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.
Ed is another one of those shows that is being held up because of the music that they used in the show. Over the years there have been some rumors about work being done on the DVD, but lately those rumors have become increasingly pessimistic toward any sort of release at all.
While everyone seems to want The Wonder Years, that is at least available on Netflix streaming. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of Ed, which is one of the best TV shows ever made. It deserves a release onto home video.
Produced by Worldwide Pants, this show features Tom Cavanagh as Ed Stevens, a contracts lawyer at a high-profile New York City firm. Around the same time he splits with his wife (she slept with a mailman), he makes a single error in punctuation when going over a contract; and because of the resulting financial loss to the firm, he’s fired. Despondent, he heads back to his (small) hometown of Stuckeyville — ‘Anytown’, USA. There he realizes he’s been missed by a lot of friends whom he’s missed; and he sees Carol (Julie Bowen), the girl he’d adored in high school. Swept up in roiling emotions, Ed buys the local bowling alley on a whim, moves to Stuckeyville, and determines to win Carol’s heart. His horizons broaden as he settles once more in Stuckeyville, and the series itself settles into a charming, funny, often serious slice-of-life series focused not solely on Ed but on the lovable ensemble cast of people who live and work with him in Stuckeyville.
Bandslam released last summer to very little fanfare. In fact, the marketing of the movie was absolutely horrible. Every trailer for it was worse than the last, and the film had been retitled a number of times. For a while it was called Will and then Rock On and then finally Bandslam. The title Will is the most fitting, however, as it really is about his character, and is told from his perspective.
I highly recommend that you get a copy of it. Rent it, buy it, and spread the word to friends that you’ve discovered the best sleeper film of 2009.
You can read my review from when I saw it about nine days in advance of the release date: Bandslam Review
The Wonder Years
Here’s a show that has many hurdles to overcome to ever be released on DVD and Blu-ray. It is a fantastic show that deserves a great release with interviews and features galore. The show would be an instant hit on DVD, and could potentially help to bring back some of the DVD market that has hit a slump with the current recession. I think that the time to restore all of the footage should be taken to make the release worth owning.
Turtles Forever – The mere premise of it was mind-blowing. A feature length adventure featuring a team up of the TMNT team of the 80′s-early 90′s cartoon as well as the 90′s-early 00′s cartoon versions of the heroes. When I first heard about it, I couldn’t believe what I was reading was actually coming. Not only that, but I was surprised by just how soon it was going to be released! It was originally going to receive a theatrical screening, but plans for that fell through. Instead, it premiered on TV one Saturday morning.
There is no word of a DVD release yet, but the studio is working on it. It was created as a direct-to-DVD feature film, but since the rights to the TMNT have been sold to Nickelodeon, there are issues that need to be tied up.