Hollywood heavyweight George Lucas, who yesterday announced the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney for $4bn, is planning to dedicate the majority of his wealth to improving education, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter.
The creator of the Star Wars franchise, who was worth about $3bn before the deal, has plans for a major “Bill Gates-style philanthropic initiative,” focusing on education and health issues, the report said.
Lucas is already known for his charitable donations, supporting charities such as Make-A-Wish, Stand up to Cancer, and in 2006 he gave $175m to his alma mater University of Southern California (USC).
In 2010, he signed The Giving Pledge effort created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to get America’s wealthiest individuals and families “to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.”
Disney is planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, episode seven, which will be followed by episodes eight and nine, the company said in a statement announcing the deal.
“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers,” Lucas said.
Disney will finance about half of the deal in cash with the reminder being paid for with shares and the entertainment giant is planning to issue 40m new shares to fund the transaction.
The deal follows Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar studios for $7.4bn in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2bn in 2009.