If you could name one company better and bigger at monetizing franchises than LucasFilm, it would have to be Disney. So perhaps it is fitting that the ‘House of Mouse’ that also owns Buzz & Woody and Marvel’s Avengers has taken on the Skywalker clan and Dr. Jones.
Here are some details from BusinessWeek:
Disney paid $7 billion for animation studio Pixar in 2006 and bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4.2 billion, adding the creators of “Toy Story,” and “The Avengers” to the company’s library.
The Lucas acquisition brings the “Star Wars” pictures, which have generated $4.54 billion in worldwide ticket sales — second only to Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter,” according to Box Office Mojo. The “Indiana Jones” films have collected $1.95 billion.
For Star Wars fans who have not looked kindly on what has happened with Star Wars over the last 13 or so years, there are mixed feelings. Some feel that it is a sign that rampant greed will sink BOTH companies, as Pixar has already started becoming a money-machine for Disney (e.g. Cars 2); others think that the proximity with Pixar might just save the Star Wars franchise. I have no clue.
In fact, looking around there are loads of opinions and speculation, including here, here, here and here.
The purchase brings in special effects wizards ILM (Industrial Light & Magic), and LucasArts – the home of some of my favorite all-time games, though it isn’t clear what direction that will take:
The purchase may boost Disney’s money-losing interactive unit by adding LucasArts, home to video-game titles including “Lego Star Wars,” “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” and “Star Wars: Battlefront.” The company recently announced a collaboration on an “Angry Birds: Star Wars” game with Rovio Entertainment Oy.
The only hint we have is that Disney’s Iger said “Lucasfilm would focus attentions to mobile and casual games as opposed to the large console projects which LucasArts has undertaken.” Currently Star Wars 1313 is in development, and Star Wars The Old Republic has struggled and is headign towards a fully freemium state. Since Disney has struggled with high-profile game releases (though Tron 2.0 is still a fave of mine), it is very ilkely that their caution and focus on quickie mobile games will dominate … and will won’t be seeing new entries in PC favorite franchises Knights of the Old Republic or Jedi Knight anytime soon.
What do you think about Disney buying LucasFilm … and of the upcoming new trilogy?