Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Why did George Lucas sell Lucasfilm including STAR WARS franchise to Disney?

Yes, all Star Wars Fans are puzzled  (note the F in fans is in capital. This is deliberate as Star Wars Fans are almost like religious believers!)

Why did George Lucas suddenly sell away all rights to  Star Wars to DISNEY? And too add,  Indiana Jones?  And also my favorite visual effects company: Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) ? Just $4 Billion? Sounds small?

Not quite.

Being a cash plus  stock combo sale, Lucas has become the second largest independent shareholder of Disney, holding more than 2% equity. So ALL future profits of Disney from  Star Wars, Indy Jones series will CONTINUE to add to Lucas’ fat wallet, as Disney will make multiple reboots and sequels.

In addition, the sale was a master move by George Lucas in inheritance and estate planning according to experts:

Since none of Lucas’s three adopted children plan to take over his film empire, financial advisers say the strategy will save his heirs the the responsibility of managing their inheritance – and potentially going through the often long and fraught process of dividing it. “Mr. Lucas has obviously surrounded himself for years with world class legal, estate and tax advisers,” Wade Westhoff, a financial adviser based in Danville, Calif., says of the Disney deal. “This is a textbook example of exit planning for a private business owner.” (Lucas and a spokesman for LucasFilm were not immediately available for comment)

That Lucas struck a deal in 2012 may be no accident either, advisers say. Long-term capital gains tax from the sale of assets held more than one year are taxed at a rate of 15% for investors in the 25% income tax bracket or above (Lucas’s level), and zero for investors in the 10% or 15% bracket. Those rates are set to jump to 20% and 10%, respectively in January. “He probably wanted to take advantage of the lower rate on long-term capital gain while it’s certain,” says Bill Smith, managing director at CBIZ MHM, a national accounting and professional services provider.

Source:  Jedi Estate Planning

The Force… is pretty strong in George Lucas!

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AVATAR breaks TITANIC’S worldwide box office record

Breaking News (3 Feb 2010):  Brandon Gray of Boxofficemojo.com confirms that AVATAR has also broken TITANIC’s Domestic US box office record. Read his comments below:

Avatar has sailed past Titanic to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. In just 47 days, Avatar has grossed $601.1 million, while Titanic made $600.8 million in its entire run and took 252 days to cross the $600 million mark.

With this milestone, Avatar has completed the triple crown of box office gross records: first, it topped the foreign-only chart on Jan. 23, then it reigned over the worldwide chart (foreign plus domestic) on Jan. 25, and now, as of Feb. 2, it resides atop the domestic chart. Its foreign haul has risen to $1.474 billion. Add in domestic, and its worldwide gross stands at an incredible $2.075 billion.

Breaking domestic down, nearly 81 percent of Avatar‘s gross is from 3D presentations. Normal 3D accounts for over 64 percent of the gross, while IMAX 3D accounts for more than 16 percent. That leaves the 2D theaters with an over 19 percent share of the gross.

Check out Brandon Gray’s full report in Boxofficemojo.com here: AVATAR claims Highest Gross of All Time.

Update from Boxofficemojo.com (1 FEB 2010): AVATAR becomes the first movie to cross the $2 Billion mark.

James Cameron’s done it again! 12 years after he created Titanic which grossed an unprecedented $1.843 Billion in the box office, he has beaten his own record with the release of the  3D spctacle,  Avatar. The movie which took 5 years and $300million to complete, beat Titanic’s  “unsinkable” record  on Jan 26th.

Avatar’s global box office collections now stand at a Pandorian $2.039 Billion.

Brandon Gray’s  report with the 3D ticket breakup in Boxofficemojo.com is below:

In a mere 41 days, Avatar overtook Titanic to become the highest-grossing movie ever at the worldwide box office at $1.859 billion ($555 million domestic plus $1.304 billion foreign), compared to Titanic‘s $1.843 billion.

First, the foreign record fell on Saturday, and, by Sunday, Avatar was just $4.4 million behind Titanic. It then added $19.8 million on Monday to push it over the top for the worldwide record. Titanic‘s $600.8 million domestic record is the next in line, and Avatar is poised to pass it within two weeks. What’s more, Avatar is on track to cross the $2 billion mark worldwide by the end of the weekend.

While Titanic still holds the crown in 20 markets, Avatar is the top-grossing movie of all time in 24 markets: China, Russia, Australia, Spain, Hong Kong, Columbia, Czech Republic, Chile, Portugal, Singapore, Ukraine, Hungary, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Dominican Republic, Latvia, Serbia, East and West Africa, Qatar, Jordan, Jamaica and Bahrain. Avatar‘s also on the verge of claiming the all time records in South Korea, Denmark, Austria and New Zealand. However, the countries that are likely out of its reach include India, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Belgium and Finland, and it has a long way to go in France and the United Kingdom.

Avatar‘s 3D presentations have accounted for 72 percent or $1.35 billion of its total gross. Breaking that down, 3D’s domestic share is 80 percent, and its foreign share is 69 percent. That’s far and away the biggest 3D gross ever, and Avatar‘s effectively most people’s first sampling of the new-fangled 3D technology.

Let me add that in India (the land of Bollywood movies, where even big budget summer Hollywood action films usually struggle to get beyond $2-5 million), Avatar has grossed an astonishing $22, 276, 532. This is the biggest collection for any English movie in history of Indian box office. Only Indian movies have done better.

Those interested in Avatar’s country wise break up, please visit Boxofficemojo.com.

Interestingly, only TWO movies in history have crossed $1 Billion in the non-US markets: Titanic & Avatar, both directed by James Cameron. Avatar is on its way to become the 2nd movie after Titanic to gross $600 Million total in the US.

Check out the Boxofficemojo.com report below:

Avatar Box Office Gross

James Cameron's Avatar beats Titanic's box office record

James Cameron seems to be this generation’s George Lucas & Steven Spielberg roller into one!

Am quoting verbatim film critic Scott Mendelson’s blog post in the Huffington Post below, as it captures brilliantly how astonishing a feat this was by James Cameron:

I was sure it would never be done in my lifetime.  I called in the ‘Joe DiMaggio 56-game hitting streak’ of box office records.  But it has been done.  In just 38 days, James Cameron’s Avatar has surpassed the $1.843 billion that James Cameron’s Titanic amassed in its 41 weeks of theatrical play.  We can argue all we want about 3D prices and general ticket price inflation, but this is an incredible feat in in filmgoing era, let alone our splintered generation.  Today’s audiences have far more entertainment options to keep them out of the theaters.  Back in Christmas 1997 and Winter 1998, the Internet was barely in its infancy, bootlegs of any kind were a non-factor, and DVDs barely on the radar.  Just as no one expects the season finale of Lost to match the numbers for the finale of MASH, today’s moviegoers are far more divided and have far more entertainment options that they did even twelve years ago.  I don’t think anyone thought Titanic‘s worldwide record would be topped within a generation.  No one thought it would be done so quickly, and by the same filmmaker no less.  This is absolutely astonishing, all the more so for the fact that it’s not anywhere close to being finished.  While the domestic numbers may be curbed by the inevitable loss of IMAX and 3D screens, the international numbers (which rely far less on 3D and IMAX theaters) have no real ceiling at this point.  Avatar has grossed $1.304 billion in overseas markets alone.  There are only four other movies that have ever grossed even half that in overseas receipts.  Avatar has today grossed $1.859 billion in global grosses.  There are only eight other films that have grossed at least $929 million worldwide, or half that number. Who knows where this movie will stop?  Amazing…

Scott Mendelson

But guess which movies is the greatest in terms of sheer tickets sold (and adjusting for inflation)? Nope, its not Star Wars or ET or even Titanic.  Its the legendary civil war epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ with an estimated 200 Million+ tickets sold!  Check out Kyle Anderson’s quote in MTV.com:

Though “Avatar” takes the raw money title, “Gone With the Wind” remains the sales leader after numbers are adjusted for inflation. According to Box Office Mojo, the numbers become even more dramatic when you take into account the number of tickets sold. Though the statistics are loose, “Gone With the Wind” sold over 202,000,000 tickets during its various theatrical runs, which is 24,000,000 more seats than its nearest competitor moved (that would be the original “Star Wars”). For all its economic success, “Avatar” checks in way down the list with a respectable but not-even-close-to-threatening 76,000,000.

In terms of Inflation Adjusted World wide box office gross, Gone With The Wind’s $ 400 Million (Domestic US: $198,676,459 + Worldwide NonUS: $201,500,000 ) translates into $ 2.99 Billion or more than $1 Billion higher than Titanic and Avatar.

To be fair to James Cameron, Gone With The Wind’s Inflation adjusted number of $2.9 Billion may never be achieved.  Unlike in 1939, modern day audiences have lots of alternative entertainment options like Cable TV, Internet, DVDs, live sports and rock concerts to distract audiences.  Add to this massive piracy thanks to  DVD, VCD, Youtube and Torrent-P2P sites. Taking all these real constraints into account, Avatar’s record is as staggering as Gone With The Wind or Star Wars or ET’s box office record was those days.

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Top 30 Greatest Movies of All Time

Here’s my list (retarded movie critics and film institutes be damned):

1. Titanic

2. Godfather 2

3. The Dark Knight

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark

5. Star Wars

6. Citizen Kane

7. Jurassic Park

8. The Sixth Sense

9. The Matrix

10. Terminator 2

11. 2001 A Space Odyssey

12. Gone With The Wind

13. Godfather 1

14. The Abyss

15. Forrest Gump

16. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

17. Superman 2 (Richard Donner’s Cut)

18. Cliffhanger

19. Casablanca

20. The Jungle Book (1967 Disney version)

21. Rocky

22. The Departed

23. The Lion King

24. Silence Of The Lambs

25. For A Few Dollars More

26. As Good As It Gets

27. The Ghost And The Darkness

28. The Shawshank Redemption

29. When Harry Met Sally

30. Spiderman 2

Each of the above movies broke new ground.  Will expand to the Top 100 soon.

Foreign films have still not made it, but a chick flick and Michael Douglas did (surprisingly it isn’t Wall Street nor Romancing The Stone…guess which one was his in the above list. )

Johnny Depp? He will be there in the Top 100. So will a host of other legends and classics.

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Revenge of the Sith

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=20157

STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH review

By Ain’t it Cool’s HARRY

I have watched my last new STAR WARS film.

Really don’t know what to say. I’ve wanted to see Obi-Wan fight Vader on that Lava Planet since that issue of Starlog in 1978. My 6 year old reading comprehension grasping for every word of every article I could get my grubby little hands on. For me, the origin of Vader has been the Holy Grail of my geek soul. That story most coveted, but yet untold. I’m 33 years old now. 27 years lay between me and that boy that dreamt of that fight – but right now, he’s on my shoulders and we’re slapping high-fives.

The imagery in REVENGE OF THE SITH — The turning of Anakin, the annihilation of the Jedi, the expulsion of Yoda, Obi-Wan vs Anakin, Palpatine revealed, the birth of the twins, Alderran, the adoption of Luke, what became of the droids… These are all near religious iconography in the minds of children raised in the ways of the Force. I’ve spent a quarter of a century discussing these things, speculating on what it’d look like, how it’d play out… I’ve seen it in countless dreams, but never with my eyes open. Never George’s dream of what it was. Till now.

As I sat at the Regal Metropolitan Theater in South Austin watching the film – I couldn’t help but get caught up in it. Dad was there with me, we’ve spent countless years talking STAR WARS – through STAR WARS – I learnt of the source material George was smashing and grabbing from – B serials, Pulp sci-fantasy adventure romances, Asian cinema – all of it. Before STAR WARS – I was well on my way – after STAR WARS the road was poured. I would be a geek for the rest of my life.

That would mean, I’d be primed to openly weep as Yoda crawled through that damn crawlspace to escape, during the whole of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fight and the death of Luke & Leia’s mother. It is a very powerful thing to see the dreams one has spent a quarter of a century pondering. It might be cheese ball of me, but dammit – this is exactly what I wanted out of this last STAR WARS film… closure.

I’m having a really hard time writing about this one. It’s just so damn big. So full of literally everything that I wanted to see in all the prequels – but crammed all into this one. This really is the big Michael Corleone episode of STAR WARS… It’s where all the traps are sprung, all the cards are laid on the table, where everybody dies, all is lost and evil rules the galaxy.

That’s what makes the film so damn hard to talk about, at least off a first viewing. Let me see if I can explain this.

We all know how dark this film is intended to be. We all know how incredibly dire things will turn out in this film. However, the first 40 minutes are so light… as to be completely disconcerting. There’s just a feeling that THEY shouldn’t be having fun. Don’t they know this is the last smiles they’ll share? That when Obi Wan goes on that last mission and Anakin wishes him well… that that’s the last time they would be friends… Don’t they know that? WE DO, why can’t they see what’s coming? WAKE UP!

The film makes you powerless to change things. It’s like sitting still for a fucking tragedy right from the get go, but unlike TITANIC, you don’t have it all spelt out yet. Unless you’ve read all the spoilers – and I don’t really know what you spoiler-lovers will think. Just because for me… I knew, basically, what was going to happen. The broad strokes. I’ve gone out of my way to ignore as many spoilers as possible – which is a near impossible thing to do when you’re being emailed by everyone on Earth 300 images a day, 40 reviews a day now and were sent all the books, comics, score, everything from Publicity firms… shit… I bought that Talking Yoda toy – and next thing I know the little Green Bastard is trying to tell me the story of REVENGE OF THE SITH. It’s so hard to be pure on this – there’s just so much information out there. Everywhere.

The most shocking or surprising emotion I felt during this film experience is that… I don’t want Anakin to become Darth Vader. I just… Despite 27 years to the contrary, as I sat in that theater watching the last act of a good Jedi that turned evil… I just found myself wanting to scream at him to stop. I wanted desperately to send him on that mission with Obi Wan. I wanted Mace Windu to put his hand on Anakin’s shoulder and say, “Come on Kid, Let’s finish this!” and march off as brother Jedi to kill the fucking Emperor. I wanted Anakin to let go of his hate, fear, ambition, jealousy and self-centered egotism and just be the knight in shining armor… FOR THE GOOD GUYS!

You can tell… Anakin so wants to do what is right. He even does the right things, it’s just everyone around him doesn’t treat him as an equal… save for Palpatine. That when push comes to shove, the only fucking rat bastard in the galaxy that is going to call him son, tell him ‘fairy tales’ and really listen to his problems enough to find out what is REALLY troubling him is the bad guy!

Why?

Because the whole damn galaxy is at war, because to everyone else, Anakin’s existential crisis doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, they’ve got bigger fish to fry. They’ve got to Protect Wookies and the mushroom people and Hellraiser’s home planet and kill lots of robots and General Grievous and police the fucking universe… and… and… well, their damn domestic policy sucks!

The Bad Guy has his priorities right. He’s controlling the robots, the clones and to a large extent the Jedi… yet still manages to multi-task enough to listen to Anakin and help him deal with his premonitions of personal tragedy. He’ll take the time, to ignore an amazing science fiction zero G Esther Williams number, to tell young Skywalker a SITH LEGEND. A story, an anecdote. And he tells it, like a father would to a son. And the story is directly related to the problem Anakin is facing, it gives him hope, direction and the first glimmer of a happy ending to his concern. He doesn’t tell Anakin bullshit like… learn to not give a shit, detachment is the key to inner peace… What sort of bullshit is that? Ignore your problems, betray those you love, watch everyone you care about die – and just be happy cuz they’re food for the force, which you manipulate… and everyone’s death will just make you more powerful. WHAT SORT OF FUCKING JEDI WISDOM IS THAT SHIT YODA??? THAT’S NOT REALLY HELPFUL YOU NEGATIVE GREEN TURD!

My god. The Jedi really are a bunch of goody two shoe clueless fucks. They’re so concerned with fixing the galaxy’s problems that they don’t have time for their own… and due to their unrealistic and inhumane rules about not loving or caring about anything other than the almighty “force” they created an air of fear for Skywalker. How could he level with them? How could he share with them? By the time Obi Wan finds out Anakin and Padme have kids on the way… it’s too late. That ship has sailed. Everyone is so busy being good little soldiers, that they just are not communicating.

Obi Wan never takes Anakin out for drinks and just levels with him. Sits him down and explains fascist totalitarianism. He doesn’t explain why sacrificing the most marginal freedoms to create a false sense of security enables those taking on those additional powers to create a greater evil than that which they fear. Hell, nobody really explains to Anakin why Democracy is better than Absolute Rule. Instead it is all this, “Search your feelings” bullshit. Turn to your ancient religion. This is why ultimately Luke Skywalker kicks ass. Because he doesn’t have all this dogmatic bullshit. Because he’s got a buddy like Han Solo that’d be willing to bust ass across the galaxy to save his ass. Somebody that has his back. FRIENDS! Because when the Sith hits the fan, it’s the love of your friends that’ll help you push through and kick ass. Because Luke believes in twin sunsets, the good guys and saving his dad.

What does Anakin have? Who cares about Anakin? Well Obi Wan, but he doesn’t know how to show it. Yoda? He’s too busy being disturbed about the cosmic meaning of shit to even form a no bullshit non fortune cookie sentence. Mace Windu? He’s got his head so far up his ass it ain’t funny. Padme? She’s more concerned with her hair, her image, everybody’s standing and well being. And then Anakin himself? He’s told he’s the chosen one, the key that will make the galaxy unified. Yet, the only one empowering him to do that is the fucking Emperor.

I love how together Palpatine is. He’s just one of the greatest bad guys in the history of bad guys. He absolutely must be Karl Rove’s hero. Look at this. Palpatine has engineered so many things. The creation of the Droid armies, the creation of the Clone armies, his various Sith apprentices, Fall guys for Fall guys… all with the direct purpose of spreading his enemy so thin, that no matter their powers, when he calls ORDER 66… they’ll never see it coming. It’s like inviting your friends over for an all night session of game play and spreading cyanide on the fucking pizza. They’re all gonna eat it, cuz… dude… it’s what you do when you play games. The Jedi are fighting their war, doing Jedi shit. Kill the droids, tons of them. This shit is fun for them. They eat it up. This is their Frosted Flakes with Bananas. They finally got their Holy Crusade, woo hoo, a sense of purpose. They never think twice about all them fucking Boba Fetts watching their backs.

It’s so beautifully laid out. It’s fucking immaculate. This is literally how you rule the universe. It is to be admired. And learnt from. Cuz as Padme says, “This is how Democracy ends, with Thunderous Applause.” Exactly. Distractions, a clear and concise innocent front and cutthroat evil behind the scenes.

REVENGE OF THE SITH is a masterpiece. The final piece of the puzzle Lucas first presented me at age 6. 27 years later, the Jigsaw is complete and damn if it isn’t just damn near the most tragically cool thing I’ve ever seen put to film. We won’t see another like this. This is it.

We’ll see enormous sci-fantasy told, with more focus and even grander visions in our lifetime… but we’ll never care as much about a story like this one. For our generation, Star Wars is our mythology. The big story we lived to see told the first time. For those of you that were kids in lines in 1977 through to the coming weeks… I have to say, it has been an absolute fucking honor to do this with y’all.

We all know where we each were at the opening of all these films. In two weeks… this is your last story. I’ll never see a new Star Wars movie with my father again. I’ll see many more movies – but this is the last Star Wars, I’ll ever see for the first time with my dad. I’ve seen all 6 with him. All on either the first day – or before. It’s the mythology he’s grown old with and helped me grow up with. This one counts, this one is beautiful. This is the last one.

I can’t possibly express how profoundly odd that is to type. How weird it makes me feel. I went out after the film – I went to find a toy to sit on my desk to look at while I typed this. I went through aisle after aisle of Star Wars stuff, and I couldn’t pick something out. I think the one I most thought was cool – was this Lego play set of Anakin and Obi Wan on Mustafa. You pressed down the Lego character’s head and the light sabers lit up. Gosh that’s cool. I’ll probably buy it for my nephew… Instead I came home, played the score to REVENGE OF THE SITH and wrote this.

Remember – this isn’t a Star Wars movie to cheer for, to erupt into applause and call cool. If you really love STAR WARS – this one is heart ache. Not only is it the end of a nearly 30 year journey for us… It really is the story of how things got so bad, that the good guys had to be a rebellion, where the Jedi had to hide and how evil ruled the galaxy. Wow, I’ve seen my last new Star Wars film. Fuck.

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