Star Wars Will Be a Bomb


In the following may contain mature content from wondering I'm Mark Ramsey and this is inside inside star wars part six on July sixteen thousand nine hundred seventy six principals shooting wrapped on Star Wars. George Lucas was twenty days behind schedule and remarkably close to budget thanks to a devalued British pound but over budget is over budget and so Fox did what its contract said he could do. They took part of George. Lucas directorial fee as compensation shooting was us over that chapter was closed but the troubles were far from over. They were just different. Lucas had to crack the whip. I L M everybody attention. Please Country Club. Ours are over. Look I know I know we don't have air conditioning in this building but we can't do all our work at night and no more makeshift pools and water slides and what I saw on my way in today that can never happen again. What he saw was John Dykstra one of our founders in the parking lot at the controls a forklift balanced precariously in the forks a full-size refrigerator yeah no more more of that George you have to understand? We've never worked on anything this complicated before that's okay. That's okay nobody has I L M cranked it up sixteen people to shifts eleven hours a day six days a week. Things were beginning to come together off the rough cut was done and it really was rough. Most of the visual effects were missing. Sound effects were incomplete. The the famous John Williams score was still being written so this cut featured a temporary score of classical music and Darth vader still spoke in the working class English accent of actor David Crouse who had worked as a bodybuilder in bouncer and had torn up phone books under the stage name Jack The ripper before being cast is the villainous vader. Lucas was forlorn. David's Welsh Jackson is just not working and he can't remember his lines aints they call him darth farmer onset. We need a different voice for vader up. How about how about Orson Welles wins going to say hey that's Orson Welles right here I one other idea and that is how George Lucas approached a voice that was born in Mississippi raised in Michigan and was a stutterer the pitch perfect that's so profundity of James Earle Jones it? It was time to show the rough cut to its first audience and perhaps it's toughest. Let's get this show on the road. George was Brian Brian Depalma within a room Lucas's closest filmmaker friends including John Milius and Steven Spielberg all right guys. What do you think that is not a good sign? The opening crawl goes on forever. What is all this shit? What's with Leah's hair? No there's no sound in Outer Space George Ri- where's the blood when they shoot people. The feedback was so noxious. One of Lucas's friends left the room in tears. Only one person in that room had been silent. George looked at him Stephen. What did you think I love it? I love this story. I love the characters I just love it George. I think this could gross fifty. Maybe sixty million dollars. There was one studio executive in the room Gareth Wagon one the few Fox exacts who had supported Lucas and laddy during the ordeal of star wars he left the screening stunned speechless what happened his wife asked him. What did you see why I can just shook his head? Gather the kids around the kitchen table what he said next he would never forget. I want you to remember this day. I have just seen the most extraordinary ordinary thing in my life. That was it. The first time George Lucas had seen as movie accompanied by it's remarkable score. It was over now. Get the moment lingered he had listened and watched his dream. MM unfold on a thirty four foot screen as John Williams conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a rousing rendition of one of the great movie scores of all time he was moved to tears no matter what star wars had been before this moment it was now something altogether different something better something amazing that nervous Fox executive thumbing his fingers on his desk that was Alan ladd junior. He had staked his own career. You're on George Lucas and what most of his peers at Fox considered this silly space movie. This ridiculous waste of precious company resources a bomb in the making he sat waiting. Waiting for the call there would end his career. The Fox sales team the group tasked with the critical job of booking the film in theaters. They were just finishing a screening of the latest cut of Star Wars. He was waiting in for the bad news with call. He stared at the speakerphone for a long moment. Maybe he shouldn't pick up. He knew what was going to happen. Why endure even more pain what the Hell Ella junior going to be talking about this for months a relieved Alan ladd junior shared the good news with the board at Fox and they didn't believe him? They didn't believe the sales team and they certainly didn't believe George Lucas. They were convinced that Star Wars I could not possibly compete in a competitive summer movie market particularly not when it's up against William Freed Kuenz follow up to the exorcist a thriller called Sorcerer. Some exacts hated the trailer some hated the title Star Wars. It sounds like a cat hat fight between Hollywood starlets. No this was way way too risky Fox would play it safe. They would move the release date earlier to dodge the competition. Maybe then star wars could recoup some of its cost before before being swamped by the big films of the summer and Forgotten Forever Star Wars would be released but not the way George Lucas wanted in all it would debut and fewer than forty theaters nationwide <music> so certain where the suits at Fox that this movie was a flop they would go out of their way to make sure of it on Sunday. May I nineteen seventy seven. It was the premiere of Star Wars at the same theater where American graffiti made its grand debut for years earlier and it was a huge success analysts junior. was there Georgia I have to tell you. I've never experienced that kind of reaction to any movie ever. The applause splashed over us like tidal waves. It never stopped outside the theater. There was one man even more happy than Laddy George Lucas. He was shaking hands with every single person passing through the exit. Thank you thank you thank you thank you so much. Thank you so much for helping out George. The man was beaming glowing. When George was young? This man never thought he would amount to anything he was sure. George would come home failure if he ever came home at all. I'm so glad you like to thank you so much. It's amazing isn't it. It's amazing. George is amazing said George did come home but not as a failure he came home is the man who made star wars and his father George senior was so proud a late night dinner at the Hamburger Hamlet on Hollywood boulevard. George Lucas was still worried. What if that premier was a fluke already? He was getting reports from Fox about executive reactions to the movie. He was told that three execs loved it three liked it to fell asleep and the rest didn't understand it at all and we're fretting about how they'd ever get their money back. The hamburger hamlet was across the street from grauman's Chinese theater he had stepped onto the street and into the middle of a mob scene. Traffic was blocked eight nine ten lines of people were wrapped around the block in all directions watched the limos arrive out from one step hugh hefner and a Bevy of playboy bunnies. Somebody must be premiering a movie. He said himself he was right. In huge letters to words radiated above the theater from the massive marquee two words Star Wars Inside Star Wars brought to you by the best mattress in any galaxy even one far far away. I'm talking about Casper. I've got a hybrid casper mattress. A combination of foam and springs in it is fantastic. I sleep well on it. Keeps me cool at night and it's comfortable. They've also got the original casper the wave and the essential now casper products are cleverly designed to mimic human curves providing support of comfort for all kinds of bodies even the exotic kinds you find an galactic to Cantina and they're affordable because Casper cuts out the middleman and sells directly to you. Look you spend a thirty year life sleeping. 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For ten percent off any premium plan it was eight A._M.. When the line began forming warming in one theater in Los Angeles all one thousand seats were sold out for every show from morning to midnight and then star wars got even more popular people were seeing it three and four times? They would leave the theater and joined the back of the line for the next show all day long day after day. The critics were a few sive magnificent years most razzle dazzle movie. There was even jab at the studio that had made George George. Lucas is life such a living hell for the years he invested in Star Wars. There is no corporate substitute for the creative passion of the individual filmmaker. Not everyone loved it. Gene Siskel grouse that Darth vader looked like a black vinyl coated frog another reviewer complained of desperate boredom not caring what might happen to any of the two dimensional characters and some critics hated to love it. It's a big dumb flick but at least it's a good one director Ridley Scott's saw star wars at grauman's he was he was odd by it. I don't know I don't know what we're doing. This guy's making star wars. I'm not even in the same universes this guy the same censure release Scott would be inspired and would soon make alien in bladerunner a young James Cameron was so overwhelmed. He quit his job as a truck driver. If I'm ever GonNa make movies he told himself I'd better get going star. Wars was a smash after years of toil and struggle pain and punishment. There was only one thing George Lucas wanted to do even now leave town. It was a rainy day in London. When Alec Guinness Finally saw a completed star wars he wasn't he wasn't unprepared for the spectacle of for an actor who had participated in some films greatest ethics? This was something altogether grander. He wrote a friend. It's a staggering film technically brilliant elegant exciting very noisy in warmhearted the battle scenes at the end go on for five minutes too long and some of the dialogue is excruciating when it isn't lost in noise the only really disappointing performances is Anthony Daniels is the robot fidgety and overly elaborate not that any of the cast can stand up to the mechanical things around the George Lucas had earned this vacation. He was in Hawaii with his friend. Steven Spielberg both were basking in their success. Star Wars was already on track to overtake jaws as the highest grossing movie of all time but this was a time for play not work there on that Beach George Lucas and Steven Spielberg scooped shoveled sand to form a cast George now that I'm done with close encounters. I'm GonNa take running James Bond again. Why you want action adventure sure Steve? If that's what you're looking for Ivan ideas even better. Oh yeah tell me it's about a dashing in adventurous college archaeology professor who's also a part time treasure hunter and searching for something searching for why I don't I don't I don't I don't know yet something you know something. Exotic precious important like the arc of the communist the law stark yeah wow I call the main character Indiana Indiana Smith Well Georgia. If you need a director you know where to find me your building sand castles in Hawaii. The success of Star Star Wars finally gave Harrison for the permission he needed to hang up his carpentry tools for good now that star wars was breaking records. Everyone expected his sequel but that sequel would come on different terms. George Lucas sat uncomfortably across the desk from an even more uncomfortable Alan ladd junior seau laddy fox gets sixty percent of the profits from Star Wars my partisan. I get forty percent now. I know what I do for my forty. percent is my blood sweat and tears. Tell me what you do for your sixty. Are there are no crickets in L._A.. In the middle of the day but if there were now's when you hear him well George. We provide the money now you don't you don't you go to a bank with the letter of credit and they provide the money. You're not doing anything. Every Gripe George Lucas ever had about any studio executive was spilling out now at the speed of a rebel fighter so here's how it's GonNa Work Laddy. I will be financing sequel myself using profits from star wars collateral. I get final cut. You get distribution and a whole hell of a lot less money. Deal Fox was stuck like it or not. They were no longer in the Fox business. Now now they were in the George Lucas business deal and because Lucas retained all merchandising rights he almost literally financed the sequels one action action figure at a time toy company Kenner was humming day and night turning out star wars toys by the tens of thousands and it's still wasn't close to satisfying demand off the hottest toys. The ones that kids wanted most wouldn't be ready until after Christmas in nineteen seventy seven so Kenner did the only logical thing it's empty yep his sold an empty box parents would pay for an early bird certificate package basically an I._O._U.. For the first four action figures Luke Laya are two in tobacco. They must've done something right. Kenner would go on to sell forty million star wars figures in nineteen seventy eight alone by the end of nineteen seventy seven star wars officially became the highest grossing film of All Time Toppling Spielberg's legendary shark epic Jaws Version Star Wars would be nominated for ten Oscars this it would win several but it would lose best picture and George Lucas would be shut out of the prizes. For screenplay and director good that was Lucas longtime friend Francis Coppola now George will be back. He won't retire. He likes to win too. Much and win is exactly what he did not only did he win control and independence. He also one rights to the franchise today. Star Wars remains the highest grossing film in the franchise with an adjusted total of one point six billion dollars overall. It's second only to gone with the Wind George Lucas. I never wanted to be a mogul. I never wanted to be rich. I always wanted to be an artist to make my own future and not have to beg borrower steel to make my dreams come true aw for the growing army of fans nothing was hotter than Star Wars. No one was hotter than Joe. The the the empire strikes back probably announced that the final chapter in the trilogy will be called return of the George. Lucas was untouchable. He could do no wrong. He was on top of the world and after three movies in the Star Wars series he was exhausted he would spend twenty years years out of the director's chair twenty years in which he would tinker with his original classics often suffering the IRA fans who preferred their star wars to look the way it did the very first time they saw his friends like Francis. Coppola did not hold back George Star Wars is such a pity research an experimental crazy guy but you got lost in this monster of production if you don't stop now you'll never get out of it. Francis Star Wars is my destiny is what I'm here to do know George No it isn't Lucas brushed him off. He finally had in mind an arc for three Star Wars prequels sixteen years after Jedi a New Star Wars movie would blast into theaters worldwide. Lucas would write indirect it was the second coming anticipation was sky high and then it all came tumbling down may nineteen nineteen ninety nine today was the day Lincoln Gasping had been waiting for he had camped here at the front of the line at Man's Chinese. He's Theater in Hollywood day and night for six weeks. His expensive once in a lifetime trip from Australia to the doorstep of Star Wars had been planned for a year. Can we get a photo lincoln. Look this way please. He had become a celebrity famous for being first in line for a new generations star wars and then he saw the movie Lincoln. How is the movie Lincoln? Did you like it Lincoln. The backlash had begun in every corner of the globe splashed across every online platform. The Fan boys and girls exacted their revenge jour-jour binks seriously isley. Excuse me so this back story about trade and taxes. This is what happens when P._B._S.. Go see wait. Wait wait wait. A force isn't a spiritual thing after all. It's all biochemistry in midday. Chlorine Syrians and as technology improved Lucas continued to tweak his original trilogy sometimes changing more than Cosmetics Wake Hayden Christensen is in return of the jet. I knew what you mean. Garrido shoots on. I hind shoots first on shoots. First Han shoots first high shoes Jesus Christ come on now harm shoots first George. Lucas was overwhelmed in heartbroken. The criticism was relentless in withering he had been trying to bring to the film's division he always had the one that technology and studio interference head always made impossible and now the the audience the very people who had so embrace star wars they were turning their backs on him and maybe he was turning his back on them. He kept repeating to himself align from the classic movie network. You have meddled with the PRIMEAU forces of Nature Mr Bill the primal forces of nature in the United Kingdom. A two thousand one cents is revealed that over over three hundred ninety thousand English residents defined their religion as Djeddai Star Wars had become hours and now it was no longer his the star wars is finished told friends there will be no more. I'm done well. Star Wars was far from finished but before another chapter another trilogy George Lucas would have to say the most difficult word in his vocabulary he would have to say goodbye <music> from wondering this is a seven part deep dive inspired by the story behind an unforgettable classic movie. This has been part six of inside star the wars listen for a new episode every Wednesday Britain and narrated by Mark Ramsey audio design and production by Jeff Schmidt produced by Mark Ramsey media executive producers Marshall Louis and Hernan Lopez four wondering subscribe on Apple Podcasts spotify stitcher one dot com or wherever you're listening right now. If you like what you're hearing we'd love you to give us a five star rating in review us and be sure to tell your friends and show them how to subscribe find a link to subscribe to inside Star Wars and more information on the episode notes just tap or Swipe over the cover art. You'll also see some offers from our sponsors. Please support this show by supporting them. Join the conversation on twitter at wondering media and at Mark Ramsey media use hashtag inside star wars on facebook search inside star wars or follow wondering dot F._M.. Slash inside group. I'll see you. They're illegal desk.

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