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READ: Disney chief Bob Iger's internal memo to staff: 'Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney's strategic priorities'
Today, the Walt Disney Co. announced the acquisition of George Lucas' Lucasfilm, as well as a new Star Wars feature in a whopping $4.05 billion deal.
Disney chief Bob Iger says Lucas' company 'fits perfectly with Disney's strategic priorities' in an internal memo to Disney employees.
Read the full email below:
Dear Fellow Employee,
I am very pleased to announce The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. 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.
Star Wars is clearly 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 to continue the epic Star Wars saga.
A new feature film, Star Wars Episode 7, is expected to open in theaters worldwide in 2015. Kathleen Kennedy, the filmmaker George Lucas handpicked as his successor, will be the executive producer with George serving as creative consultant. Kathy will also join Disney as President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and leading us forward on all things Star Wars.
George Lucas is a visionary, an innovator and an epic storyteller, and we are deeply honored that he has entrusted the future of his extraordinary creative legacy to Disney. We have a great relationship with George and his Lucasfilm team that goes back a long way — with Star Wars- and Indiana Jones-themed attractions in our parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo. We see great potential for these franchises across our entire company — from consumer products, television, games, theme parks and beyond.
Lucasfilm fits perfectly with Disney’s strategic priorities. It’s a great source of branded, high-quality content with true global appeal that is well suited for new business models, especially digital platforms, and will benefit a number of our businesses. Adding Lucasfilm to our powerful portfolio of content brands — along with Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC — gives us even more ways to serve consumers with incredible entertainment experiences and to create long-term value for our shareholders.
We’re obviously very excited about this acquisition. We believe we can do great things with these amazing assets, and we can’t wait to get started. Please join me in welcoming Lucasfilm to the Disney family.
After helping “The Avengers” save the world this past summer, Tony Stark is falling back to earth (literally) in the first trailer for “Iron Man 3.”
Set for release May 3, 2013, Disney and Marvel’s upcoming tentpole reunites Robert Downey Jr. with “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” director/writer Shane Black.
Downey Jr. will face popular comicbook nemesis The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) in the film, which, from the looks of the trailer, appears to have a darker narrative than its Iron Man predecessors.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle reprise their roles in IM3, as will director/actor Jon Favreau, who helmed the past two Iron Man features but left the franchise to develop Disney’s "Magic Kingdom." Newcomers Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall also star.
“Iron Man 3,” shot in 3D, is exec produced by Dan Mintz and Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige.
Less than two years after Osama Bin Laden's death, director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") and producer Mark Boal are on the hunt for the former Al Qaeda mastermind.
"Zero Dark Thirty," set for release Dec. 19, follows the Navy SEAL squadron that found and killed Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
Featuring an ensemble cast of Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, James Gandolfini, Kyle Chandler and Mark Strong, Sony Pictures' "Zero Dark Thirty" has long-been embroiled in political controversey, after documents uncovered that Bigelow and Boal were given extensive access to the top secret mission by the White House, Pentagon and CIA.
Pentagon press secretary George Little recently disputed some of the allegations, saying that the Defense Dept. engages with the entertainment industry on movie projects, and the goal is to "make them as realistic as possible. We believe this is an important service that we provide."
Formerly titled "Kill Bin laden," "Zero" is one of two Bin Laden features due this year. The Weinstein Company doc "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden" will premiere on the National Geographic Channel on Dec. 4.
Fox Searchlight today released the first look at “Hitchcock,” the upcoming Alfred Hitchcock drama about the making of "Psycho."
Starring Anthony Hopkins as the legendary auteur and Scarlett Johansson as "Psycho" actress Janet Leigh, "Hitchcock" is based on Stephen Rebello's novel about the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the director's classic horror film. Sacha Gervasi, who directed the acclaimed doc "Anvil: The Story of Anvhil," is at the helm.
Searchlight recently bumped up the release date of "Hitchcock" to Nov. 23, a prime slot for a 2012-13 awards season run with bizzers comparing the drama to The Weinstein Company's "My Week With Marilyn." Pic is said to be centered on the love story between the director and his wife Alma Reville.
Scripted by John McLaughlin ("Black Swan"), "Hitchcock" is produced by the Montecito Picture Company's Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck and Tom Pollack along with Tom Thayer.
Disney has issued a new teaser-trailer for Gore Verbinski’s re-imagining of “The Lone Ranger.” Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, “The Lone Ranger” is based on the popular TV series from the 1950s about a Texas Ranger and his crime-fighting sidekick, Tonto. Disney will release the big-budget Western on July 3, 2013.