In August of 2011, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated he was looking to “buy either new characters or businesses that are capable of creating great characters and great stories.”
Yesterday, The Walt Disney Company announced that it has acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion, and the Star Wars franchise will return to the big screen in 2015. This was a surprising, and intelligent move for Disney, much like their 2009 purchase of Marvel Entertainment. Not only are they acquiring Star Wars, but they also inherit Indiana Jones which could be the undervalued asset in this deal. I already envision another adventure with Indy, as well as a Pixar remake of “The Land Before Time”, another story in this deal. After Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, we saw the growth of Marvel characters in individual movies, and as a collective in this past summers “The Avengers”. If any company can develop content from assets, it’s Disney.
Aside from movies, what will Disney do with Lucasfilm? Here are my thoughts.
Disney has a solid channel of distribution, and i imagine that they will expand on any current licensing agreements that Lucasfilm has in consumer products.
If you read the full press release of the announcement, particularly read the excerpts from CFO Jay Rasulo.
“We also expect to utilize Star Wars in other businesses including Parks & Resorts”
I think this was the first step towards a major overhaul in Disney’s Parks & Resorts business. With the success of Marvel Entertainment, and the acquisition of Lucasfilm, I believe Disney is getting ready to expand one of it’s theme parks, possibly with it’s new Shanghai resort which is also set to launch in 2015.
Disney resorts have traditionally skewed towards the younger (0-15) and older (40+) demographics, but have not permeated the 16-29 demographic, aside from myself. I believe a theme park built around Marvel characters, and Star Wars is BOUND TO HAPPEN (hopefully in Orlando). This would be an innovative project, that Disney has the resources to handle. I can only imagine what the brains at Disney Imagineering are working on this morning, after the deal was finalized Yesterday.