The Star Wars movie universe is swelling to galactic proportions now that a (presumably) concluding trilogy and spin-off films are underway. But short of buying all the films on home video and staging your own in-home marathons for family and friends, what’s the Average Joe to do to see all Star Wars, all the time, and in one place?
Well, it’s Turner to the rescue, saving us from a lifetime of boring, average Saturday afternoons. A massive deal between Turner’s TV networks and Walt Disney Co. Inc. (and a separate deal with 20th Century Fox for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) will bring all of the existing and planned films to TNT and TBS. You best believe that’s a strategic move from the traditional network faced with the rise of binge-worthy TV and all-access, anytime streaming, like the content offered up by Netflix. (More on them in a moment.)
The LA Times reports that Turner has purchased the TV rights to 11 Star Wars films, including last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and this year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as part of a multi-year deal. In Turner’s words, “TNT and TBS will be the exclusive home to the various installments of the franchise among ad-supported TV networks.” That explains, in part, the difference between Turner’s deal and the one Netflix struck earlier this year with Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm/Etc., which goes into action this very month.
TNT will be airing six consecutive nights of the initial installments starting on September 20th, with another Star Wars marathon running September 24th-25th. Expect to see yet another movie marathon in December as we approach the December 16th release of Rogue One. Turner also will host the network TV premieres of the next three Star Wars movies.
Variety has a few more details on the deal, one they value at around $250 million over its run through 2022. No financial details were confirmed, but with The Force Awakens commanding $35-40 million in licensing fees, it was presumed that the four upcoming films would be in the same range. The deal, which also saw NBCUniversal’s USA Network and Fox’s FX Networks vying for the rights, has been in the works for almost a year.
The 11 films–the prequel trilogy, the original trilogy, the new trilogy, and the two spin-off films, which means there probably aren’t any others in the works (Sorry, Boba Fett fans.)–will be heading to Turner in early 2018 after completing their pay-TV run on Starz; Rogue One will follow in 2019.
Interestingly, Turner also has on-demand rights to run the movies on its ad-supported streaming / VOD platforms, but the terms specify a minimum ad load on this format to help distinguish this deal from Disney’s other premium digital distribution options for the titles. The Turner deal was complicated by the aforementioned Netflix deal, which covers the theatrical releases from 2016 to 2018; complications were had over the valuation of the deal, not so much the timing. After Netflix’s yearlong window, Disney still retains the option of selling the newer titles to broadcast TV for limited airings.
Are you excited to spend your upcoming weekends in the thrall of Turner’s television networks thanks to all the Star Wars? Let us know in the comments below!