated licenses still in place mean it may be some time before they can all share one theme park. Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009, having paid $7.4 billion for Pixar Animation Studios three years previously.
Disney’s latest acquisition includes all of Lucasfilm, including live action film production, games, consumer products, animation, visual effects and audio post production businesses, along with everything to do with the Star Wars franchise. Disney said its “present intent” is for employees to remain as they are in Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
Kathleen Kennedy, who became co-chairman of Lucasfilm when George Lucas announced his retirement plans in June, is now president and reports to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. To help keep the Star Wars flame burning, she also will serve as executive producer on the new Star Wars feature film trilogy confirmed during the investors call. Lucas will stay involved as creative consultant.
Several key people involved in the deal issued statements.
George Lucas, chairman and chief executive officer of Lucasfilm: “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. 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.”
Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co.: “Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas. 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.”
Replay the investors call here
Walt Disney Co. – press release
Los Angeles Times – Disney to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion
New York Times – Disney Buying Lucasfilm for $4 Billion
Associated Press – Disney to make new ‘Star Wars’ films, buy Lucas co
Photo of Robert Iger (left) and George Lucas courtesy of the Walt Disney Co.