Entertainment Industry

Category: lucasfilm

Lucasfilm scraps plans for new studio in Marin County

The force wasn't with George Lucas -- at least in his latest building plans.

Lucasfilm, the company behind the "Star Wars" movies, said it was scrapping plans to build a huge studio facility in Marin County, citing longstanding opposition from homeowners.

"The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were able to spend more time to acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors,'' Lucasfilm said in a statement Tuesday. "We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years."

Lucasfilm moved its headquarters and most of its employees, including its visual effects unit ILM, to the Presidio in San Francisco several years ago because it outgrew its location at Skywalker Ranch in Lucas Valley.  

The Marin County planning commission in February approved plans for 269,000-square-foot production facility on nearby Grady Ranch, about 15 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  But the project sparked heavy opposition from neighbors who complained it would create noise, traffic and environmental problems.

"We need the spaces we build to do our work,'' Lucasfilm said. "Movies are waiting to be made, and we must move forward."


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-- Richard Verrier

Photo: George Lucas is seen at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael, Calif., in 2005. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press


Feds and Lucasfilm settle probe into recruiting practices

This time the force was against George Lucas.

The company founded by the "Star Wars" creator, Lucasfilm, reached a settlement with the Justice Department over recruiting practices.

The settlement dealt with the common practice of giving a rival a heads-up when considering poaching an employee. It grew out of a Justice probe into the hiring practices of Lucasfilm and Pixar Animation Studios, which charged that the companies stifled competition by agreeing not to cold call each other when recruiting employees and by notifying each other when making an offer to an employee of the other company. A similar settlement had previously been reached with Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar.

The proposed settlement prohibits the companies from engaging in such practices, the Justice Department said in a statement.

"The agreement between Lucasfilm and Pixar restrained competition for digital animators without any procompetitive justification and distorted its competitive process,"  said Christine Varney, assistant attorney general in charge of the department's anti-trust division. "The proposed settlement resolves the department's anti-trust concerns."

A spokesperson for Lucasfilm declined to comment on the settlement. A spokesman for Disney was not immediately available.

The settlement arose out of a broader investigation by Justice's anti-trust division into the employment practices of high-tech companies. In September, the division reached a similar settlement with Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google, Intel Corp., Intuit Inc. and Pixar.

In Hollywood, it is also a common practice for studios and networks to give a warning or seek permission before pursuing an executive. Often this is done to avoid confrontations or risk jeopardizing business relationships.

— Richard Verrier





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