Fox Still Owns Rights to STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE; Box Set Releases Could Be Tricky

by     Posted 1 year, 263 days ago

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I woke up this morning to find that yesterday’s massive Star Wars: Episode VII news was, in fact, not a dream.  In a massive deal, George Lucas sold his LucasFilm studio to Disney, paving the way for a new Star Wars film set to hit theaters in 2015.  Though further entries in the beloved franchise were a major part of the news, many were quick to realize that with Disney now in control of the LucasFilm empire, fans may finally get a home video release of the original Star Wars trilogy sans Lucas’ tinkering.

Well, it turns out that further Star Wars home video releases are tied up in a tricky bit of legal shambles, as 20th Century Fox still owns Episode IV: A New Hope.  Hit the jump for more.

star-wars-movie-posterWith the release of a new Star Wars in 2015, it’s safe to assume that there’s some money to be made in also releasing some sort of box set of the films around that time.  Though Disney is now in control of the Star Wars empire, Fox will still release Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in 3D next year.  Per THR, Fox owns the distribution rights to Star Wars: A New Hope in perpetuity in all media worldwide.  They also hold theatrical, nontheatrical and home video rights to the other Star Wars films through May 2020, but their ownership of A New Hope is without an end date.

As such, quite a bit of legal wrangling will need to take place before we see another complete box set home video release of Star Wars.  A collection of all the films cannot be released until Disney and Fox strike some sort of deal, given that the latter company wholly owns A New Hope.  Fox likely feels a bit burned that Lucas didn’t sell his company to the longtime partner studio, but hopefully some sort of deal can be arranged for future home video releases.  It’d be a shame to see Star Wars Blu-ray sets without the film that started it all.

With Disney and Kathleen Kennedy holding the keys to the castle, one hopes that they would be interested in eventually releasing the unedited version of the original trilogy. This is a case that fans have been arguing for many, many years now, and I imagine those releases would sell like crazy.  But alas, it appears we’ll have to wait for all the complicated legal dealing to conclude before we can start looking forward to this sort of box set.

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  • IamChristoperNolan

    Hmm not sure why this is such a big deal they were able to put all 6 movies in a box set for blu ray shouldn’t be too difficult to reach an agreement

  • IamChristoperNolan

    Hmm not sure why this is such a big deal they were able to put all 6 movies in a box set for blu ray shouldn\’t be too difficult to reach an agreement

  • IamChristoperNolan

    Hmm not sure why this is such a big deal they were able to put all 6 movies in a box set for blu ray shouldn\\\’t be too difficult to reach an agreement

    • Christian

      I can’t even begin to say how stupid that comment sounds. The bluray collection was made BEFORE Disney acquired Lucasfilm, so of course it was easy because there was a mutual understanding between both parties. The reason it’s going to be complicated is one reason: money. Fox is pissed because this means that in 2020 they won’t get the licenses renewed.

  • Lance

    It’s going to be an issue after 2020. Up until now, the dvd/blu ray releases were all done in conjunction between Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox.

    If Adam’s reporting is right, then it sounds like Disney gets control of Episodes I, II, III, V, and VI after May of 2020. But the original Star Wars will always remain in 20th Century Fox’s control, unless Disney somehow gets Fox to agree to sell it to them, which seems unlikely. That means box sets could seriously be messed up in the future.

    And as for the original, unaltered trilogy selling like hotcakes if released — I’d be there on day one to buy it. But let’s be real, the number of diehard fans who would want that sort of thing is small compared to the number of people who’re happy to own the altered versions.

    • Alois Langer

      I Totally agree!! I would love love love to have the unaltered trilogy on BLUERAY!!!! I for one would be in line on day one!! I would be willing to pay extra because of the work it would take to get the deal done. They will sell if they just release IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Masshuu il Thulcandra

    Why would anyone want to buy the inferior unedited versions? I don’t get the obsession!

    • Mystisith

      Because artistically it’s the best? Because the added scenes screwed the psychology of the characters?

      • TheHOYT

        The Greedo shoots first was horrible. The added stuff is really hit or miss for me. I really liked version 2 of the Jabba and Han scene in ANH, as well as the Emperor hologram scene in TESB. But, adding Heyden Christensen at the end of ROTJ, was rubbish. Like I said, hit and miss.

    • Tralfadore

      If you can’t reason this one out for yourself you’re a dolt! Watch “The People vs George Lucas” for an eplanation.

  • TheHOYT

    I hate the Collider comments set-up, it sucks.

    Anyway, I said this before but apparently my previous comment was deleted, or is still floating around waiting to get posted, as is sometimes the case, buuuut … I really want hear a comment about he future of The Clone Wars TV series. I love that show, it’s light-years better than the Prequel Trilogy (the last 35 minutes of ROTS, notwithstanding). I really hope that Disney doesn’t scrap it. As happy as I am about the prospect of a new live-action Star Wars Trilogy, I am equally frightened for the demise of TCW.

  • jimmer

    this is a non issue. they’ll obviously come to an agreement.

  • Mr.Rich316

    I agree with Jimmer. they will reach an agreement.
    I will bet by the 40th anniversary of Star Wars( in 5 years) Disney will have the rights to it or they will own Fox.
    It looks like Disney is trying to acquire as many “smaller” studios as they can. I can see a future where its Disney,Paramount,Sony,and maybe Warner Brothers. as the major studios with a bunch of “divisions” that keep making the Non-blockbuster movies.
    Great business strategy as long as you’re in front, murder if you’re playing catch-up.

    • Lance

      I don’t see Disney buying Fox. From Murdoch? Just for Star Wars? Really, Fox isn’t that small a studio.

      They’ll either come to an agreement or they won’t. As for Clone Wars, I’m sure either that series will make the move to Disney, or they’ll make a new, similar series if they have to end Clone Wars’ run on Cartoon Network.

  • tom

    The last 35 minutes of revenge of the sith was maybe the worst part of that movie. The overly long fight scene was laughable to say the least. Are you forgetting ‘noooooooooooooo’ …

    I rest my case.

  • tom

    The last 35 minutes of revenge of the sith was maybe the worst part of that movie. The overly long fight scene was laughable to say the least. Are you forgetting \’noooooooooooooo\’ …

    I rest my case.

  • EVM

    I suspect an agreement has already been arrived at between the two studios,as without ownership of the cornerstone title, the property’s value to Disney or any other 3rd party rightsholder would be complicated to say the least.

    Lucasfilm may have made an overture to Fox,however it seems unlikely to me that the studio could afford it on its own capital.And I suspect Lucas wouldn’t want t place his legacy in the hands of the Murdoch-News Corp conglomerate anyway.It’s a short line of suitors with the dowry to in tow to own LFL,and with Disney,Lucas can trust that the superficial morals he insisted on when producing the movies won’t ever be compromised.Though if Dreamworks had the capital itself,no doubt they would now own LFL.

  • RorshachLives!

    It’s NOT ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’ or any other Episode #, it’s just ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, and ‘Return of the Jedi’. That’s it. Full stop. Period.

    • Mustardconcept

      HaHaHa – your my new best friend.

  • blkyank

    FOX still hasn’t made a deal with WB to sell the 60′s Batman T.V. show on Blu Ray.Don’t hold your breath they will be any faster with Disney.

    • strider

      That’s different the 60′s Batman show has a lot of different studio rights, it’s not just between Fox and WB.

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  • Heyward

    It must gall of you that Lucas’ latest prequel trilogy has totally impacted and transformed all of modern cinema once again. The newest Avengers movie by Whedon and Marvel films and many other films that combine live action with CGI are proof of this. Current action sequences have been heavily influenced by the Star Wars prequels and in particular super hero, sci-fi, and fantasy films. If you think they are going to use puppets and old school film making for this new trilogy then you are delusional. It is too expensive and CGI is much more affordable although a combination of special effects is possible. There is nothing wrong with any of his prequels it is just that his vision did not match any of your expectations. Most of us were children when the originals came out and we accepted it for what they were just like the children and in particular boys of today adore the prequels and the Clone Wars TV series. In addition, it is important to note that Lucas’s Star Wars films are homages to serials from the 1930′s and 40′s which were sketched out stories and sagas with stilted and over the top acting much like the classic Universal Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials of the time. The only differences are that Lucas had an original story and that he wanted to see what serial films would look like with a larger budget and scale. The style and tone of the films is all a series of creative decisions and it was all done on purpose and Lucas refers to them as motifs. Unfortunately, a lot of classic fans did not get the kitsch of the tone and acting for the prequels but accepted it for the original trilogy. I agree that the prequel dialogue and performance are wooden and over the top but it was all done on purpose as homages and motifs to melodramatic acting that was frequently a part of b movies and the fantasy films of the 30’s and 40’s. If you question this tone, then check out Universal’s 1936 serial Flash Gordon and the Universal horror films of the 30’s and 40’s. If you doubt the impact of these serials on Lucas then take a look at the opening scene from THX-1138 from 1971 that shows actual clips from these serials and of course the Indiana Jones films are tributes to the Republic action serials and action films from the 30’, 40’s, and 50’s. Any fans of classic films will recognize these homages and tributes. There are also clear attempts to educate children and the public through metaphors on ethics, values, destiny (metaphysics), historical trends, and the consequences of decision making. If you do not believe this, then consider that most if not all of Lucas’ films are creative homages to his enduring memories as a child and teenager.

  • mick

    the prequels also formed a second generation of star wars fans a third and fourth to be likely formed by the trilogy that will start in 2015(prequel haters coming with flame throwers i put my fireproof suit on) LET THE HATE BEGIN

  • James Raine

    Physical box sets will not be around in the future.
    Digital downloads & streaming will be the main way we consume our movie & tv media.
    Cardboard cases and optical discs will be obsolete.

  • Troll Detector

    Already enjoying my non-special editions in HD. Thanks Harmy!

  • steve

    well you could watch adywans star wars edit it makes the film star wars episode 4 look modern

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