In an otherwise fairly quiet week in the entertainment news world, this announcement hit like an atomic bomb a few hours ago.
The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and is already planning “Star Wars: Episode VII”, the first of a new trilogy, for release in 2015.
The subsequent two films will be released in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
What does this mean for a fifth “Indiana Jones”? The companies are reportedly going to concentrate on the “Star Wars” franchise for now.
The $4.05 billion deal will see Disney paying Lucasfilm’s sole owner George Lucas half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at the closing price of Disney stock on October 26th 2012 for the remainder.
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production.
This includes all its subsidiary offshoots beyond Lucasfilm Ltd. itself including LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound. Lucasfilm employees are expected to remain in their current locations.
Lucasfilm current co-chairman Kathleen Kennedy will step up to become President of Lucasfilm and report directly to Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
She will also serve as brand manager for “Star Wars” which will allow Disney to fully exploit the property though its various interests including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks.