Disney is trying to buy back the broadcast rights to Star Wars from Turner Broadcasting, which currently has them through 2024, says Bloomberg. They apparently want them for their own streaming service.
I admit that I am a bit doubtful, since it seems like streaming and broadcast rights for older titles ought to be separate? But I’m hardly an expert on this sort of minutiae, and Disney might want the exclusivity for their own service regardless of what the TBS/TNT deal allows.
TNT started showing the first two trilogies in September 2016, and got The Force Awakens this year. Rogue One is due in 2019 – if Disney doesn’t find the magic number to get them back, that is. The TNT deal was reportedly worth “at least $250 million” – Bloomberg pegs it as $275 million, and says TNT wants “programming to replace the lost films” as well.
Disney Music Group will re-release remastered versions of John Williams’ soundtracks for the first six Star Wars films on May 4. The soundtracks have been “reconstructed from new hi-resolution (24/192) transfers supervised by Shawn Murphy and Skywalker Sound.” They’re up for preorder now.
Columbia Sportswear is launching a limited edition Star Wars Echo Base collection. The three standard Han, Luke and Leia coats retail for $400 each and will available in limited quantities (only 1,980 of each) at certain brand retail locations in the U.S. and online on December 8.
A brown ‘archive’ edition of the Han coat will be an “extremely limited run,” signed by Harrison Ford himself. 100% of the proceeds from the sales will go to Conservation International. One of these will cost you even more – $1980.
If the rumor does pan out this time, it will at least be something worth building up for hype. (I can’t really see George showing up, even if this turns up to be false – he seemed uncomfortable at Celebration even when he owned the company. That said, I’ve been wrong before.)
Almost all home releases of the original trilogy since the early ’90s have been built on the restored and digitally tweaked Special Edition versions that were released in 1997. Transfers of the 1993 Laserdisc versions of the film appeared as extras on some 2006 DVDs, but many fans have been hoping for better quality ports for years now. I’m not particularly obsessive about it, and I own those DVDS, but as a member of the VHS generation I’d buy better versions in a heartbeat.
But, as always, Star Wars fans love to speculate, and anything to do with this issue is hotly debated, so keep your pants on. For now, anyway.
In the meantime, here’s fuzzy Youtube version of ‘Lapti Nek’ for the younglings who only know ‘Jedi Rocks.’ It’s ’80s-sleaze-a-riffic!
TNT and TBS will be the new basic cable home of the Star Wars franchise, per The Wrap. TNT will begin airing the first two trilogies later this month, beginning with The Phantom Menace on Tuesday, September 20. They’ll debut one film a night and finish up with a six-movie marathon on Sunday, September 25.
The multi-year licensing agreement also includes The Force Awakens (currently running on the premium channel Starz) and Rogue One. They’ll join the lineup in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Variety’s “industry sources” estimate the deal is worth “at least $250 million” for at least 10 films, with the rights for The Force Awakens and the upcoming movies in the range of $35-$40 million each. The deal runs through “at least” 2022. USA Network – which held the Star Wars basic cable rights back in the ’90s – and FX Networks were also in contention for the deal.
The original trilogy will be back on the big screen in a limited number of locations this August. The Alamo Drafthouse chain is sponsoring back-to-back showings of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi throughout the U.S. (And before you can ask: They will be the Special Editions.) The initial list of dates includes 16 venues, but it’s suppose to come to “more than 20 cities.”
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.