Filming of Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ movie under way in Abu Dhabi


ABU DHABI -- Filming of the first “Star Wars” movie to be made under Walt Disney Co. has started in Abu Dhabi, with casting to be announced soon, said Alan Horn, chairman of company’s film unit.

Horn spoke at a Bloomberg Business of Entertainment event today in New York, before heading to the U.K. to finish work on the screenplay. While principal shooting hasn’t started, some secondary scenes have been shot already, he said. The U.K.’s Pinewood Studios will be the primary filming venue, he said.

“We have all these locations we have to film and we have to give it that ‘Star Wars-ian’ look,” Horn said. “So we need to go to different places that give us the right look and feel.”

The movie, to be released in December 2015, will be the seventh “Star Wars” picture from Lucasfilm, purchased in 2012 by Disney in a $4.05 billion bet on the franchise created by George Lucas. Horn has led a revival at Walt Disney Studios, where Marvel, Pixar and the company’s original animation studio are also housed, by focusing on so-called tentpole films. He emphasized the importance of the growing international box office in greenlighting projects.

“The challenge is to have pictures that can travel,” Horn said. “We’ve learned that these tentpole movies are most desired all around the world.”

Since Horn’s arrival in June 2012, two Disney films have topped $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales, “Iron Man 3” and “Frozen.” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the latest Marvel superhero movie, has led the box office for three weeks. At Warner Bros., where he co-lead the film studio for 12 years, Horn oversaw the “Harry Potter” and “Dark Knight” franchises.