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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies The Almighty Buck

The Star Wars Money Machine 248

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-lot-of-credits dept.
Darth Cola writes " The Star Wars franchise has made George Lucas plenty rich. But his fortune is only a peice of a much bigger financial pie, one which Forbes.com estimates at just shy of $20 billion. They have a rundown of the Star Wars financial empire, and a market by market breakdown of where the money comes from." From the article: "It all started with a story treatment, handwritten in pencil on a few sheets of lined yellow legal paper. That's all that existed of the multibillion-dollar financial empire, now known as the Star Wars universe, when filmmaker George Lucas sat down in 1974 to write what, within three years, would be the biggest meteor to hit Hollywood since there's been a Hollywood."
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The Star Wars Money Machine

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:31PM (#12531182)
    He sat down to write Star Wars? I thought he just made it up as he went along...
    • Re:George Lucas (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NextGaurd (844638) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:47PM (#12531298)
      Apparently he had to force himself to write Revenge of the Sith - including setting fixed hours to be a at a desk... no wonder it's "dark."
    • Re:George Lucas (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShadowBlasko (597519) <shadowblasko AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:48PM (#12531300) Homepage
      Last night someone posted a link to the orginal reviews. Included in the review for Return of The Jedi was this little gem:

      Will George Lucas "go Hollywood" now that he's joined filmdom's elite? Not likely, the San Francisco-area resident indicates in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine. When asked about the folks who run the film industry, Lucas replied, "They're rather sleazy, unscrupulous people. L.A. is where they make deals, do business in the classic corporate American Way, which is screw everybody and do whatever you can to make the biggest profit."


      I laughed until I cried.

      Source: Saint Petersburg Times (pops) [sptimes.com]

      • Re:George Lucas (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sebadude (680162)
        The fact that he was extremely successful doesn't automatically mean that he screwed everybody and did whatever he could to make the biggest profit.

        Of course he took advantage of starwars' success, but who wouldn't have? That doesn't make him sleazy and unscrupulous.
        • Re:George Lucas (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ShadowBlasko (597519) <shadowblasko AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:15PM (#12531469) Homepage
          "That doesn't make him sleazy and unscrupulous."

          No, admittedly it does not.

          However, I don't know how old you are, but I am 32. I barely remember seeing the orginal Star Wars in the theaters. I remember thinking it was neat, and that the people around me were totally and completely awestruck.

          It was a turning point in US Cinematography, as well as Science Fiction in general. Star Trek was still dead, Galactica was camp, and out of nowhere came this shining new well crafted "Space Opera".

          It was truly a defining moment for the science fiction culture, as well as a generation of filmgoers. Then came Empire. Still good, not quite as fast paced, and obviously written with sequal in mind. It also introduced us to the notion that spoilers could get your ass beat in the lobby.

          Jedi was the turning point. As many have said, it took something near and dear to many, and almost religious to some, and turned it into a marketing machine for action figures.

          That hurt.

          As time has passed, it has become clear that Mr Lucas does not understand (or understands all too well, but does not care) how important his creation was and is to many many people.

          He has changed it, manipulated his fans, and slowly bled every penny he could, and with them every feeling that it is something more than just a film, from his fan base. He refuses to release the orginal 3 movies in their original formats on DVD. Do you realize that some people actually bought laserdisc players JUST to see that!

          He took something we loved, and used it against us. He has proven that the $ is all he cares about. Thats why many people feel he is "sleazy and unscrupulous."

          • How true, I'm working on getting the originals in laser disc format. I've already got a player. Sadly, my VHS copy of A New Hope was ruined in a hungry VCR. My online handle is named after a ship from the rebel fleet. Now, I couldn't care less about Star Wars. After seeing the "improved" originals and Episode 1, I was disgusted. Lucas can keep his stuff, I'm not making him any richer.
          • Re:George Lucas (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Nobody considered Star Wars to be good science fiction until years later. When it came out it was widely recognized for what it was -- Good ol' fashioned campy Flash Gordonesque pulp with snazzy sfx.

            In the 80s and 90s, Lucas put a lot of effort into convicing people that Star Wars was Great Art and he was a Great Artist And Thinker. All that Joseph Campbell stuff that Lucas read in English Lit 101. Funny how people still see "Indiana Jones" for what it is (good fun, with Nazis!) and haven't been marketed i
          • Re:George Lucas (Score:5, Informative)

            by Slider451 (514881) <(slider451) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:16PM (#12531807)
            Star Trek was still dead

            True.

            Galactica was camp, and out of nowhere came this shining new well crafted "Space Opera".

            Galactica didn't come out until after Star Wars, riding on its coattails, as did Buck Rogers.

            The only 70s SF shows of any significance I can think of that came out before Star Wars were Space:1999, another timeless classic that has aged quite well; and Dr. Who, when Tom Baker was the Doctor.
            • The only 70s SF shows of any significance I can think of that came out before Star Wars were Space:1999, another timeless classic that has aged quite well;

              You're kidding, right? Space: 1999 was on a par with Lost in Space. If the Razzies had existed back then (and maybe they did) it would have gotten worst plots, worst acting, worst special effects, and probably a lifetime worst achievement award

            • Also the 1970 British TV series UFO [imdb.com] (and here [tvtome.com]), which was mostly on Earth but had a nice moonbase and occasional space battles (which weren't like WW2 dogfights!). I dunno how it would stand up now, but I enjoyed it at 8.

              Star Wars had a lot more context than people these days realize.

          • Re:George Lucas (Score:2, Insightful)

            by youknowmewell (754551)
            it took something near and dear to many, and almost religious to some...Mr Lucas does not understand (or understands all too well, but does not care) how important his creation was and is to many many people...something more than just a film, from his fan base...

            I think those people that think a movie is more than just a movie need to get out more. I'm sure glad George doesn't submit to the will's of the unwashed-nerd masses, because the anal retentivness and out-spoken arrogance of many bothers the hel
          • While I know many fans have a tendency to bash Jedi, I feel compelled to speak up on its behalf. Granted I saw it when I was very young, but the Ewoks never really bothered me (well, not until much later after everyone pointed out how silly they could be). While they may be cute and cuddly, they were well done as far as cute and cuddly things go. And the rest of Jedi -- Jabba's palace, the space battle over the forest moon of Endor, the lightsaber duel with Vader -- was pretty darn fine.

            The point of all t

          • I hate to say it, but get some perspective. Star Wars is just a story. Just like so many other stories behind it. The metaphorical journey of coming of age by correcting your parents mistakes, then gaining the wisdom that realizes the mistakes were not really malevolent, and forgiving, is as old as humanity. The story of being overtaken by something bigger than you is equally old. The only thing new was the setting and special effects, which really came about by the creative application of available t
    • ... of course, it doesn't say WHERE he sat down to write it.
  • That was tehn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NextGaurd (844638) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:33PM (#12531202)
    Previous generations may have objected to commercialism but we grew up on. I'd be surprised if every aspect of Star Wars didn't get commercialized. Besides the Yoda/Pepsi ads are funny.
    • Re:That was then (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Baron_Yam (643147) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:50PM (#12531320)
      It all went south with RotJ, which was an unashamed attempt to sell as many action figures and toys as absolutely possible to kids. With PM, we saw large portions of the movie given over to selling a video game.

      Star Wars nerds ruined Star Wars the same way that Trek nerds ruined Trek - by accepting any shit thrust upon them with the appropriate branding, the producers felt free to sacrifice quality in order to broaden appeal and merchandise the hell out of the product.

      In both cases, we get bland crap that doesn't stand up well to the original. Greedy producers, stupid nerds... a fatal combination.
      • With PM, we saw large portions of the movie given over to selling a video game.

        If you're talking about the pod race, and the subsequent release of "Episode I Racer"...bullshit. Not only does Lucas put high-speed "thrill rides" into his movies just on general principle (the Death Star in ANH, the speeder bikes in ROTJ, the street race in American Graffiti, the climatic car chase in THX 1138), he was also making a gratuitious homage to the chariot race in Ben-Hur. [1] [wikipedia.org] [2] [wikipedia.org]
    • ...the Yoda/Pepsi ads are funny.

      That one is kinda cute, but the one with Darth Vader was just sad.

      A guy scratches a winning game piece that say "You win a million dollars."

      Then the doorbell rings. When the guy opens the door, Vader is there. Vader says, "I am your father."

      The guy deduces that Vader is just trying to get a chunk of the million he's just won and shakes his head no. Then he shuts the door in Vader's face, while Vader continues on with, "I am you brother... uncle... cousin!

      When I was y

      • When I was younger, Darth Vader was a great "bad guy" who commanded respect from everyone. He never came across as undignified.

        Now he is reduced to a shill for Pepsi, as a character that people laugh at. How sad is that?


        You do realize that this new movie is a PREQUEL right?

        In the beginning, Darth Vader was just a scam, he wasn't the big bad ass empire running fiend that he is in episodes 4-6.
    • "When Pepsi you drink, look like mine your teeth will!"
  • by gameboyhippo (827141) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:35PM (#12531210) Journal
    If anybody has the DVD set, there's some interesting documentry on there that shows his struggles with the big movie producers (that is FOX) and how it was a battle between his independent creativity and the wants of the studio.

    In the end he's now got the big studio and calling the shots. It's as though he joined the dark side to defeat the dark side.

    • by srlunsford (697271) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:41PM (#12531251)
      It seems like in those days, Lucas was much more creative than he is now...It's as if working within those budget constraints and having to face opposition from the major studios at the time forced him to create a compelling (if not slightly hokey) story that completely drew audiences in.

      In my opinion, he's simply trying too hard to make a blockbuster. Star Wars was meant to be a cheesy little space opera, not some grandiose epic. While RotS may be a decent film in its own right, I doubt it will have the appeal of the original trilogy.
  • Jar-Jar (Score:4, Funny)

    by zaguar (881743) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:37PM (#12531222)
    The Star Wars franchise has made George Lucas plenty rich

    Is that a direct quote from Jar-Jar?
  • by a_greer2005 (863926) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:42PM (#12531259)
    Star Wars Episode 0, the Quest for More Money.
  • So he's rich. I'm not. Nothing's changed.
  • From TFA... (Score:5, Funny)

    by shadowmatter (734276) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:44PM (#12531272)
    Over the course of 28 years, those films and their modern counterparts, The Phantom Menace from 1999 and Attack of the Clones from 2002, have grossed $5.67 billion globally when adjusted for inflation. Assuming an average ticket price of $6.25, that would buy more than 907 million tickets to Revenge of the Sith--enough for every person in the Western Hemisphere, with the entire population of Poland included twice.

    Don't forget Poland!

    - sm
    • I'd just like to point out that Poland (and Germany, and plenty of others) are NOT in the western hemisphere.

      Map [nasa.gov]
      • I'd just like to point out that Poland (and Germany, and plenty of others) are NOT in the western hemisphere.

        I don't remember anyone claiming that it was...

        And yes, I did RTFA.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:47PM (#12531296) Homepage
    Considering how rich George Lucas is, it's interesting to keep hearing him talk about his future projects, how he wants to make smaller movies etc.

    "I've earned the right to just make things that I find provocative in my own way," he's quoted as saying. [wired.com] "I've earned the right to fail, which means making what I think are really great movies that no one wants to see."

    I always wonder what the hell that means? Earned the right to fail? Like he wasn't allowed to fail before? Exactly how much money was he supposed to make before he could buy his way into the club of mere mortals who are allowed to fail? Kind of a strange way to approach a creative ambition, I think. What mental process must go on in Lucas's head that he has to actually give himself permission to be creative, and justify it by pointing to his past commercial successes?

    In general, I'd love to see a psychological profile of George Lucas sometime. Especially considering some of the truly bizarre moral commandments he's put into his recent films (missing your mom is wrong, getting angry at things is bad and makes you a bad person, if you want to be a hero then relationships are forbidden, etc.) ... don't get me wrong, I like [some of] his movies and all, but I can't help but suspect that despite all his success, Lucas is just sort of a sad, isolated, lonely, messed-up old fucker.
    • by Quirk (36086) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:00PM (#12531375) Homepage Journal
      "Earned the right to fail?"

      I can't speak for Lucas but I did hear a similar sentiment from jazz clarinetist Artie Shaw [npr.org]. I'm a jazz fan and picked up on Artie Shaw in a history of jazz program, then later heard an extended series of interviews with him. He spoke of the right to fail as a prerequisite to great playing. He was of the opinion that people who play it safe and play to a known recipe aren't able to make great music. He went on to say his best playing always contained errors because he was reaching beyond his present abilities in an attempt to conquer new heights (my loose paraphrase). I think Lucas means something similar when he talks of the right to fail as the right to go beyond the status quo ante and break new ground even if in the attempt he is seen to fail.

      cheers

    • I always wonder what the hell that means? Earned the right to fail? Like he wasn't allowed to fail before? Exactly how much money was he supposed to make before he could buy his way into the club of mere mortals who are allowed to fail? Kind of a strange way to approach a creative ambition, I think. What mental process must go on in Lucas's head that he has to actually give himself permission to be creative, and justify it by pointing to his past commercial successes?

      It means he can afford to make a movie
      • "It means he can afford to make a movie that is not well recieved w/o it ending his career. "

        But that's nonsense. He's been able to make any movie that he wanted to make since the 80s since he has vast sums of money.

    • > What mental process must go on in Lucas's head that he has to actually give himself permission to
      > be creative, and justify it by pointing to his past commercial successes?

      I figure a couple decades or so of relenteless abuse from moviegoers brought it about. Even when we all loved Star Wars and episode 1 hadn't released yet, very few people attributed the success of the earlier films to Lucas.

      He's probably one of the most successful failures in the world. ;) Since it's likely hordes of people will
    • by uberdave (526529) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:03PM (#12531396) Homepage
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?
      George, when's the next Star Wars movie coming out?

      Here you filthy ingrates! Now leave me alone!

      I think that's what he meant by "earned the right".
    • by the pickle (261584) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:06PM (#12531417) Homepage
      I think you're interpreting his meaning incorrectly. He isn't saying that lesser-known directors/filmmakers can't be creative, but I think what he is saying is that his massive successes have allowed him carte blanche with his ideas. Spielberg is another one who comes to mind as far as getting a blank check for anything he wants to do. Peter Jackson's work on LotR has given him nearly the same ability.

      It's a very rare luxury in modern Hollywood to be able to do pretty much whatever you want with film and get it distributed. That's what Lucas has achieved for himself. Whether that's a good or bad thing for the rest of us, well...

      p
      • Have you seen other Peter Jackson movies?
        He didnt need any fscking carte blanche to do what he wanted.
        lotr is in fact one of his less creative work.
        • Right, but now that he's basically paid his dues and demonstrated that he can work within tight constraints of story and whatnot, he's well-known enough to do something different that might be more in line with his other movies.
      • When Lucas could have made anything, he went on to make Revenge Of The Sith...

        Spielberg's filmography http://imdb.com/name/nm0000229/ [imdb.com] isn't exactly chock full of critical successes either. He's got a few holocaust projects to his credit but, outside of Jaws and, possibly ET, that's it. I like Sugarland Express. He's got a thing the 2ww, though, check out those credits on Medal Of Honour.

        The only other people that I can immediately think of who do this sort of thing is Clint Eastwood and John Sayles. Once
    • > Earned the right to fail? Like he wasn't allowed to fail before?

      I think this quote can mean that now he can make an unpopular [crappy] movie and still be able to make more. You know, when a new director screws up, there's often no second chance. Either get it right the first time, or you'll never be directing anything again.
    • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:11PM (#12531443) Journal
      "I've earned the right to fail"

      It reminds me of an engineer who said "I knew I was sucessful when I knew I could turn down clients."

      I think the point is that he wants to make something that he is happy with and screw everyone else, at thats a pretty good goal to have. You don't wear your comfy pjs and sweats on the streets because of social pressure, not because you don't like the clothing.

      Alot of art is peer reviewed. Your sucess or failure depends on what others say; teachers, critics, art dealers, customers. The social pressure is huge especially in a highly visible position he has.
    • Alright! More "Howard the Duck" on the plans, I guess :)
    • I wish you hadn't ended your post with this "don't get me wrong, I like [some of] his movies and all, but I can't help but suspect that despite all his success, Lucas is just sort of a sad, isolated, lonely, messed-up old fucker."... up to this point I thought it had been insightful, especially your third paragraph.
      I assume you probably were a formerly intelligent enough person who had been around slashdot a long enough time to use the cliche disclaimer "1) don't get me wrong", followed by "2) I like X and
    • Howard the Duck.
      Nuff said.
    • Film is a unique art because doing even basic work requires more money than any non-wealthy individual can supply themselves.

      20 minute long senior projects by film students routinely cost in excess of $50,000 and that is with the dramatic cost-reduction of digital film, and the benefit of near-free student labor.

      In hollywood earning the right to fail means you never have to worry about having a project greenlighted, and failing to make a profit doesn't keep you from making your next project.

      Stephen Spiel
  • So wait (Score:4, Funny)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:48PM (#12531309) Homepage Journal
    does this mean my choice of M&M's does NOT determine my fate? That it was a cheap marketing ploy?
    I thought I was a badass Sith because I chose the peanut M&Ms...but it's a lie....DAMN YOU LUCAS! DAMN YOUUUUUUUUU!!!
  • by mccalli (323026) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:54PM (#12531340) Homepage
    I was educated regarding this in a news thread with a comic author friend of mine. Here's a link to the thread [google.co.uk].

    To quote the relevant bit:
    Also, there's no point just throwing comic characters at me as if I'm saying all comics are better than film, because I'm not. I'm just saying I can blatantly see Lucas' influences and I prefered New Gods to Star Wars. (New Gods had Darkseid and the Source, Star Wars has Darth Vader and the Force. Orion is revealed to be Darkseid's son; Luke is Vader's son. New Gods had a spiritual leader/father figure to Orion called Highfather; Star Wars has spiritual leader/father figure to Luke called Obi Wan Kenobi. New Gods:1971. Star Wars: 1977. George Lucas was a comics fan. Say no more).

    Sound convincing enough to me.

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • What's more, apocryphal stories say Darth Vader was directly inspired by Doctor Doom, another comic book villain invented by Jack Kirby (creator of the New Gods).
    • by PapayaSF (721268) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:49PM (#12531640) Journal
      The similarities with New Gods is interesting, but Star Wars also grew out of Lucas' desire to remake Flash Gordon:

      http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mstarwar.html [straightdope.com]

      Here it is, straight from Lucas' first Hollywood boss and fellow USC graduate, Francis Ford Coppola: "George wanted to do Flash Gordon ... he met with the people who owned it, and they didn't take him at all seriously. So he took the Flash Gordon trailers -- the diagonal titles that talk about the universe at that point [he means the opening story synopsis that seems to recede from the viewer as it scrolls up] -- and sort of combined it with a Stanley Kubrick '2001' world and created his own 'Flash Gordon.' " Lucas says the characters of "Star Wars" are not originals but "tributes."
    • by TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:04PM (#12531738)
      I'm sorry, but, while a good conspiracy theory, this is about as silly as Battlestar: Galactica getting sued because of its similarities to Star Wars back in the day.

      Essentially, there are several archetypes (one could even call them "stereotypes") of the sci-fi genre that a great many filmmakers and writers have adopted for their own use. Motifs such as the villain being the hero's father, a spiritual father figure to the hero, and mystical overtones (such as the Force) can be found ALL OVER sci-fi movies and literature. Lucas was not the first to adopt them, and he undoubtedly will not be the last.

      But, of course, the fact that these archetypes are being used over and over again by no means means that they cannot be used *well.* Peoples' fond memories of the original SW movies, the plot/characters of which were somewhat cliche as far as sci-fi movies go, only proves the point. Luke was the naive hero, Han the roguish "wild card", Leia the "damsel in distress", Vader the evil villain. What matters, however, is that Lucas honed each part to near-perfection, such that the characters were so believable and *human* that they didn't *seem* like stereotypes. I believe that it's this element that is sorely missing from the prequels, but that's another rant altogether!

      • What I find interesting is that Vader is essentially the German word for father (vater, IIRC). So when they dubbed the movies into German, did they have to change Darth Vader's name?
        • Vader means father in Dutch...

          In French, they changed it to Dark Vador, but I suspect it was more for pronouciation issues.

          Although I'm a netive French speaker, I was introduced to the Dutch language while still fairly young. So it's always been obvious to me that Darth Vader was just meant to be "Dark Father".
      • Peoples' fond memories of the original SW movies, the plot/characters of which were somewhat cliche as far as sci-fi movies go, only proves the point. Luke was the naive hero, Han the roguish "wild card", Leia the "damsel in distress", Vader the evil villain. What matters, however, is that Lucas honed each part to near-perfection, such that the characters were so believable and *human* that they didn't *seem* like stereotypes. I believe that it's this element that is sorely missing from the prequels, but th
  • by mbrewthx (693182)
    This is not the Story your looking for..
    We don't need to see your replies.
    George is still a regular Joe just like you..
    Move along..
  • by Che Guevarra (85906) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:56PM (#12531356)
    Yoda selling Pepsi, Chewbacca on E!, Vader selling pizzas....
    Did anyone think Lucas would have learned? Out of control and horrible... I'm hugging my tie-fighter from 1974 in the closet under a pile of socks. All ewoks must die.
    • Think of the new products: Chewbacca's chewing ta-bacca! I'll be big time rich and corrupt the children that Lucas loves!

      mwahahahahah!

      Jar-Jar Cigarz!

      Skywalker Malt Liquor!

      Does the trail of money ever end?
    • If chewbacca was on E star wars would have been rather difrent

      Chewbacca : urgh rgh wuhh wuhh ::: I love you vader man your my father too
      Vader: Bring me skywalker
      Chewbacca : urgh urgh wah wah urgh :: No man seriously i love you your like my brother and luke is like our son dude i love you lets dance
      Vader : i grow impatiant with you wookie
      Chewbacca : urgh urghhhhh: no dude seriously lets hug and let the love flow man
      Vader :*chops off chewbaccas head*
      Chewbacca: *last dealth gulp : ugrpp urpch wurf ::: dude Ha
    • Even worse are Star Wars promotions at Burger King. These include sign up CDs for AOL with Darth Vader on the front. How appropriate, considering what AOL did to the Internet.

      AOL to TW: "Don't underestimate the power of the dark side."
    • You forgot the appearance of the entire Star Wars cast in the Muppets show (actually that one was quite funny)
  • by Japong (793982) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:06PM (#12531414)

    Star Wars is the ultimate franchise because even as a film it's an amlagam of marketable genres.

    The original trilogy alone features:
    • Lightsaber duels (swordfighting and swashbuckling)
    • Interspace Battles (WWII aerial & naval movies)
    • The Force (mystical fantasy magic)
    • Ground battles and cantina gun fights (general war movies and Westerns)
    • Exotic Space Aliens (Star Trek)
    • Speeder Bikes (Car chase movies)
    • Ewoks (Kinda like Care Bears, I guess. Overly Cute Buggers)
    • And of course, hot brother-on-sister Luke and Leia action. (Incest XXX websites)

    With all of that thrown together... in space... there's a little something for every geek. And market after market after market that you can sell games, toys, lunch boxes, books, clothing, artwork, women's delicates and more to.

  • by Che Guevarra (85906) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:16PM (#12531470)
    Mad with power, that's what he is. Wrecking the greatest franchise in movie history and he still puts his kids in the movie and lets them pick the names. Gosh damnit, I can't get more mad about it. Lucas, if you can hear this, you suck.
  • by Blondie-Wan (559212) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:21PM (#12531498) Homepage
    From the first page of the slideshow sidebar linked from the last link in Slashdot's writeup:
    How many times have you seen all five films? Repeat viewings are a staple of hard core Star Wars fans, and even casual moviegoers saw the original two or three times. Lucas counted on this by releasing each of the first three Star Wars films several times. Aside from the original release in 1977, he rereleased it once in 1982 and again in 1997 as a re-edited and digitally enhanced "Special Edition." Lucas did the same for the 1980 The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi.

    Actually, there were quite a few more rereleases than that:

    1977 - Star Wars original release
    1978 - Star Wars rerelease
    1979 - Star Wars rerelease
    1980 - Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back original release
    1981 - rereleases of both Star Wars (now retitled Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope) and Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    1982 - rereleases of both Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    1983 - Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi original release
    1985 - Star Wars - Episode Vi: Return of the Jedi rerelease

    Note also that 1971's THX 1138 and 1973's American Graffiti were both rereleased in 1978 as well, More American Graffiti was released in 1979, Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981 and rereleased in 1982, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984 (the only year from 1977 to 1985 that no Star Wars film got at least a limited theatrical release).

    • From a talk I heard George Lucas give, the Special Editions were not originally meant for the theaters - they were cleaning them up for some other reason (video release? I forget that part) but then when they were done they had a test screening that went so well they thought they'd try a theatrical re-release. And that, obviously, went very well indeed.
  • Story treatment (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:48PM (#12531637) Journal
    It all started with a story treatment, handwritten in pencil on a few sheets of lined yellow legal paper.

    Which looked something like this [guerrestellari.net], for those of you who haven't seen it...

    Here's also a small discussion [lofficier.com] on how the script evolved.
  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:53PM (#12531677) Homepage
    Money destroys creativity.

    George Lucas made the first three star-wars movies basically before he was rich and famous.

    Then, years later, we get Jar-Jar Binks. Episode I sucked ass, and I never bothered to see Episode II. I probably won't see this new one either.

    George Lucas, like Bill Gates, is in "protect-the-empire" mode. He doesn't want to risk offending anyone.

    Another case in point: Metallica.

    Awesome hardcore metal band in 1986:
    They gave us Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, And Justice for All.

    Then they make "the black album" which was good, but toned down enough to be very popular.
    And they get filthy rich.

    Subsequently, what have they done?
    Load, Re-Load. All complete crap.
    You can watch their pathetic "creative process" on that stupid reality show on VH1 or whatever.
    They all have families and therapists and lawsuits, and are a bunch of whiny bitches.
    Lars parties more with the RIAA than with fans.

    People make awesome things when they are young and poor and hungry. They have nothing to lose, and therefore are willing to take exciting risks.

    I don't expect much innovation from a rich old man.

    • Money destroys creativity.

      Probably. But most people do their best work early on, because they have something to prove. Okay, so there are exceptions, like the Beatles etc., but if you think of a lot of artists, once they become middle aged they're not exactly making ground-breaking work like they were when they began. I think they just lose the drive and mellow out with age. Plus I guess having bazillions of dollars helps ease the pain.

      Incidentally, Lars is a hopeless drummer.
  • Weakness (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aggrav8d (683620) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:19PM (#12531826) Homepage
    DODONNA: The Star Wars Money Machine is heavily shielded and carries a firepower greater than half the Hollywood fleet. It's defenses are designed around a direct large-scale assault on consumers everywhere. A small indie film should be able to penetrate the outer defense.

    GOLD LEADER: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are indie films going to be against that?

    DODONNA: Well, Hollywood doesn't consider a small indie film to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense. An analysis of the plans provided by Princess Leia has demonstrated a weakness in the machine....The approach will not be easy. You are required to write better film and skim by on a budget of almost nothing. The target audience is a small group of people who, if enticed, will being a word of mouth campaign that will snowball until eclipses the Star Wars Money Machine and causes it to implode on itself.

    A murmer of disbelief runs through the room.
  • by humankind (704050) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:50PM (#12532004) Journal
    I don't know what the fuss is about. It's not like Star Wars merchandising has gotten out of hand [bsalert.com].
  • Star Wars Bad Guys (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @08:37PM (#12532903) Homepage Journal
    All the problems in the Star Wars universe (at least in episodes 1-3) are being blamed on the Trade Federation and the Banking Cartel. I don't really like being lectured on the evils of capitalism by a filthy rich jerk who has made a fortune by selling franchise rights to any asshole with a checkbook.
    • Funny, I thought Star Wars was entertainment, not a political or economic commentary. I didn't know they still made you read Animal Farm in school.
      • by King_TJ (85913)
        Umm... actually, I find that quite OFTEN, major Hollywood movies pose as "simple entertainment" while trying to cram some sort of political message down my throat.

        (EG. Did you ever see a movie called "The Contender"? I actually wasted $10 or so on the DVD, never having seen it before in the theater - because it looked like it might be an entertaining political thriller. Started out with some promise, in fact, but by the end, turned into mindless stereotyping of conservatives followed by ramming home a f

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