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George Lucas Was a Winner Even Before ‘Star Wars’

George Lucas Was a Winner Even Before Star Wars Variety


Lucas parlayed his success with “Graffiti” into an amazing deal with Fox. He got 40% of the “Star Wars” profits and retained ownership of the movie, its sequels and the merchandise. In retrospect, it’s easy to wonder if the Fox execs were insane, but long-running movie franchises were not that common, and successful merchandising seemed limited to animated characters. With the success of “Star Wars” merchandise, studios quickly learned that the formula could work for other films, including live-action ones.

“Star Wars” and Steven Spielberg’s 1975 “Jaws” are often credited with creating the blockbuster mentality of wide releases and heavy marketing. But Lucas’ contributions to Hollywood were bigger than that. First, he showed the industry how to rethink movies as a starting point for video games, theme-park attractions, TV animation and, of course, merchandise.

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Holy smokes, the guy is a GREAT businessman. I'm impressed. 

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