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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

George Lucas Will Use Disney $4 Billion to Fund Education




Spokesperson for Lucasfilm tells THR the majority of the sale price will go toward educational philanthropy.

After that, Lucas plans to quickly put the bulk of the money into a foundation which will primarily focus on educational issues, a spokesperson for Lucasfilm tells THR.

“George Lucas has expressed his intention, in the event the deal closes, to donate the majority of the proceeds to his philanthropic endeavors.”

It's not yet clear which foundation will get the proceeds. Lucas is currently the chairman of Edutopia, which is part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. He could put money into that or create a new foundation which would be funded from the sale.

The Foundation was the vehicle Lucas used to make a $175 million donation to his alma mater USC in 2006. He has also given to many other causes over the years including the Film Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“For 41 years, the majority of my time and money has been put into the company,” Lucas said in a statement Wednesday. “As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.”

Read More: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-deal-george-lucas-will-384947



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Disney’s recent acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar show a successful hands-off approach



Naysayers would have you believe Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm can only mean one thing: Bambi and Mickey Mouse are sure to appear in future “Star Wars” movies taking up lightsabers against the dark side of the Force.

Not so, say experts who’ve watched Disney’s recent acquisition strategy closely. If anything, The Walt Disney Co. has earned credibility with diehard fans by keeping its fingerprints off important film franchises like those produced by its Marvel Entertainment and Pixar divisions.

Though the Walt Disney Co. built its reputation on squeaky clean family entertainment, its brand today is multifaceted. Disney, of course, started as an animation studio in 1923 with characters such as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse. Over the years, the company ventured into live action movies, opened theme parks, launched a fleet of cruise ships and debuted shows on TV.

$40.9 billion in annual revenue and a market value of $88 billion.
 Disney bought Capital Cities/ABC in 1995 for $19 billion,
Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006, Marvel for $4.2 billion in 2009 and this week
Lucasfilm and the “Star Wars” franchise for $4.05 billion.

“Iron Man 2,” ‘’Thor,” ‘’Captain America” and  “The Avengers,” one giant film that grossed $1.5 billion

Rick Marshall, a journalist and blogger who writes about the comic book and movie industries, was skeptical when Disney bought Marvel. But his doubts quickly melted when it was clear Disney wouldn’t taint the Marvel universe by getting too involved.

Owning Marvel also gives Disney a steady flow of super hero cartoons for its pay TV channel, Disney XD. These kind of logistical savings allow Disney to profit from ownership while not interfering in the creative process.

“Marvel does seem like it’s running pretty independently and staying pretty close to its roots,” said Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible.

It’s in Disney’s best interest to maintain the integrity of film franchises that come with a built-in fan base. Disney chief Iger has said the plan is for “Star Wars” live-action movies to replace others that may be in development, and to keep its production slate at a modest 7 to 10 movies per year.

“I think Disney’s intention is that it just doesn’t want to get in the way of a great asset,” said Morningstar analyst Michael Corty.

Read More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/disneys-recent-acquisitions-of-marvel-pixar-show-a-successful-hands-off-approach/2012/10/31/9893c76c-23a2-11e2-92f8-7f9c4daf276a_story.html




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New Magic in the Making at Walt Disney World Resort



From flying over Never Land to taking a spin in a tea cup, Fantasyland has been home to some of our guests’ favorite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort since opening day. So when we set out to reinvent the most popular land at our most popular Disney destination, we knew that it had to be something truly spectacular – and I’m proud to say that New Fantasyland is exactly that.

Last Friday, I toured the construction site as we complete the finishing touches for our official opening on December 6, and while the entire expansion is extraordinary, there are a few aspects in particular that I think will be huge hits with our guests.

Part of what makes Disney Parks so special is our ability to connect people with the Disney characters and stories they love. With Enchanted Tales with Belle, we’re doing that in a magical new way. Guests will enter Belle’s cottage, step through an enchanted mirror and be transported to the world of “Beauty and the Beast,” where they’ll help Lumiere, Belle and The Wardrobe recreate “the tale as old as time” by becoming part of the story themselves. Our Imagineers have brought these characters to life in ways that are sure to delight guests both young and old.
One of the hallmarks of a great Disney experience is the meticulous attention to detail that goes into the worlds we create, and the queue for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid is another fantastic example of “the more you look, the more you see.” Before taking a voyage under the sea with Ariel and her friends, guests can explore the caves and grottos in and around Prince Eric’s castle, interacting playfully with Scuttle and a few of his friends along the way. The rockwork that’s been done is spectacular, and the paintings that adorn the vaults beneath the castle help draw visitors to New Fantasyland even further into the story of the beloved animated film.

One of the most gratifying aspects of this expansion is the way that our new attractions, entertainment, merchandise and food offerings all come together to create a singular experience that is a worthy addition to a park as iconic as Magic Kingdom Park. The result is only possible through the hard work and the collaboration from people across Disney Parks and Resorts, and I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished. We can’t wait to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover the new stories, new adventures and new magic that will help them make shared memories that last a lifetime.






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Disney Deal Timing Not Exactly Magical for Wall Street



Wall Street is movie material for Hollywood, but when it comes to deal-making, Hollywood can do without the center of finance just fine. Or so it seemed Tuesday afternoon, when Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co. DIS -1.92% announced plans to buy the Star Wars franchise from director George Lucas for $4.05 billion – even as parts of New York, including the financial district, remained flooded, shut and without power in the wake of mega-storm Sandy.

On a call to discuss the deal, Disney’s investor relations chief Lowell Singer apologized for “any inconvenience” to those who had dialed in on short notice given the storm. Then Disney chief Bob Iger started talking up the acquisition. The analysts on the call gamely jumped in, although there was more than the usual share of “can you hear me?” before they asked their questions of the Disney executives.

Read More: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2012/10/31/disney-deal-timing-not-exactly-magical-for-wall-street/



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Disney-owned 'Star Wars': Not your mother's Chewbacca



So will this new purchase mean a rewritten, happy ending for Darth Vader? Will the Evil Empire enter the Death Star in a flying-car race?

We really don't know. Disney certainly made a good thrill ride out of "Star Wars." But no matter what it does with its new powers over Wookiees, clones and The Force itself, it's worth remembering that nostalgia itself can be overdone, and that what George Lucas himself did to the franchise with his overly explicated prequel series, and with the serious mistake of creating (and letting his children name) Jar Jar Binks, didn't exactly do a great deal to enhance the quality of what was, to start with, an exhilarating ride into hyperspace but not perhaps the best written or acted movies around.

What's classic to today's 6-year-olds is the ride as it exists.

And if people don't like the new Disneyfied version of the old story, they can cozy up at home with old tapes of Luke racing along in his Landspeeder (which has been a Lego for about forever, anyway). Assuming they can still find a working VCR.

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-disney-lucas-star-wars-20121031,0,5714251.story




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Pros Pick: Disney-Lucasfilm vs. PVH-Warnaco




Najarian said that the PVH [PVH  109.99     18.49  (+20.21%)   ]-Warnaco [WRC  70.58     19.70  (+38.72%)   ] deal was not surprising but that the Lucasfilm-Disney [DIS  49.12     -0.96  (-1.92%)   ] deal was somewhat unexpected, adding that he expected Disney to expand the “Star Wars” brand into amusement park rides and more movies.

“I actually prefer the Disney deal,” he said, adding that Disney had the expertise to grow the Lucasfilm properties, “turning them into franchise-transforming deals.”

Read More: http://www.cnbc.com/id/49541182



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'Wreck-It Ralph' might be the right prince to reawaken Disney as an animated-feature studio to reckon with.




It's a fast-paced comedy designed to appeal to both joystick jockeys of yore and the remote-waving Wii generation. And it does for a gaming arcade what 1995's Toy Story, the first-ever digital-animated feature, did for a kid's bedroom: expose a secret world populated with fully realized characters and filled with humor, heart and a flashy arsenal of cutting-edge visuals.

- Fix-It Felix is a primitive 8-bit game, much like Donkey Kong, where Ralph does his wrecking.

- The more sophisticated Sugar Rush is a racing competition similar to Mario Kart with an anime-influenced confectionary theme (including such hazards as Nesquik sand and eruptions caused by Mentos dropped in cola) and a brash imp named Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by sassy comic Sarah Silverman).

- Hero's Duty is a high-def first-person-shooter adventure starring the statuesque Marine Sgt. Calhoun (a take-no-prisoners Jane Lynch of Glee) with a Cy-Bug egg hatchery that is the eye-dazzling equal of any alien effect in Prometheus.

Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2012/10/31/wreckitralph-disney-movie-animation/1667373/





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The Math Behind Disney’s Star Wars Deal




$4 billion for his Star Wars empire. That all depends, of course, on whether people want to see the next three Star Wars movies Disney says it is lining up. It’s a tricky bit of guesstimating.

If a new generation of kids like this stuff, then Disney is in good shape. For starters, he figures Lucasfilm does $860 million in revenue a year right now.

The you guess what kind of performance Disney will get from the new movies. If each of the next three three movies does “Avengers”-like numbers, they’ll generate $1.5 billion at the box office, $2.8 billion overall, and generate $1 billion each in profits, and the deal works out for Bob Iger and his successor.

Is all that doable? Yes!

Read More: http://allthingsd.com/20121031/the-math-behind-disneys-star-wars-deal/?reflink=ATD_yahoo_ticker





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The Journey of Anakin Skywalker (video)


StarWars.com posted this great video of the boy who would bring balance to the Force.


Star Wars: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker

Slave. Hero. Villain. Savior. Revisit the stunning journey of Anakin Skywalker -- the central figure of the Star Wars saga -- in this special video presentation. 

More at StarWars.com.

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Happy Halloween From the Characters of "Disney - Wreck-It Ralph"


Wreck-It Ralph is in theaters in 3D November 2, 2012.

Like Wreck-It Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WreckItRalph

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Official Site: http://disney.go.com/Wreck-It-Ralph/

Wreck-It Ralph (voice of Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game's perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes... so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan—win a medal—but soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph's only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Silverman), a young troublemaking "glitch" from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it's "Game Over" for the entire arcade?

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501st Legion Issues a Statement About the Purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney


Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm is a momentous change for the future direction of the Star Wars franchise. Like all Star Wars fans, the members of the 501st are excited about the prospect of seeing brand new Star Wars films on the big screen, and we welcome the longevity that those films will grant to the entire saga. We will eagerly await the release of these new adventures in the Star Wars galaxy.

We have a long-standing and valuable relationship with Lucasfilm, and a solid foundation with Disney through our appearances at Star Wars Weekends and in support of Star Tours. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with LFL and Disney and are equally excited by the possibility of future opportunities for the expansion of the Star Wars universe worldwide.

The 501st Legion will always be "the bad guys who do good," and we are certain that our charitable mission to spread the magic of Star Wars to children of all ages around the world will continue for years to come.

Thank you,
501st Legion - Vader's Fist

Kris Kuipers
TK-6247
Legion Commanding Officer

Brian Troyan
TK-8968
501st Legion Public Relations Officer

www.501st.com

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Haunted Mansions at Disney Parks Around the World


The Haunted Mansion has always been my absolute favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World Resort, and what day better to celebrate it than today? In honor of this Halloween holiday, let’s take a look at all the Disney Parks Haunted Mansions around the globe.

The first Haunted Mansion was, of course, the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland park, which opened its doors in New Orleans Square in 1969. Here, theme park guests were first introduced to “Ghost Host” Paul Frees, and boarded Doombuggies in the hopes of sighting some of the mansion’s 999 happy haunts.

When Magic Kingdom Park opened at the Walt Disney World Resort on October 1, 1971, The Haunted Mansion was one of the park’s opening-day attractions. Located in the Liberty Square area of the park, this mansion offered a totally unique exterior reminiscent of an 18th-century manor.

The first Haunted Mansion attraction to open in Asia did so at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. This attraction, which now features a Holiday Nightmare (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”-style) overlay at this time of the year, is located in the Fantasyland area of the park.

The newest Haunted Mansion attraction, named Phantom Manor, opened at Disneyland Paris April 12, 1992, in the Frontierland area of the park. This attraction features a slightly different backstory that focuses on the Ravenswoods – a family of Western settlers who struck it rich during the gold rush and were later affected by a series of mysterious demises.





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Robert Iger to Wall Street



Rasulo says Disney spent a long time studying the potential of the acquisition and doing pro forma revenue and profit analysis before making the deal. With the value set on Star Wars alone, other Lucasfilm efforts like the Indiana Jones movie franchise, a robust games division, (premiere special effects company) Industrial Light & Magic and (Oscar winning post production house) Skywalker Sound are all a bonus.

Iger said Disney's experience acquiring Pixar, which made them a top brand for children again,  and then Marvel, which pushed them to the top level in action heroes, has shown they know how to grow and exploit these big franchises. “We believe we can do great things with these assets as well,” added Iger.

“This will fit perfectly into the Disney portfolio (of properties),” Rasulo added.

One area in which Disney made very conservative projections, Rasulo says, was in home entertainment, where the market has been trending downward for several years. He said they assumed in their planning for that market to continue to decrease as a source of revenue, even with the gradual shift from physical media to electronic delivery of content.

Disney plans to greatly expand the kinds of licensing well beyond toys, and will do a major push into the rapidly growing international markets. Disney will also use its own divisions to handle those sales – including featuring Star Wars products in Disney stores – which means they can eliminate the middlemen and ramp up their revenue and profits in the consumer merchandising arena.

Rasulo said in 2012, Lucasfilm revenue from licensing and merchandising will be around $215 million, which is roughly equal to what Marvel was doing when they acquired that brand in 2009. Since then Marvel has seen big increases in consumer product sales and Disney expects the same to happen with Star Wars.

Iger says they also think there is huge growth opportunities for the Star Wars franchise on their television networks, including ABC and the cable networks. Most notably, he says, they think it will be able to use Star Wars on Disney XD, the cable network targeted at boys which unlike the Disney Channel does take advertising.

When asked why George Lucas decided to sell, Iger says Lucas told him he wants to retire, and that bringing in Kathleen Kennedy to run Lucasfilm was part of his plan to step back from the business he has spent four decades creating.

Read More: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/robert-iger-wall-street-disney-384543





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Disney Purchases Lucasfilm - Hear the Investor Conference Call Audio


Audio from the Oct. 30 Disney Investors Conference Call

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.


Disney Purchases Lucasfilm - Here the Investor Conference Call Audio

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."

Read more of the official press release at:
http://www.jedimouseketeer.com/2012/10/disney-to-acquire-lucasfilm-ltd-for-40...

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CHEWBACCA & JAR JAR BINKS The Force is Strong with Disney



Peter Mayhew  tells us, “I have no doubt Disney will respect and continue the legacy of Lucasfilm. I have worked with Disney for many years during their Star Wars Weekends Celebration and seen how much they love the films and the fans.”

Mayhew -- who currently runs the Peter Mayhew Foundation for special needs and at-risk children -- says he's impressed by the way Disney involved Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee in the "Avengers" movies. "[Disney] has an excellent track record for listening to the creator's voice."

And Chewie ain't the only "Star Wars" character on board ... we also spoke with Ahmed Best -- the voice of Jar Jar Binks -- who tells us, "George has always been a hero and a mentor. I am happy that the saga will continue."

Daniel Logan – who played young Boba Fett in Episode II – adds, "I think Disney acquiring Lucasfilm is a wonderful thing! There are exciting times ahead for Star Wars fans!”   http://chewbacca.com/

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2012/10/31/chewbacca-star-wars-disney-peter-mayhew/#ixzz2AtOW6Ei2





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Lucas saves millions in taxes by selling before Dec 31st



 $4.05 billion: 5 percentage point tax increase represents a higher tax tab of about $200 million — and that's just the capital gains tax. The 40 million shares of Disney (NYSE: DIS) stock, which would avoid capital gains.

Then there's the 3.8 percent Medicare surtax on investment income, including capital gains, that kicks in next year.

Plus the $5 million gift-tax exemption drops to $1 million, prompting several business owners of far lesser means than Lucas to decide now is the time to sell what took a lifetime to build.

Jan. 1, which Congress: the federal government is coping with promises it has made to the 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day. That's a lot of people expecting Social Security and Medicare benefits.


Read More: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2012/10/disney-lucas-fiscal-cliff-taxes-medicare.html?page=all





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Lucasfilm, Disney deal won't impact Letterman Digital Arts Center


                                                         Letterman Digital Arts Center

Lucasfilm should not have any immediate impact on the 850,00- square-foot Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco's Presidio National Park, according to real estate brokers who lease space in the complex.

The Letterman Digital Arts Center, which operates the bucolic four-building campus, is a separate entity from Lucasfilm. In fact, there are more than a dozen separate Lucasfilm-related companies that each pay rent to the center. Disney will take over the rent payments the various Lucasfilm companies make to the Letterman Digital Arts Center, a partnership that includes Star Wars and Lucasfilm creator George Lucas.

Letterman Digital Arts Center is in year 10 of an 80 year ground lease on the 23-acre property. Various companies affiliated with Lucasfilm occupy about 600,000 square feet of the complex. The rest of the space is occupied by everything from hedge funds to real estate to headhunting firms. The JLL leasing team has done nine deals in the complex over the past few months, most of it filling space that Babcock & Brown vacated when it went bankrupt in 2009.

Letterman Digital Arts Center pays a rent of $5.8 million annually to the Presidio National Trust, an amount that will increase over time.

Read More: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2012/10/lucasfilm-disney-deal-wont-impact.html





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