Lucas Licensing is one of seven divisions operating within and supporting the Lucasfilm enterprise, the global corporation responsible for producing some of the most renowned films of all time, including “Star Wars” and the Indiana Jones trilogy, among many others. The privately held company was founded in 1971 by George Lucas and now generates approximately $3 billion in retail sales each year.
The tremendous success Lucasfilm has achieved over the years gives the team at Lucas Licensing a lot to work with and a significant resource pool to draw from. Much of the organization’s work has garnered a cult following, which means there are plenty of consumers all over the world ready and willing to spend their hard-earned money on any number of products.
With plentiful resources and a loyal customer base, the real challenge for the team at Lucas Licensing involves its ability to remain innovative. Howard Roffman, president, explained that this has been achieved through continuous evolution—each product that’s introduced to the market has to bring something new to the table.
“The power of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise begins with the mythology established in the entertainment from the beginning. The franchise has released six films over a 33-year period, and each has played crucial role in advancing the brand,” Roffman said, referring to the animated, top-ranking TV series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” as an example.
Now in its second season, the show carries the “Star Wars” story forward, providing die-hard fans with a weekly dose of their favorite fix. Casey Collins, senior director of international licensing and retail marketing, explained that this is just one way he and his team are perpetuating the brand’s power.
“We’re able to remain innovative because we focus on expanding the brand’s mythology utilizing multiple channels,” he said. “We have a robust publishing program, through which we’ve put out 80 ‘Star Wars’ novels, and we have a childrens publishing program, a comic book series, and video games, which are developed through another division of the company, LucasArts. We are constantly taking people to new places.”
Uniting friends and families
Another important aspect that the team at Lucas Licensing focuses on is the multi-generational appeal of the brands it represents, which allows it to penetrate nearly every age group. Collins said “Star Wars” is the best example of this. “So many people were deeply touched by the films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and many of those people take pleasure in introducing their children to the story,” he explained.
Roffman added that he believes the enduring nature of this cycle is responsible for much of the brand’s success over the years, and especially in recent months. “We’ve been fortunate in the sense that we seem to be pretty immune to the effects of the economic downturn that’s impacting many retailers today,” he said.
A strong support network
In total, there are seven divisions that comprise the Lucasfilm enterprise, and each plays a significant role in the corporation’s success. Here’s a snapshot of the other six that accompany the licensing group:
- Lucasfilm. This division handles all aspects of production, promotion, and strategic management related to the organization’s theatrical, television, and entertainment properties.
- Industrial Light & Magic. Established in 1975, this division has developed over the years to become one of the leading effects facilities in the film industry. Its team has garnered a tremendous amount of positive attention from critics throughout the years, earning 15 Academy Awards (all in the Best Effects category) and 19 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards. In addition, it has played a vital role in five of the top 10 box office hits of all time.
- Skywalker Sound. This division is focused on the area of digital audio post-production. Its team has garnered a significant amount of critical attention for its work, winning a total of 18 Academy Awards throughout its history.
- LucasArts. As one of the world’s top interactive entertainment software publishers, this division is committed to developing products for computers and video game consoles. Over the last 25 years, it has released more than 140 games.
- Animation. Founded in 2003, this division is one of the more recent additions to the LucasFilm portfolio. Less than a decade has passed since its inception, but the organization has already gained the respect of those in the industry. Its work is supported by Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, which was established in 2004.
- Online. The online division was started in 1997 and serves as a portal, connecting Lucasfilm with people across the world. The division’s team handles e-commerce business, as well as all online entertainment, education, and reference material. In recent years, it has helped push the envelope in regard to video streaming, Web documentaries, interactive features, and behind-the-scenes fan access.