Star Wars Episode VII has already begun shooting, according to Disney Studios chairman, Alan Horn.
Horn was being interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles.
Star Wars, Episode VII will not be the end of the Star Wars franchise. Two other episodes are yet to be made at some unspecified time in the future.
Alan Horn said in the April 2 interview that not all the cast had yet been chosen, despite the fact that filming had started. However, most of the cast was now in place, “We have a lot of them [in place],” he said about the main actors, whose names have not been disclosed. “We’re just not completely done yet.”
Horn accepted there had been problems with the script, and said “It’s all about the screenplay. It has to be screenplay, screenplay, screenplay.” When he was asked if the screenplay was sufficient for the current stages of filming, he replied, “It actually is now.”
The script has been co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams, after an early draft by Michael Arndt.
The interview was not exclusively about Star Wars but also covered other aspects of Alan Horn’s long career in the industry.
He was once co-owner of Castle Rock Entertainment, and later president of Warner Bros. Two of his greatest challenges were being responsible for the Harry Potter franchise, and handling the fallout from the unexpected death of The Dark Knight co-star Heath Ledger.
Horn spoke about the increasing importance of foreign markets and their future growth potential:
“China is now the No. 2 market after the United States,” he said. “But just to give you some perspective, there’s 44,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada; in the U.K. there’s 4,000, Italy 4,000, Spain 4,000, France 4,800, Mexico 5,000. China has 18,000 now [for] 1.3 billion people — 18,000 screens. We have one-quarter as many people and 44,000 screens. And they’re building 10 screens a day in China. It is a major new growth market.”
International revenue grew from $9.5 billion in 2004 to $24 billion in 2012. He estimated around $28 billion in 2016. He was sure that the growth for the future would be in international markets, but they simply don’t have enough screens.
Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled for release in December 201. The story will pick up “where 6 left off — and where 6 left off is 35 years ago by the time this is released.”