Disney is guilty of being late to the streaming service game and deals like this which may have seemed beneficial at the time, have now come back to haunt them a bit. As of right now, Turner has the rights to show the films on its cable networks, which includes TNT, TBS and online until the year 2024. Disney sold the original Star Wars trilogy's streaming rights to Turner back in 2016, and talks to buy them back haven't proved fruitful thus far, meaning Disney may be forced to wait until the deal expires in 2024.
When Disney's streaming platform launches in 2019, Star Wars is expected to form a big part of it.
Bloomberg reports Disney is trying to regain the broadcasting rights so it can offer the films on its upcoming new video service.
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Nevertheless, while the films that actually broke new ground and blazed the trail will be off the table for potentially half a decade, Disney can rest easy about Star Wars movies. However, the media landscape is rapidly changing, and studios like Disney are increasingly interested in retaining the rights to their films to make them available on their own services. I can't tell you, but if I had to guess I'd say they want people to watch the movies on their cable stations.
This is a bit of an irony for Disney, because assuming they do not return to the negotiating table to reach a more palatable solution with Turner, this means they can not put on streaming the six movies-and specifically three classics-from which so much of their current product derives. Turner paid about $275 million for the six Star Wars movies released between 1977 and 2005, plus the newer titles.