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.
A little more than a year ago, I wrote about how I felt that a new Ghostbusters animated series was possible with the upcoming motion picture event that is Ghostbusters 3. I’m hoping that Bill Murray actually reads the script and says he’ll do the film. Not only will it satisfy my want for another film in the series, but it’ll also give a lot of people work this year.
I read something else that made me excited today, though, and that is the announcement of the monthly publication of a Ghostbusters comic book. This is something that I have been hoping for, and the reason that I bought all of the Ghostbusters comics that have been released within the last few years. IDW has finally decided to make it a monthly series, though, and it seems that fan favorite artist Dapper Dan is going to have a hand in it, if not be the series’ artist for a few issues. I really like his style. It evokes thoughts of what an animated series would look like if it were based on his artistic style. I have a feeling that it would be just different enough from The Real Ghostbusters to make it a new, and not derivative, series that is distinct and original.
More exciting news on the Ghostbusters 3 development. Ivan Reitman has confirmed that the screenplay is complete for the third Ghostbusters film, which he believes could be the best of the three. While I don’t doubt that it could be, I think it’s going to be a very tough mark to reach. Depending on what point of view you take, it could be the best in terms of effects, story, cinematography or laughs. There are any number of variables that it could be the best at.
However, I’ve written in the past about Ghostbusters 3: Thoughts and Feelings on Continuing the Series, and I highly recommend you read it as it has garnered a lot of positive response from fans in some Ghostbusters fan forums. It’s going to be tough to even live up to our expectations, let alone top all of them. There will be those of us that find the new film can only sit in the shadow of the original. There will also be many that feel the new one far overshadows the old (and most of those sentiments will come from younger fans that didn’t grow up with the original).
I admire the confidence, though, and can’t wait to see if it does hold up to things that I have heard about it.
CS: The whole Sigourney Weaver thing about her son taking over and Bill Murray coming back as a ghost…
Reitman: Oh, no, yeah… I mean, Sigourney Weaver has a role in this movie. All the original characters have parts. As well as a whole bunch of new characters… it’s got a really good story, this one. Maybe the best of the whole series. I hope we get to do it.
I’ve read some really interesting things just now about both Ghostbusters 3 and Ghostbusters: The Video Game. I wanted to bring some things to light that might have been missed, which I feel are worth repeating, as well as highlighting:
Even [Bill] Murray returned – not with a hatful of diva demands, but wanting an assurance that Winston Zeddemore, the underwritten black character from the movies, would be elevated to full status.
In NTSC regions such as the United States, Atari is handling distribution of the game, and it WILL be released on time on ALL consoles on June 16th.
In PAL regions such as the United Kingdom, Sony is handling distribution of the game and ONLY releasing it on PS3, PS2 and PSP on June 19th, and Wii, DS and 360 in Fall 2009.
Sony has a history of bad moves like this. Read the rest of this entry »