Variety reports that Disney began pitching the free TV rights – technically basic cable – on the Star Wars films last week, for all three trilogies. The asking price on is claimed to be “high” – even for the “vintage” titles. Movie rights are worth less and less to networks these days, but Star Wars seems to be an exception.
Spike TV held the Star Wars rights through 2014, paying $65-$70 million for six years and six films. The Indiana Jones films went for about $25M each in 2008.
Cable outlets who have met or are meeting with Disney include Turner, FX Networks, Viacom, NBCUniversal (which owns SyFy, which aired A New Hope when it first launched as the Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network, who had the rights to the original trilogy in the 90s,) A+E Networks and AMC Networks.
Variety cites speculation that the pitches to outside networks may be Disney’s way of seeing “what the market will bear” – aka covering their ass – before settling the rights on one of their own networks. (I’ve been expecting the films will indeed show up on Freeform.)
The Force Awakens will debut on Starz next year as the last film under the channel’s deal with Disney. TFA likely won’t show up on basic cable until 2018, while Episode VIII and IX will go to Netflix first under Disney’s current deal with the streaming service.
There were earlier rumors that Netflix may have tried to buy out Starz in order to debut all seven Star Wars at once, but they came to nothing. (Unless you happen to be in Canada, where Netflix will stream The Force Awakens – but no word on the rest of Star Wars, which is currently only available digitally for purchase.)
We still await word on when the older Star Wars films will return to basic cable – Spike TV’s previous deal is either already up or expires very soon, and in any case they haven’t aired the movies in a couple of years. My money is on Disney taking them to ABC Family/Freeform, which loves them a Harry Potter or Hunger Games marathon, but time will tell.
Now, I tend to assume that our readership is pretty up on their Star Wars, and write accordingly. But we all know some folks who are maybe a tad less obsessive. For them, I wrote a no-bullshit primer to Star Wars over at my personal blog. It’s a starter pack that gives the basics (and a few links) on what we know about The Force Awakens, but it also touches on the 6 earlier movies.
There’s only 10 days (give or take a few) and one weekend to The Force Awakens. Make sure your pals are caught up!
The first six Star Wars movies are getting yet another Blu-ray makeover. The limited edition commemorative steelbooks look neat, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll have any new content. The ‘Complete Saga’ collection is also getting a facelift for re-release.
The steelbooks will be available for preorder on August 7 for a November 10 release, and the Complete Saga collection of all six films (so far) will drop on October 13.