Atlanta’s Plaza, the state’s oldest continuously operating film palace, will open celebrations of its 75th anniversary on July 18 with an extremely rare screening of Star Wars: Episode IV, the first of the six films (for the moment) in the much beloved sci-fi movie cycle. That original Star Wars film came out in 1977, then underwent a substantial cleanup of its VFX and more during the Special Edition version that came out on the film’s 20th anniversary. Disney officials confirmed that the digital print being provided the Plaza will be based on the Special Edition version which got a wide release in 1997. The original 1977 was re-released in April of 1981.
But think of this, some of the tickets are going for $75 a pop.
A few years ago, during a special event spotlighting Star Wars’ visual effectsat the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, writer-director George Lucas said that he would never want to re-release the film’s original version featuring the old (though then ground-breaking) VFX, because the technological progress made in the ensuing decades allowed him to come closer to actually creating the movie that he saw in his own head. Whatever the version on screen, the original Star Wars hasn’t had a lot of runs in theaters in quite a while. But then again, when the movie came out, it stayed out, setting box office records and running in some theaters for more than a year (76 weeks(!) at one Beaverton, Ore., theater alone) as part of … Read More »
UPDATE 5:15 PM: Filmmaker George Lucas and wife Mellody Hobson have picked the future home for the planned Lucas cultural arts museum and….it’s not Los Angeles. Instead, the renamed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built on a 17-acre parking lot tucked alongside Lake Michigan between Chicago’s Soldier Field stadium and the city’s McCormick Place convention center, the couple announced today. The decision, which still needs ratification by the organization’s board and city approvals, comes despite a big push by the city of San Francisco and a rather light-hearted, very last-minute social-media campaign by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Los Angeles proposal would have put the museum in Exposition Park, across the street from Lucas alma mater the University of Southern California and already home to several museums and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Read More »
UPDATE, 11:55 AM:Rian Johnson hasn’t commented yet on his monumental new task of mounting the next two Star Wars films. Even better, he has borrowed the spirit of another space film, The Right Stuff, that perfectly explains how he must be feeling as he processes the daunting task ahead of him. I think he’s up to it. Glimpse it below Deadline’s original scoop.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 11:16 AM: Rarely have I seen the revival of a film franchise stir so much fervor as Star Wars, among hot young filmmakers who grew up loving George Lucas’ original film trilogy. In a bombshell move, I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground and is right now helming Episode VII. I don’t know too much more at this point, but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicle‘s Josh Trank and Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards.
Johnson will take over the core film franchise, and he’ll get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile. Technically, he’ll write that second treatment but the intention on both sides is … Read More »
Wherever should George Lucas and his wife build their new cultural arts museum? Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has an idea, and it turns out, so do a lot of other Angelenos. The mayor started a Twitter campaign last night, under the hashtag #WhyLucasInLA, to entice to the city the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum proposed by Mellody Hobson and her husband, filmmaker George Lucas. As part of his campaign, Garcetti urged people to tweet their reasons, along with an image, photo, video or other visual aid. Garcetti called on people to explain why the museum should come to Los Angeles instead of what he called in an email to supporters, “cold and rainy” Chicago and San Francisco. And yes, that image from the email is of the mayor holding a sign featuring the Star Wars droid R2-D2 with an “LA” logo across its, um, chest. The campaign was at least briefly a trending topic on Twitter in Los Angeles, inspiring the sardonic and the serious to chime in. Here are a few of the better reasons given: Read More »
After resurrectingThe Killing for a final season after its cancellation by AMC, Netflix is doing the same for Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The streaming service will debut a 13-episode sixth and final installment of the animated series on March 7. Titled The Lost Missions, the season promises to reveal “some of the deepest mysteries of the conflict between the light and the dark sides of the Force leading to a series finale.” An intrepid clone trooper discovers a shocking secret, Anakin Skywalker’s closest relationship is tested to its limits, and what Master Yoda discovers while investigating the disappearance of a Jedi could forever change the balance of power in the galaxy. Under the multi-year deal with Disney/ABC TV Group, Netflix will be the exclusive subscription service for the entire Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, including several director’s cut episodes never seen on TV, as well as the 2008 feature film. This marks the first time any Star Wars content has been available on Netflix. It also expands the fast growing relationship between Netflix and Lucasfilm parent Disney. A year ago, the two companies signed a groundbreaking output movie deal, the first time a major movie studio had chosen streaming vs. pay cable for its features. And recently, the companies sealed another unprecedented pact for four series and a miniseries from another marquee Disney label, Marvel. “The Clone Wars marks an important moment as Netflix welcomes … Read More »
George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled Lucasfilm‘s new regional headquarters today in the Southeast Asian city-state. The Sandcrawler building sits on a 22,500 square meter campus, which features a Yoda fountain, a 100-seat theater and state-of-the-art digital production capabilities, CNBC reported locally. Lucasfilm originally set up shop in Singapore in 2005 to produce digital animated content for film and television, VFX for feature films and multi-platform games. The studio houses the local divisions for Industrial Light & Magic, LucasArts and Lucasfilm Animation. The Sandcrawler will also be Disney and ESPN’s new regional HQ. According to The Straits Times, Kennedy said the facility is working on such films as Avengers 2, Jurassic World and Transformers: Age Of Extinction, among others. She noted, “When we first opened our Singapore studio in 2005, the local digital production landscape looked very different. It was relatively small, with a limited talent pool and virtually no visual effects work being done. By investing in local talent, we’ve been able to significantly grow our Singapore studio into a world-class digital production facility.” (Other digital media companies with a base in the growing hub include Electronic Arts, Double Negative and Ubisoft.) There are about 360 employees now at Lucasfilm Singapore, which also operates … Read More »
A warehouse serving as a shipping and receiving facility at George Lucas‘ Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA was damaged today during an early-morning fire. The 6000-plus acre ranch houses Skywalker Sound and several agricultural facilities along with the 50,000-square-foot main house (pictured). A Marin County fire Battalion Chief Mike Giannini told the Marin Independent Journal the damage was minimum to moderate and involved office furniture, supplies and part of the structure’s roof; CBS’ San Francisco station said damages were estimated at $25,000. The fire was reported at 4:08 AM and contained by 5:15 AM, with the ranch’s own fire brigade responding first. Officials said an electric motor in an exhaust fan in the ceiling might be to blame but the cause remains under investigation.
George Lucas, Tony Kushner and Elaine May are among the honorees for the 2012 National Medal of Arts that will be presented by President Barack Obama next week at the White House. Lucas is being honored for his contributions to American cinema. “By combining the art of storytelling with boundless imagination and cutting-edge techniques, Mr. Lucas has transported us to new worlds and created some of the most beloved and iconic films of all time”, according to the award citation released today by the White House. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright-screenwriter Kushner (Angels In America) will be honored for his contributions to American theater and film. “Whether for the stage or the silver screen, his scripts have moved audiences worldwide, marrying humor to fury, history to fantasy, and the philosophical to the personal” the White House said. May will be honored for her contributions to American comedy. The 2012 National Humanities Medal recipients also will be honored. They include author Joan Didion, playwright Anna Deavere Smith and sports editor/writer Frank Deford. President Obama will present the awards next Wednesday in a ceremony in the White House East Room.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas participated in a panel yesterday to open USC‘s new Interactive Media Building in LA. Alum Lucas’ foundation contributed $45M of the $50M cost of the new digs, which is part of the School Of Cinematic Arts. The pair predicted a paradigm shift for movies that Spielberg says will begin after several mega-budgeted tentpoles “crash to the ground” (he used the terms “implosion” and “meltdown” to describe it). In the future, Lucas posits, there will be fewer films in fewer theaters, tickets will cost $50-$150 apiece, and everything else will end up in your living room. From CNBC:
George Lucas was asked by Bloomberg Businessweek if the three members of the original Star Wars cast would return for Episode VII. His response — “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” Pausing, he said “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.” But he did add, “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.” Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported yesterday that Fisher told Palm Beach Illustrated magazine on the record that she would be back as Princess Leia. We’ll see. Disney confirmed in January that J.J. Abrams would direct Star Wars: Episode VII. Abrams, his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are producing along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney/Lucasfilm banner.
UPDATE 7:10 PM:Walt Disney Co today registered with the SEC that George Lucas now has a $2.02 billion stake in the company in conjunction with the $4.1B cash and stock acquisition of LucasFilm in December. Lucas now owns 37.1 million Disney shares or 2.1% of the entertainment giant. This registration form is standard stuff and what companies must file when there’s a new offering of securities that may become available to the public. (In this case, Lucas’ stock.) But Bloomberg overreacted and at first incorrectly reported that the Star Wars creator was planning on selling all those shares. Both LucasFilm’s and Disney’s spokespeople immediately denied the report. (I hear one especially exercised Disney insider called Bloomberg and asked, “Are you fucking crazy?”) Yet morons at media outlets like The Hollywood Reporter sent out news alerts saying “George Lucas To Sell All His Disney Shares” aping the Bloomberg content. (But Deadline’s cautious headline at 6:10 PM read: ‘George Lucas’ Disney Shares Registered For Possible Sale: Bloomberg’ until I became involved.)
Don’t reporters realize that headlines can move financial markets? Or know that any one person unloading that much stock would have to do a separate SEC filing? Lucas has said that he plans to donate proceeds from the sale of Lucasfilm to education. But the registration form doesn’t suggest any sale is imminent. In fact, it says (the underlining is mine):
“The selling security holder has not advised us of any current plans, arrangements or understandings between any selling security
Disney CEO Bob Iger seemed torn this evening between wanting to hype the spinoff Star Wars films he just announced and wanting to keep expectations under control. They are still in the very early stages, he told analysts: “I don’t have details or specifics about the films themselves,” he says. The concept is simply “becoming more real” with scripts now in development. “We’re not saying how many although I did mention two creators [Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg] who are working on two different films.” He and producer George Lucas spoke about the idea of having additional films when they negotiated Disney’s $4.1B agreement to buy Lucasfilm, which closed in December. But “we did not place a value on this activity.” The deal “was about the three saga films [Star WarsVII, VIII and IX] and all of the businesses that flow from those.” To that end, at a meeting a few weeks ago, he and Lucas agreed to focus their energies for now on the next Star Wars film due in 2015. They plan to investigate strategies to squeeze as much money from it as they can, including initiatives involving online, mobile apps, television, and parks and resorts. He wouldn’t discuss when they’ll appear, saying that “time will start exposing that to the outside world.” Read More »
Kasdan scripted two of the original Star Wars films in the 1980 The Empire Strikes Back and the 1983 follow-up Return of the Jedi. He also scripted Raiders Of The Lost Ark for Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Kinberg’s franchise work: X-Men: The Last Stand, Sherlock Holmes and the upcoming X-Men: Days Of Future Past which Bryan Singer will direct. Read More »
They haven’t announced it officially yet, but my geek brethren are over it like a fat kid on a piece of cake. Director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas have set Raiders Of The Lost Ark to be released for an exclusive one-week engagement in select IMAX theatres beginning September 7, 2012. This falls just before the Blu-ray release of the Indiana Jones movies, which will go on sale Sept. 18. Isn’t it nice when Hollywood occasionally goes the extra mile to give grand treatment for a movie we want to see, as opposed to the 3D conversions of all the Star Wars movies. Here’s an idea. Do all the early Spielberg movies on IMAX, starting with The Duel and ending with…you know what, do all of them! I promise I will show up. Then, do Scorsese. And for that matter, who wouldn’t sit through IMAX releases of Godfather and Godfather 2?
BREAKING… Kathleen Kennedy has been named co-chair of Lucasfilm. Founder George Lucas will become co-chair of the company’s board and stay on as CEO. As part of the deal, seven-time Oscar nominee Kennedy will step down from her post as co-head of the Kennedy/Marshall Co production company, leaving it to Frank Marshall to run.
The move seems a bit bizarre. Kennedy/Marshall days ago made an overall TV deal at CBS, and Kennedy has produced big Steven Spielberg films while Marshall has The Bourne Legacy coming. Lucas, by comparison, seems to mostly continue to find ways to squeeze revenue out of his tired Star Wars films. He excutive produced the passion project Red Tails (Anthony Hemingway directed), which was not a box office hit and seems to be veering toward retirement or making personal films the way his pal Francis Ford Coppola does now. Lucas has all the money he needs, but it seems unclear exactly what Kennedy will be running. We were unable to get clarity on what will happen to Lucasfilm or Kennedy/Marshall, as we were told Kennedy would be unavailable to speak with Deadline. Kennedy/Marshall has a first-look deal with Spielberg at DreamWorks and sources have said they expect it to be business as usual under Marshall. But Kennedy used to be one of the smarter producers in town though her recent movies have underperformed at the box office to the detriment of her reputation: nevertheless, the loss may have an impact. Read More »
George Lucas wants to make “experimental” movies, not blockbusters anymore. The Star Wars and Indiana Jones creator told UK publication Empire Magazine that “I’m moving away from all my businesses, I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to make movies that were more experimental in nature, and not have to worry about them showing in movie theatres.” Read More »
“We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire, and if we are to stay on schedule we must act on those opportunities,” Lucasfilm said in a statement. Today’s decision by George Lucas to back out of the Grady Ranch project reportedly caught Marin County officials by surprise, according to the AP. The filmmaker long planned to build a digital studio near his Skywalker Ranch but the project ran into many years of objections and legal action from neighborhood groups. Local homeowners had voiced opposition to the project, which they said was inappropriate for their suburban community. The studio was going to house production facilities for Lucasfilm’s advanced media projects and now will find a new location instead.
Lucasfilm has spend more than 25 years trying to get the so-called Grady Ranch project underway, long before most of the digital technologies that would be employed at the studio were even conceived. But it always faced objections from local homeowners.