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Disney Buying Lucasfilm, Continuing Quest To Own All Your Heroes

Mickey, Miss Piggy, Buzz Lightyear, Spider-Man…. Disney’s $4B Acquisition of Lucasfilm adds Han Solo and Indy to the Mix

Breaking into the endless stream of #Sandy updates Tuesday afternoon was a tweet from Yoda capturing the oddness of the day’s entertainment news:
"Yoda @yoda
A part of the family belonging to Disney I now am. Expect me to mingle with Mickey and Minnie I hope they do not. Hrrrrm."

With the hastily inked and announced $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm (a figure 10 percent less than the lifetime box-office gross of all Star Wars movies), Disney is adding to its trophy room of highly marketable, vertically integrated, multibillion-dollar global entertainment franchises—the kinds of franchises where the feature films are simply expensive ads for the toothbrushes (see Pixar, Marvel, & Muppets). In fact, Disney’s relationship with Lucasfilm started at the theme park: there are "Star Tours"-themed rides at Disney parks on three continents.

In the webcast announcing the deal, CEO Bob Iger laid out plans to release the seventh Star Wars film as the company’s "tentpole" for 2015—and more, continuously, every two to three years, thereafter. CTO Jay Rasulo mentioned building the Star Wars brand internationally, and beyond just toys into broader consumer products. "We’d be better off as a company releasing a sequel to Star Wars than most other 'not yet determined’ films," Iger said in response to a question.

Old-school Star Wars fans, and others wistful about the place of movies at the center of the cultural scene, might despair at the prospect of an endless, Disneyfied extension of the interplanetary saga accompanied by ever-more mountains of plastic crap to buy.

But the business logic is inexorable: teens are more into games these days, and the middlebrow cultural energy (and much of the acting talent) is going into TV dramas like Mad Men.
Box-office receipts are down, and so are DVD sales. But as long as kids are still making light saber videos, the Force will still be with the tchotchke business.

[Mouse Wars: Mandalee Mankins]

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2 Comments

  • Alexis_in_LA

    This is spot on to me. As someone who lives and grew up a stones throw from Mickey's wizard hat here in the San Fernando valley and was reared on the original, not to be replicated Star Wars Episodes 4 - 6, that is all this is, an opportunity for the biggest producer of merchandising "fill-in-the-blank" plastic crap to buy one of the best franchises in movie-making history. Not sure of the particulars on the part of LucasFilm (where's Obi Wan when you need a good Jedi mind trick - "This is not the company you're looking for") but apparently someone in Marin signed on the dotted line. Sad am I.

  • Paul Pierce

    Of all the stories and angles you (Fast Company) could have gone with in announcing one of the biggest pop-culture and business deals of all time, you went with this hastily inked, cynical commentary that simply restates that merchandising is a integral part of Disney's marketing and business arsenal.

    I don't know who's worse...the hipster author who thinks she can scrawl off this crap with minimal thought, insight or creativity...or the editor who approved it for inclusion on this site.