Disney’s new streaming service may endure the first five years without the original Star Wars movies, because US broadcasters hold the streaming rights until 2024.
The Turner networks, TBT and TBS, currently have the rights to show the films on TV and online, following a deal made in 2016. Now, with Disney seeking to debut its own over-the-top Netflix rival next year, the media giant is engaging in talks to get the rights back, Bloomberg reports.
Back in 2016, Turner paid a whopping $275m for access to the first six Star Wars films (Episodes I-VI), as well as the four newer titles, which have been released since Disney bought Lucasfilm. It appears that the streaming deadlock may only apply to the Star Wars films made between 1977 and 2005, because the Disney-era productions have also been available to stream on Netflix.
Those later movies, including Rogue One and The Force Awakens, will disappear from Netflix when the current deal ends at the end of this year. This will be a big help to Disney as it gears up for a standalone effort.
Regaining the rights could be tricky though. The Bloomberg report claims Turner has little desire to sell-back the prized cow. The AT&T-owned broadcaster wants sizeable compensation as well as replacement content, a source familiar with the talks said.
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All-in-all it means Disney’s streaming service may have to spend half a decade without access to one of the true crown jewels of its giant portfolio, which also includes Pixar and the Marvel Universe.
However, at least Disney will be able to offer a brand new series of The Clone Wars, which was confirmed at the San Diego Comic Con in July. The new 12-episode run was announced as part of a ten-year anniversary celebration, with a new trailer earning a standing ovation from fans in attendance (via ET Online).
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