June 22, 2016 by Colin Solan
Filed under Animation, Collectibles, Comic Books, Comic Strips, Convention News, Cosplay, Europe, Gaming, Movies, Other, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Television, Top Stories, Video Games
With Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 set to launch in less than a month, we wanted to share a sneak peek at some of the panels being planned for the Celebration Stage, home of the biggest shows and brightest stars of the weekend! This is where fans will go to spend separate hours with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels, get the latest news and info on Rebels Season 3, and grab some super-secret glimpses of the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If that weren’t enough, the stage will also host special screenings of A New Hope and The Force Awakens, as well as many other guests and not-to-be-missed Celebration attractions. A few surprises still to come on this stage, so be sure to stick around for the final day of the show. Make the Celebration Stage your number one stop in London this July!!
Seats at the Celebration Stage will be in high demand. Look for our Star Wars Celebration Navigation Guide, coming next week on www.starwarscelebration.com for helpful tips and tricks to help you see your favorite shows!
Friday, July 15:
An Hour With Mark Hamill
Start your Celebration weekend off in the best possible way, by spending time with the Jedi Master himself. Mark Hamill will chat with the audience, answer questions, and tell stories from his years in entertainment and from his point of view portraying the pivotal character of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars universe.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Secret mission? What plans? What are you talking about? Find out, when Gareth Edwards – director of the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – joins Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and some special guests for a revealing can’t-miss Rogue One panel! Also streamed to the Galaxy Stage and BTSS
Star Wars Celebration Europe Cosplay Championship
Enjoy the best cosplay in the galaxy live on the Celebration Stage. The Celebration Europe Cosplay Championships, hosted by Warwick Davis and Mark Daniel, will entertain, and possibly inspire you to get started with your own Star Wars cosplay. The Championships will feature celebrity judges who know quite a bit about the art of Star Wars costumes: Dave Filoni (Executive Producer, Star Wars Rebels) and Steve Sansweet (Rancho Obi-Wan).
Screening: Star Wars: A New Hope
The story that started the theatrical saga of Star Wars, as well as the most recent, epic movie for the big screen, will play for fans at Celebration Europe Friday and Saturday evenings. Tonight, relive the excitement of seeing Star Wars: A New Hope in a theater, surrounded by your fellow fans. Bring your lightsaber and get ready to cheer for your heroes, and boo the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Or perhaps cheer for Darth if you lean toward the dark side….
Saturday, July 16:
The Creatures, Droids & Aliens of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Take a deep dive into the Pinewood Studios-based Star Wars creature shop, where Creative Supervisor Neal Scanlan and team designed and built every alien, beast and droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Step-by-step, the process of crafting amazing creatures and droids like Maz Kanata, BB-8, the luggabeast, Unkar Plutt and Supreme Leader Snoke will be explored; from design and sculpting, to fabrication and animatronics, to painting and puppeteering. The panel will culminate in a live demo of one of the creature shop’s incredible Star Wars characters!
Anthony Daniels, Without Protocol
It’s always bright and shiny when our favorite protocol droid takes the stage. Don’t miss Anthony Daniels, the human behind C-3PO. Expect the unexpected as Daniels and host Warwick Davis have a marvelous time, sometimes at the expense of unsuspecting audience members.
Star Wars Rebels Season 3
Still recovering from the epic Star Wars Rebels Season 2 finale? Feel like you have more questions than answers about what the future holds for the crew of the Ghost? Fear not! Star Wars Rebels Executive Producer and Supervising Director Dave Filoni will be joined by special guests to share highly-guarded sneak peeks at what’s to come in Star Wars Rebels season 3 including a screening of the first two episodes!
Meet the Creators: The Minds Behind EA’s Star Wars Games
Join us for a roundtable discussion about what’s it’s like to create Star Wars games. The creative leaders behind Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars: The Old Republic and other upcoming Star Wars video games from EA will share behind-the-scenes stories and reveal news about the future of Star Wars games at EA.
Screening: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The story that started the theatrical saga of Star Wars, as well as the most recent, epic movie for the big screen, will play for fans at Celebration Europe Friday and Saturday evenings. Tonight, plan to stay after hours to watch your most beloved characters new and old in The Force Awakens, presented in theatrical quality on the Celebration Stage.
Sunday, July 17:
Carrie Fisher: The Princess Diaries
Buckle up. Our favorite Princess is coming and she will certainly have something to say. Join Carrie Fisher, the force behind Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, for an hour of insights into the world of one of our favorite characters on and off the screen.
Ray Park Unleashed
Ray Park, the actor and champion martial artist behind the iconic character of Darth Maul, will take the stage for an hour of insights and interaction. Always two there are – Park will share the stage with Celebration Host and Sith apprentice Warwick Davis.
In celebration of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm and HP proudly present “Art Awakens.”
“Art Awakens” is an exciting new program for Star Wars fans old and new, across the country to revitalize creativity by “Bending the Rules” of the Force, themed around a galaxy far, far away.
“Art Awakens” kicks off August 11th with the launch of a two-month-long nationwide fan art competition across the US. Amateur artists can submit theirStar Wars: The Force Awakens inspired art on ArtAwakens.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming professional art exhibit later in the year.
Additionally, coming this November to Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles is a three-day Star Wars: The Force Awakens art exhibit featuring top professional and emerging contemporary artists. All new original pieces will be auctioned off in the name of Star Wars: Force for Change to benefit UNICEF Kid Power, which gives kids the power to save lives. By getting active with the UNICEF Kid Power band, kids earn points which unlock food packets for malnourished children around the world.
Five lucky winners of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Fan Art Contest, chosen by a judging committee that includes members from Disney, Lucasfilm and the legendary visual effects house Industrial Light & Magic, will have their art featured in the professional gallery exhibit. The winners will also have the opportunity to be flown out to Los Angeles to attend the VIP opening night, among other prizes from HP.
Additionally, an HP “Bend the Rules” Award will be granted to one of the five grand prize winners upon completion of a questionnaire with the highest score in the Innovative Use of Technology category. The HP “Bend the Rules” Award winner will receive an HP Notebook Computer to help them push the boundaries of art and creativity. Get more details at the link…
Comments Off on Lucasfilm Offers Sneak Peak of Star Wars Rebels at SDCC 2014
The Empire. The Rebellion. The Beginning. STAR WARS REBELS, Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated animated series detailing the start of the fight against the evil Empire, is coming this fall – but fans can get a big sneak peek at San Diego Comic-Con.
Lucasfilm’s special panel, The Heroes of Star Wars Rebels (Thursday, 7/24/14, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Room: 6BCF), will feature executive producer Dave Filoni, as well as the first panel appearance by executive producer Simon Kinberg and stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, and Taylor Gray. They’ll discuss making the show and will debut several exclusive reveals from the upcoming series for fans in attendance.
Star Wars Rebels continues the epic tradition of the legendary Star Wars saga with all-new exciting, action-packed adventures. It is a dark time in the galaxy, as the evil Galactic Empire tightens its grip of power from world to world. As the series begins, Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet, ruling with an iron fist and ruining the lives of its people. The clever and motley crew of the starship Ghost is amongst a select few who are brave enough to stand against the Empire. Together, this ragtag group will face threatening new villains, encounter colorful adversaries, embark on thrilling adventures and become heroes with the power to ignite a rebellion.
Scheduled to premiere in the fall as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel, it will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.
Follow @StarWars and @DisneyChannelPR for the latest news on #StarWarsRebels. Stay tuned to www.StarWars.com for more on Star Wars Rebels at SDCC.
Comments Off on Dark Horse Makes It Official: Star Wars License Moving to Marvel in 2015
The End of an Era
All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.
For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.
It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.
About Dark Horse
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Geof Darrow, Guillermo Del Toro and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties such as The Mask, Ghost, Captain Midnight, and X. Its successful line of comics, books, and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Halo, Serenity, The Legend of Zelda, Game of Thrones and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.
June 3, 2013 by Brian Pate
Filed under California, Colorado, Everything Else, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
Comments Off on Dark Horse an Official Partner for 2nd Annual Star Wars Reads Day
LUCASFILM LTD., DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE AND PUBLISHING PARTNERS ANNOUNCE SECOND ANNUAL STAR WARS READS DAY
Bookstore and library events to be held October 5, 2013
New York, NY – Lucasfilm, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and its publishing partners announced today the second annual Star Wars Reads Day to be held this October 5, 2013. Last year, 30 authors and 1,500 costumed volunteers participated in over 1,200 Star Wars Reads Day events across North America. On October 5 of this year, Star Wars fans, authors, and artists will again come together in this multi-publisher initiative that celebrates reading and Star Wars. Participating publishing partners include Abrams, Chronicle Books, Dark Horse, Del Rey, DK, Quirk Books, Random House Audio, Scholastic, Titan Magazines, and Workman.
“Star Wars Reads Day is the kind of initiative that we at Lucasfilm love to support” says Carol Roeder, Director of Publishing at Lucasfilm. “Reading and Star Wars have gone hand-in-hand since 1976, when the novelization of the original Star Wars movie was released. Over the years, many fans have discovered the joy in reading through Star Wars books, and we hope to continue encouraging more people to read.”
Official Star Wars Reads Day author events are already confirmed at the following locations:
Ann Arbor, MI – Barnes & Noble
Austin, TX – Barnes & Noble
Carle Place, NY – Barnes & Noble
Cincinnati, OH – Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Denver, CO – Tattered Cover
Madison, WI – Barnes & Noble
New York, NY – The Scholastic Store
Portland, OR – Wordstock Festival
Redondo Beach, CA – Mysterious Galaxy
Richmond, VA – bbgb
Roseville, MN – Barnes & Noble
San Francisco, CA – Books Inc.
Seattle, WA – University Bookstore
Warwick, RI – Barnes & Noble
For updates and more information, follow Star Wars Reads on Facebook:
An official Star Wars event kit (free of charge), including reproducible activity sheets and trivia, will be available for download at: http://starwars.com/reads/
Lucasfilm, STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.
Comments Off on Course of the Force Announces Partners for 2013
Qualcomm, Ford, Cinemark, Real D, State Farm, Otter Pops, Virgin America, Rubie’s Costumes and Hasbro Among Brands Sponsoring Lightsaber Relay Run SAN FRANCISCO, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Course of the Force (COTF) – the Olympic-style lightsaber relay run is returning for a 2nd epic journey, …
Comments Off on Sac-Con 2013 Welcomes Grey DeLisle, Lauren Tom, and Many More
Sac-Con is Sunday June 2nd at the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento (6151 H Street). 10am – 5pm. Admission is $6 at the door (Children 8 & under Free. Early Bird (9am Entry) is $10 at the door.
Arkham City’s Catwoman, Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Azula, Scooby Doo’s Daphne
1st Autograph Free, each additional $20
Futurama’s Amy Wong, Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Joo Dee
Lauren will charging for her autograph.
Borderland 2’s Handsome Jack, Dragonball Z’s Cell
Dameon will not be charging for his autograph.
Limit 1 per person.
Darth Vader in all recent Lucasfilm and Lucas Arts projects.
C. Andrew will be charging for his autograph.
JOE WEEMS V
GUILDED CASTLE STUDIO
Check out some of our great events at the show:
Cosplay Costume Contest
Video Game Tournaments
Huge Vendors Room
3pm Charity Raffle
Panels/Q & A’s with our guests
Free Yugioh & Magic Tournaments
Anime Viewing Room
Comments Off on LucasFilm Decides to Wind Down Clone Wars and Postpone Detours
Via Star Wars.com:
A NEW DIRECTION FOR LUCASFILM ANIMATION
As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.
As part of this shift, we have also made some key decisions affecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Detours.
After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we’re continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
At Star Wars Celebration VI last year, George Lucas gave fans a glimpse at the animated comedy series Star Wars Detours from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Todd Grimes. Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense. As a result, we’ve decided to postpone the release of Detours until a later date.
We are incredibly proud of the teams at Lucasfilm Animation for creating some of the most amazing animation ever produced for TV. Keep checking StarWars.com for new developments on these and future projects.
Comments Off on J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII
J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII
J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.
“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”
George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.
Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi.Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.
Comments Off on Disney Buys Lucasfilm; Star Wars Episode 7 Set for Release in 2015
DISNEY TO ACQUIRE LUCASFILM LTD.
Global leader in high-quality family entertainment agrees to acquire world-renowned Lucasfilm Ltd, including legendary STAR WARS franchise.
Acquisition continues Disney’s strategic focus on creating and monetizing the world’s best branded content, innovative technology and global growth to drive long-term shareholder value.
Lucasfilm to join company’s global portfolio of world class brands including Disney, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and ABC.
STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 feature film targeted for release in 2015.
Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – 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.”
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Warsfranchise 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 Warsfranchise 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.
About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media, and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of over $40 billion in its Fiscal Year 2011.
About Lucasfilm Ltd.
Founded by George Lucas in 1971, Lucasfilm is a privately held, fully-integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company’s global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production; LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm’s entertainment properties; Lucasfilm Animation; and Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm’s entertainment properties and businesses. Additionally, Lucasfilm Singapore, produces digital animated content for film and television, as well as visual effects for feature films and multi-platform games. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Certain statements in this communication and the attachments may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements relate to a variety of matters, including but not limited to: the operations of the businesses of Disney and Lucasfilm separately and as a combined entity; the timing and consummation of the proposed merger transaction; the expected benefits of the integration of the two companies; the combined company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical fact. These statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Disney and Lucasfilm regarding future events and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Neither Disney nor Lucasfilm undertakes any obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- legal or regulatory proceedings or other matters that affect the timing or ability to complete the transactions as contemplated;
- the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully;
- the possibility of disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships;
- the possibility that the merger does not close, including but not limited to, due to the failure to satisfy the closing conditions;
- any actions taken by either of the companies, including but not limited to, restructuring or strategic initiatives (including capital investments or asset acquisitions or dispositions);
- developments beyond the companies’ control, including but not limited to: changes in domestic or global economic conditions, competitive conditions and consumer preferences; adverse weather conditions or natural disasters; health concerns; international, political or military developments; and technological developments.
Additional factors that may cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are set forth in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Disney for the year ended October 1, 2011, under the heading “Item 1A—Risk Factors,” and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Disney.
ROBERT A. IGER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY REMARKS FOR ANALYSTS REGARDING DISNEY’S ACQUISITION OF LUCASFILM LTD., AS PREPARED
As we just announced, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and its world class portfolio of creative content – including the legendary Star Wars franchise – along with all of its operating businesses, including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
George Lucas is a visionary, an innovator and an epic storyteller – and he’s built a company at the intersection of entertainment and technology to bring some of the world’s most unforgettable characters and stories to screens across the galaxy. He’s entertained, inspired, and defined filmmaking for almost four decades and we’re incredibly honored that he has entrusted the future of that legacy to Disney.
Disney has had a great relationship with George that goes back a long way – with Star Wars theme attractions in our parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo. This acquisition builds on that foundation and combines two of the strongest family entertainment brands in the world. It makes sense, not just because of our brand compatibility and previous success together, but because Disney respects and understands – better than just about anyone else – the importance of iconic characters and what it takes to protect and leverage them effectively to drive growth and create value.
Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney’s strategic priorities. It is a sustainable source of branded, high quality creative content with tremendous global appeal that will benefit all of Disney’s business units and is incredibly well suited for new business models, including digital platforms. Adding the Lucasfilm IP to our existing Disney, Pixar and Marvel IP clearly enhances our ability to serve consumers, strengthening our competitive position — and we are confident we can earn a return on invested capital well in excess of our cost of capital.
Star Wars in particular is a strong global brand, and one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with hundreds of millions of fans around the globe. Its universe of more than 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets spanning 20,000 years offers infinite inspiration and opportunities – and we’re already moving forward with plans to continue the epic Star Wars saga.
The last Star Wars movie release was 2005’s Revenge of the Sith – and we believe there’s substantial pent up demand. In 2015, we’re planning to release Star Wars Episode 7 – the first feature film under the “Disney-Lucasfilm” brand. That will be followed by Episodes 8 and 9 – and our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years. We’re very happy that George Lucas will be creative consultant on our new Star Wars films and that Kathleen Kennedy, the current Co-Chair of Lucasfilm, will executive produce. George handpicked Kathy earlier this year to lead Lucasfilm into the future. She’ll join Disney as President of Lucasfilm, reporting into Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and integrating and building the Star Wars franchise across our company.
Our successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel prove Disney’s unique ability to grow brands and expand high-quality creative content to its fullest franchise potential and maximum value.
We’ve leveraged Pixar’s terrific characters and stories into franchises across our company – from feature films to consumer products online games, major attractions in our theme parks, and more.
The 2006 Pixar acquisition delivered more than great Pixar content — it also delivered the means to energize and revitalize the creative engine at Walt Disney Animation – which was crucial to our long term success. Animation is the heart and soul of Disney and our successful creative resurgence will be on full display this weekend when Wreck-It-Ralphopens in theaters across the country.
Our acquisition of Marvel three years later combined Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and an integrated business structure that maximizes the value of creative content across multiple platforms and territories. Our first two Marvel films – Thor and Captain America grossed a total of more than $800 million at the box office. This year, Marvel’s The Avengers grossed more than $1.5 billion to become the world’s third highest grossing movie of all time – and an important and lucrative franchise for us.
We’re looking forward to a robust slate of new Marvel movies – starting with Iron Man 3and Thor: The Dark World next year, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. And, as we announced previously, Joss Whedon is writing and directing Avengers 2and developing a Marvel-based series for ABC.
Pixar and Marvel both fit our criteria for strategic acquisitions – they add great IP that benefits multiple Disney businesses for years to come, and continue to create value well in excess of their purchase price. The acquisition of Lucasfilm is in keeping with this proven strategy for success and we expect it to create similar opportunity for Disney to drive long-term value for our shareholders.
We’re clearly excited about this move forward. We believe we can do great things with these amazing assets….we have a proven track record of maximizing the value of our strategic acquisitions…. and we’re poised to do the same with this one.
JAY RASULO, SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CFO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY REMARKS FOR ANALYSTS REGARDING DISNEY’S ACQUISITION OF LUCASFILM LTD., AS PREPARED
Lucasfilm, and more specifically the Star Wars franchise, fits perfectly within the Disney portfolio of intellectual properties and the strategic and financial implications of this acquisition are compelling. Our team has spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating this deal and we have concluded we are uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Lucasfilm’s IP in a manner that can generate substantial value for our shareholders above and beyond the purchase price.
In this transaction we will acquire rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, a highly talented and expert team, Lucasfilm’s best-in-class post production businesses, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, and a suite of cutting edge entertainment technologies. Our valuation focused almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis.
There are a number of ways our company will derive value from Lucasfilm’s intellectual property—some of which can be realized immediately while others will accrue to us over time. George and his team have built Star Wars into one of the most successful and enduring family entertainment franchises in history, as well as one of the best selling licensed character merchandise brands in the U.S. and around the world. However, we believe there is great opportunity to further expand the consumer products business. Today, Star Wars is heavily skewed toward toys and North America. We see great opportunity domestically to extend the breadth and depth of the Star Wars franchise into other categories. We also plan to leverage Disney’s global consumer products organization to grow the Star Wars consumer products business internationally.
Let me note that in 2012 Lucasfilm’s consumer products business is expected to generate total licensing revenue that is comparable to the roughly $215 million in consumer products revenue Marvel generated in 2009, the year in which we announced our acquisition. With renewed film releases, and the support we can give the Star Warsproperty on our Disney-branded TV channels, we expect that business to grow substantially and profitably for many years to come.
We also expect to create significant value in the film business. We plan to release the first new Star Wars film in 2015, and then plan to release one film every two to three years. These films will be released and distributed as part of our target slate of 8-10 live-action films per year, and will augment Disney’s already strong creative pipeline for many years to come. Lucasfilm has not released a Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith in 2005. However, adjusted for inflation, as well as growth in both international box office and 3D, we estimate the three most recent Star Wars films would have averaged about $1.5 billion in global box office in today’s dollars. This speaks to the franchise’s strength, global appeal and the great opportunity we have in the film business.
We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts, in games and in our television business. These initiatives were also considered in our valuation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will buy Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, consisting of approximately fifty percent cash and fifty percent in Disney stock. Based on Friday’s closing price of Disney stock, we expect to issue approximately 40 million Disney shares in this transaction. We continue to believe our shares are attractively priced at current levels and therefore, we currently intend to repurchase all of the shares issued within the next two years– and that’s in addition to what we planned to repurchase in the absence of the transaction.
Our valuation of Lucasfilm is roughly comparable to the value we placed on Marvel when we announced that acquisition in 2009. Our Lucasfilm valuation is almost entirely driven by the Star Wars franchise, so any success from other franchises would provide upside to our base case. I realize it may be a challenge for you to quantify our opportunity given the limited amount of publicly available information. But to give you some perspective on the size of the Lucasfilm business– in 2005, the year in which the most recent Star Wars film was released, Lucasfilm generated $550 million in operating income. We’ve taken a conservative approach in our valuation assumptions, including continued erosion of the home entertainment market, and we expect this acquisition to create value for our shareholders.
In terms of the impact on our financials, we expect the acquisition to be dilutive to our EPS by low single digit percentage points in fiscal 2013 and 2014 and become accretive to EPS in 2015.
Our capital allocation philosophy has been consistent since Bob took over as CEO. In addition to returning capital to shareholders, we have invested, both organically and through acquisitions, in high quality, branded content that can be seamlessly leveraged across our businesses. Our acquisition of Lucasfilm is entirely consistent with this strategy, and we’re incredibly excited by the prospect of building on Lucasfilm’s successful legacy to create significant value for our shareholders.