About a year ago, Disney made the ultimate purchase. One that made my dreams of seeing more Star Wars films on the big screen possible. They bought Lucasfilm. It was this purchase that has actually completed a project that I am now convinced was the plan from the time they bought the Jim Henson Company back in 2004 for an undisclosed amount somewhere around $200 million. It was actually a much longer journey as Disney had originally purchased distribution rights to all of the Jim Henson Company productions way back in 1991. It took until September of 2008 before Disney finally rebranded the Muppets Holding Company as Muppet Studios, and placed it under new leadership.
With phase one complete, it was time to begin work on phase two: the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. This was a massive purchase costing $4.24 billion. Disney needed to get control of Marvel Productions, and this was one way that they could do so. They didn’t want to have any red-tape, even though they very likely had all of the rights they needed thanks to the acquisition of the Muppets.
Lastly, they needed the final piece of the equation. They needed the footage that was used from both Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. And the best way to do that? Spend $4.06 billion on the purchase of Lucasfilm. That brought in both franchises.
With the total cost being about $8.5 billion, Disney is very close to being able to achieve their ultimate goal: the release of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray. I had been thinking about the overall purchases that Disney was making, and one day it dawned on me that all of these things were connected. And with a little bit of research, I found that I wasn’t the only one to think of this.
From what I can gather, the only thing left standing in their way is a simple licensing of some footage from Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures. Unless they plan on purchasing the rights to the Ghostbusters franchise (which I’d have no problem with, as they seem to just do everything right with the franchises they acquire). There are also bits from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which belong to Paramount, among a few other things. It seems to me that we’re as close as ever, and so is Disney.
That’s a pretty large investment so far, though, and I hope that the eventual release of this classic masterpiece of animation works out for them, and they make back the billions they’ve spent in gathering the exclusive rights to the series.
As readers of this blog may already know, I’m a pretty big fan of The Muppets. I thought the last film, 2011′s The Muppets was a return to form, and the first that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since 1999′s Muppets from Space. With the sequel The Muppets…Again! in production now, they’ve been making more appearances. It’s a great way to keep them near front of mind when the trailers for the new movie start to appear.
On April 28, 2013, at 7:30 PM ET/PT, The Muppets are going to make one of those appearances: stopping by the Duncan family’s home on Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie.
Since the announcement that Disney bought Lucasfilm, there has been a wide range of reactions to it, from the very optimistic and positive, to the stunningly negative and outrageous. There are many reasons to be optimistic though, and I feel there are no valid arguments against Disney at this point. Within the few years, Disney has made some pretty smart moves with their acquisitions. Let’s take a look at that to see why Star Wars is safe in the House of Mouse.
The sequel to 2011′s The Muppets, called Muppets…Again! (aka The Muppets 2) has begun production in London. It will be in theaters on March 21, 2014. The Muppets was one of my favorite movies of 2011, so I’m very excited for this one, even though I’m not a very big fan of the human cast members this time around.
It finds the Muppet repertory company enjoying a triumphant world tour, only to become tangled up with a criminal mastermind named Constantine, who is out to steal an enormous diamond—and who happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit.
“I always loved those classic jewel-heist capers from the ’60s and ’70s, so I was very keen to do a movie that had elements of that [genre] featuring the Muppets and comedy and songs,” says returning director James Bobin, who co-wrote the script with Nicholas Stoller.
One of my favorite movies of 2011 was The Muppets. They’ve just announced a sequel, officially. Director James Bobin and writer Nicholas Stoller are set to return behind the camera, and it’s going to be a caper.
Walter, the new Muppet from the first film, will also appear in the cast. Jason Segel may cameo but his character’s story arc is complete so it’s not likely that he’ll be returning in a leading role.
I’m very hopeful that the sequel will continue what the first film started, having recaptured the magic of the early Muppet films in a way that we haven’t seen in many years, and many attempts by the Henson studios.