Disney Plans Midnight ‘Star Wars’ Event to Unveil ‘Last Jedi’ Merchandise

Walt Disney Co and major retailers will release the galaxy’s newest “Star Wars” toys at a September 1st midnight event ahead of the holiday debut of the next film in the saga, “The Last Jedi,” company executives told Reuters.

The marketing push called “Force Friday II” is a sequel to an event Disney used to build buzz for merchandise tied to the 2015 movie “The Force Awakens.”

Star Wars products were a big contributor to the financial success of the series reboot. BB-8 droids, lightsabers and other playthings made “Star Wars” the U.S. toy industry’s top-selling property for 2015 and 2016, with $1.5 billion in sales over the two years, research firm NPD said.

Hasbro Inc cited “Star Wars” sales when it reported its biggest quarterly revenue rise in nearly five years for the December 2015 quarter. Mattel Inc also posted a surprise rise in sales for the same period with help from “Star Wars”-based Hot Wheels toys. And at Disney, licensing income from “Force Awakens” merchandise drove record quarterly operating income in the consumer products unit.

Force Friday II will begin just after midnight on September 1st. Lego, Hasbro and others will release the first toys, apparel, books and other products tied to “The Last Jedi,” both online and in stores at retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target, Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Amazon.com Inc and Disney Stores.

Disney will incorporate new technology to its “Last Jedi” products like it did with the popular BB-8 droid, said James Pitaro, chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. New products will feature returning characters such as Rey and Finn, plus new ones, and will span a broad range of categories for male and female fans, he said.

“One of our top priorities is to expand the audience,” Pitaro said.

“The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment in the “Star Wars” movie saga that began in 1977, debuts in theaters Dec. 15. Toys typically hit shelves closer to a movie’s release, around four to six weeks in advance.

At the 2015 Force Friday, fans dressed as Stormtroopers and Jedi waited in line for hours ahead of the midnight store openings.

“There was a certain mania that took over,” said Marty Brochstein, a senior vice president at the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. The excitement around “Star Wars” in 2015 was unique because it had been so long since the last film, Brochstein said.

“It would be unfair to expect the same kind of volume generated this time around by consumer products,” he said, adding it was too early to assess demand.

Pitaro said Disney continues to see “very, very healthy sales” of “Star Wars” merchandise. “We have a lot of confidence we will continue in that direction,” he said.

Disney bought “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion and reintroduced the franchise with “Force Awakens.” That movie became the third-highest grossing ever, selling $2 billion worth of tickets worldwide. Disney also released “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One” in 2016.

Star Wars Celebration to Welcome Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson

Huge news from a galaxy far, far away! Some very special guests will be appearing onstage at Star WarsCelebration in Orlando, coming up this April… namely, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson! We’ve been told there’ll be a ton of big surprises—and other special guests on that can’t-miss Last Jedi panel on Friday, April 14—to keep the excitement (not to mention speculation!) bubbling throughout the weekend.

Kathleen and Rian join the already-announced Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)—who’ll all be signing in the Star WarsCelebration Autograph Hall.

Heading down to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center for all the Star Wars fun? Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets—and check back as we get closer to the event for guest updates, queuing info, and wristband details.

Star Wars-Themed Lands at Disney Parks Set to Open in 2019

The new Star Wars-themed lands at Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be opening in 2019! Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger just made the announcement many of you have been so anxious to hear during today’s Walt Disney Company Q1 FY17 Earnings call.

The Star Wars-themed lands are the largest-ever, single-themed land expansions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. At each location, guests will be transported to a never-before-seen planet – a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space – where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. Check out some of our earlier images, including a glimpse at one of the signature attractions which lets you take the controls of the Millennium Falcon!

The Official Title For STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII Revealed

The title for Episode VIII of the Skywalker Saga has been announced on StarWars.com.

The statement on the website says –

We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is scheduled for release December 15, 2017. 

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Hits $1 Billion in Worldwide Box Office

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” has surpassed the $1 billion milestone at the worldwide box office, becoming the 28th title and 13th Disney film to do so.

“Rogue One” needed 39 days to cross the mark with $512 million domestically and $499 million internationally. It’s the third “Star Wars” movie to gross more than $1 billion, joining “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.07 billion) and “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace” ($1.03 billion).

“Rogue One” is also Disney’s fourth 2016 release to cross the $1 billion mark, joining “Captain America: Civil War,” “Finding Dory,” and “Zootopia.” It’s the top domestic grosser released in 2016 and ranks seventh on the all-time list.

The tentpole took in $7 million at 2,603 North American sites in its sixth frame and another $9 million internationally over weekend. The U.K. is the top market at $79.4 million, followed by China with $61.3 million, Germany with $44.8 million, Japan with $36.8 million, France with $35.8 million, and Australia with $35.6 million.

“Rogue One” is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, and Jiang Wen. The eighth “Star Wars” movie is set immediately before the events of the original “Star Wars” with rebels attempting to steal plans for the Death Star weapon.

Disney also announced that its animated “Moana” has crossed the $500 million mark worldwide, with an estimated $237 million domestically and $272 million  internationally.

From Variety

 

Disney Issues Statement about Carrie Fisher Appearing in Future “Star Wars” Movies

When Carrie Fisher passed away on December 27th, 2016 there was a major disturbance in the Force. Fisher wasn’t just Princess General Leia in Star Wars, but a force herself to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Her memory will certainly live on, especially when it comes to Star Wars — and in an unprecedented move, Star Wars has released a statement about the future of Carrie Fisher and the film franchise.

Shortly after her death, it was revealed that Carrie had completed all her scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII. But what about Episode IX? That movie is still years away from hitting the big screen, and Disney and Lucasfilm met this week to figure out how to finish off the trilogy without Carrie. Knowing that we’ve all seen Rogue One by now (and spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it) there were rumors that Disney and Lucasfilm might try to digitally recreate Carrie, like the did at the very end of Rogue One.

According to a statement released:

We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address,” the statement up on StarWars.com reads. “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.

Star Wars Day at Sea Returns to Disney Cruise Line in Early 2018 on Select Disney Fantasy Sailings

In 2018, the epic day at sea returns to Disney Cruise Line with 15 special Disney Fantasy sailings to the Caribbean from January through April.

Star Wars Day at Sea transports guests to a galaxy far, far away to celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga with Jedi, Wookiees, droids, Stormtroopers and others during the special day-long celebration.

Star Wars Day at Sea summons the power of the Force, the magic of Disney and the excitement of cruising for an out-of-this-galaxy experience unlike any other.

“The Force is stronger than ever onboard the Disney Fantasy, and we are excited to bring back Star Wars Day at Sea in 2018,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “The popularity of the event over the past two years inspired us to continue immersing our guests in the Star Wars galaxy. Everyone, from the youngest Padawan to the most knowledgeable Jedi Master, is invited to enjoy this event of galactic proportions and make memories that will last a lifetime.”

The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations including a deck party spectacular with an extraordinary fireworks display, encounters with the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters, Star Wars-themed family and youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings and special merchandise.

Throughout the day, guests enjoy immersive entertainment and activities that are all a part of the galactic adventure…

Discover the Force

  • Characters from across the Star Wars galaxy are onboard for interactions and photos.
  • Guests are encouraged to bring costumes for a special gathering in the atrium lobby.
  • Guests indulge in the Star Wars films and television series, including all the films in the Star Wars saga, Star Wars Rebels and the latest installment in the new standalone series “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
  • Specialty Star Wars-themed beverages, snacks, dinner menu items and desserts please the palates of everyone from Padawans to Rebel pilots to Tusken Raiders.

 Learn the Ways of the Jedi

  • In “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple,” Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a final face-off with Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister.
  • Star Wars-themed arts and crafts, games and activities are offered throughout the day in all youth spaces for younglings to explore their powers.
  • Kids and families test their knowledge during Star Wars trivia games.

“Summon the Force”

  • The epic day at sea concludes with the “Summon the Force” deck celebration where guests unleash the Force during games, music and a galactic dance party.
  • The grand finale features legendary Star Wars characters, pyrotechnics, stunts, special effects and a stunning fireworks display accompanied by John Williams’ iconic music.

Star Wars Day at Sea will be on 15 Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla.

Departing Jan. 6, 20; Feb. 3, 17; March 3, 17, 31; and April 14, 2018, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 13, 27; Feb. 10, 24; March 10, 24; and April 7, 2018, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.

– See more at: http://dclnews.com/2017/01/12/star-wars-day-at-sea-returns-to-disney-cruise-line-in-early-2018-on-select-disney-fantasy-sailings/#sthash.C23HiNq6.dpuf

Star Wars: Galactic Nights Special Event Heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Attention Star Wars fans –Star Wars: Galactic Nights, a new Hollywood-inspired special event will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on April 14. Come dressed as your favorite character and celebrate forty years of Star Wars milestones.

Park access and activities will be limited to Star Wars: Galactic Nights event ticket holders only. Here’s a taste of what’s on tap:

  • Rebel Base Activities – The Rebel Base will serve as the event hub with multiple events, hosted shows, Star Wars dance parties and more taking place in the center of the park.
  • Watch “Inside the Saga: Celebrity Chat Show” – Catch a celebrity chat show in Epic Theater to learn more about the making of Star Wars films.
  • Can’t miss Star Wars photo ops – Don your Star Wars finest (see costume guidelines here) and enjoy iconic Star Wars backdrops, including Han Solo cast in carbonite, Jabba the Hutt’s Palace, the Hoth Wampa Cave and more.
  • Galactic Nights Stars in Cars Motorcade – This procession will welcome in Star Wars celebrities down Hollywood Blvd.
  • Imperial March & March of the First Order – Get your cameras ready for the arrival of the dark side. Darth Vader will lead a battalion of stormtroopers on a dramatic march down Hollywood Blvd to the Event Stage. Captain Phasma will also lead a unit of First Order stormtroopers through the park, pausing to give a demonstration of power and strength.
  • Seize the Saga Interactive Scavenger Hunt – Event Guests are challenged to collect Star Wars themed pieces at the photo backdrops throughout the park, revealing a surprise when all items have been collected.
  • Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away – Watch high-energy clips of the best moments from the film saga juxtaposed with character moments on stage, featuring Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and more.
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” – The skies will come alive with the power of the Force, as the park’s popular Star Wars-themed nighttime spectacular lights up the night.

Other popular attractions will be open, including Star Wars Launch Bay. Additional offerings will include the chance to experience Star Tours-The Adventures Continue attraction, AWR Trooper sightings, roaming droids, Star Wars-themed F&B, special merchandise and much more.

The event will be held at the park from 7 p.m.-midnight. The Star Wars: Galactic Nights ticket costs $129 plus tax for adults and $124 plus tax for children ages 9 and under. Disney Vacation Club and Passholder discounts will be available.

Tickets are extremely limited, so click here or call 407-827-7036 for more information or to book now.

Entertainment is subject to change without notice.

 

Disney Could Receive $50 Million Insurance Payment Due to Carrie Fisher’s Death

In the aftermath of CarrieFisher’s untimely death due to a heart attack, Disney looks set to receive $50 million in compensation as a result.

Insurers at Lloyd’s of London look set to pay out a significant contingency claim following the tragic death of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, according to Insurance Insider.

Sources have said that Disney had taken out $50 million of so-called contract protection cover as insurance for the event that Fisher was unable to fulfil her obligations to act in the new Star Wars films, with the policy now likely to trigger.

The policy was underwritten by specialist New Jersey-based managing general agent Exceptional Risk Advisors, but if the policy triggers the loss will be entirely borne by capacity providers in Lloyd’s, with Enstar subsidiary Atrium the lead on the facility.

Sources said that the claim would be widely spread within the Lloyd’s contingency market, with more than 20 carriers on the binder.

However, the loss would cause substantial damage to the 2016 underwriting result for the segment, with some Lloyd’s insurers writing contingency books with $10 million or less of annual premiums.

Fisher died on December 27th, four days after she suffered a heart attack on a flight between London and Los Angeles.

The actress rose to prominence in the late 1970s, playing Princess Leia in the first Star Wars trilogy.

She reprised the role last year in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a runaway success which took $2.07 billion at the box office.

Filming for Star Wars Episode VIII, which will be released next year, was completed ahead of Fisher’s death.

Princess Leia was again slated to have a major role in Episode IX and it is not clear how Disney, which owns the Star Wars franchise, will choose to respond.

According to its website, Exceptional Risk Advisors is a specialist in high-limit specialty life, accident, and disability products, with underwriting authorities from Lloyd’s insurers that exceed $50 million per individual risk.

Fisher’s spokesperson could not be reached. Atrium declined to comment. Exceptional Risk Advisors and Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Iconic Star Wars Actress Carrie Fisher Dies at 60: ‘She Was Loved by the World and She Will Be Missed Profoundly’

Carrie Fisher, the actress best known as Star Wars‘ Princess Leia Organa, has died after suffering a heart attack. She was 60.

Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement to PEOPLE on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd:

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement.

“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd, 24. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 23, when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital.

The daughter of renowned entertainers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Fisher was brought up in the sometimes tumultuous world of film, theater and television.

Escaping Hollywood in 1973, the star enrolled in the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, where she spent over a year studying acting.

COURTESY DEBBIE REYNOLDS

Just two years later, though, the bright lights of Hollywood drew her back, and Fisher made her film debut in the Warren Beatty-led Shampoo.

Her role in Star Wars would follow in 1977 – and she detailed the experience, including her on-set affair with costar Harrison Ford, in her  latest memoir, The Princess Diarist. She was only 19 when the first installment of the beloved sci-fi franchise was filmed.

LUCASFILM/20TH CENTURY FOX/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

In addition to the second and third Star Wars films – and last year’s The Force Awakens – Fisher starred in 1980’s The Blues BrothersThe Man with One Red Shoe, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986 and, later, When Harry Met Sally.

STEVE LARSON/THE DENVER POST VIA GETTY

Fisher wed musician Paul Simon in 1983. It was an explosive marriage, according to Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon author Peter Ames Carlin, and was cut short by swinging stages of depression, the actress’s drug use and an array of personal insecurities. The relationship continued, though, on-and-off for several years after the pair divorced in 1984.

PAUL SIMON AND CARRIE FISHER (CREDIT: RON GALELLA/WIREIMAGE)

Fisher was candid about her substance abuse issues over the decades, starting at only age 13 when she began smoking marijuana. She said she later dabbled in drugs like cocaine and LSD. Fisher explored her own issues with addiction in her 1987 bestselling, semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, which was later turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep.

“I never could take alcohol. I always said I was allergic to alcohol, and that’s actually a definition to alcoholism — an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind,” Fisher told the Herald-Tribune in 2013. “So I didn’t do other kinds of drugs until I was about 20. Then, by the time I was 21 it was LSD. I didn’t love cocaine, but I wanted to feel any way other than the way I did, so I’d do anything.”

In 1985, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she subsequently became an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness.

Throughout much of the ’90s, Fisher focused on her writing career, publishing Surrender the Pink and Delusions of Grandma. In addition, Fisher helped craft the scripts for numerous Hollywood films, going uncredited, for films like The Wedding SingerHook and Sister Act.

Billie Lourd, Fisher’s only child, was born in July 1992. The Scream Queens star’s father, talent agent Bryan Lourd, dated Fisher for three years and is now married to Bruce Bozzi.

In 2005, Fisher was recognized with the Women of Vision Award by the Women in Film & Video – DC. Three years later, Fisher’s Wishful Drinking autobiography was turned into a one-woman stage show and eventually an HBO documentary.

Of returning to the role that launched her career – Leia – for The Force Awakens, Fisher told PEOPLE in 2015, “I knew that something enormous was likely going to impact my life from this film and that there was absolutely no way of understanding what that was or was likely to be.”

The film – which brought Fisher back into the spotlight – earned  her a nomination for the 2016 Saturn Award for best supporting actress. She had already filmed scenes for the next Star Wars installment, Episode VIII, due out in December 2017.

Just last month, Fisher also revealed her surprising on-set affair with Star Wars costar Harrison Ford in The Princess Diarist, telling PEOPLE of the three-month fling during the making of the 1977 movie, “It was so intense.” The memoir, which drew from Fisher’s old diaries and notebooks, brought up mixed feelings for the actress.

“I had forgotten that I’d written them, and I’ve never written diaries sort of like that,” she said. “I write when I’m upset … it was about two or three months of upset.”

Fisher added, “It was sad because I was so insecure, and it’s very raw and obviously I didn’t expect anyone — including myself, I suppose later on — to read it.”

She is survived by her mom Reynolds, daughter Lourd, brother Todd Fisher, half-sisters Joely Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher, and beloved French bulldog, Gary.

From People.com