Explaining Southern California's economy

Disney-Lucasfilm: Now it's a $4 billion done deal

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

George Lucas meets a group of "Star Wars"-inspired Disney characters. Federal regulators just approved the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm.

The U.S.  government has given its OK to the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm for just over $4 billion.

Disney can now move forward with its plan to release "Episode VII" of the "Star Wars" saga, bring Star Wars characters into theme parks in a bigger way, and merchandise the heck out of Luke, Darth, Yoda, Boba, Chewie, Han, and the rest of the spacefaring gang.

Disney announced the acquisition in late October. For CEO Bob Iger, it completes a suite of deals, beginning with the $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar in 2006 and the $4 billion price for Marvel in 2009. 

Evidently, federal regulators don't believe, as many "Star Wars" fans seem to, that Disney will screw up one of the most lucrative and iconic franchises in all of entertainment.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

Read More...

Disney earnings: A good fourth quarter, but old problems remain

disney disneyland

Photo by KeithJ via Flickr Creative Commons

The Happiest Place on Earth continues to bring in profits for Disney, which is making money on theme parks but losing money on movies.

Disney just reported earnings for its fourth quarter and financials for its fiscal year. Fourth-quarter earnings were basically in line with expectations, even though the entertainment giant — which just spent $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm and the "Star Wars" franchise — didn't quite bring in as much revenue as analysts wanted, for the second consecutive quarter. Still, profits were up and a $10-billion-plus quarter isn't too shabby.

Overall, the company reported a three percent increase in revenue year-over-year. 

However — and it's a big howeverDisney continues to struggle with both its movie and interactive businesses. Year-over-year, broadcast, theme parks, and consumer products revenues were all up — with parks up by 10 percent. Studio entertainment and interactive revenues were both down year-over year — with interactive posting a 14 percent loss for both the quarter and the fiscal year.

Read More...

Is Lucasfilm the last nail in the Disney filmmaking coffin?

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

George Lucas meets a group of "Star Wars"-inspired Disney characters. Disney just bought Lucas' company, Lucasfilm, for $4.05 billion.

Sorry to get to a Halloween headline a few days late, but Erica Orden had a very good piece in the Wall Street Journal Thursday about how Disney's $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm, announced this week, will basically place in-house filmmaking at the feet of CEO Bob Iger's purchases: Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel for $4 billion in 2009.

Here's Orden:

With the new "Disney-Lucasfilm" brand set to release a "Star Wars" sequel every other year beginning in 2015, the original studio is likely to face an even-further-reduced capacity to produce and distribute its own live-action fare. In total, Disney distributes roughly a dozen films each year.

Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger indicated this week that the coming "Star Wars" films will supplant Disney movies on the release schedule. Disney doesn't plan to spend more than it already does on film production, Mr. Iger said, meaning each new "Star Wars" film will lead to one less Disney film.

Read More...

Video: Darth Vader celebrates being bought by Disney by going to Disneyland

Just watch. It's a pretty hilarious riff on the recently announced $4.05-billion deal for Disney to buy Lucasfilm, and with it "Star Wars" and its 17,000 characters, of which Darth Vader is perhaps the most iconic.

He even seems to have developed a newfound patience for princesses. Wonder if Leia will be Disney's newest intergalatic princess, by the way?

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

Read More...

Did Disney overpay for Lucasfilm — or get a great deal?

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

Handout/Getty Images

George Lucas poses with a group of "Star Wars"-inspired Disney characters. Disney is buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion and with it, the "Star Wars" franchise.

Did you hear? Disney just announced that it's buying "Star Wars" — I mean Lucasfilm — for $4.05 billion. That sounds like a lot, but people are already raising questions about whether the financial upside to owning one of the most famous entertainment franchises of all time is really there for the Mighty Mouse and Disney CEO Bob Iger. 

We have two main lines of thinking. One is that, in the context of Disney and Iger's previous blockbuster acquisitions — Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel for $4 billion in 2009 — Lucasfilm, even if it comes with an influential special effects operation, looks curiously undervalued. I noted this in my post yesterday when I observed that Disney, in announcing the deal, tallied the all-time film grosses for "Star Wars" at $4.4 billion. That's just movies. Wouldn't that mean - when you take into account all the toys and games and just endless amounts of Star-Wars-y stuff - that the property is worth billions more? 

Read More...