Home Entertainment News George Lucas’s Pre-Star Wars Victory: The Tale of American Graffiti

George Lucas’s Pre-Star Wars Victory: The Tale of American Graffiti

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, ITALY. NOVEMBER 11, 2017. Studio portrait of stormtrooper costume replica, with blaster E-11 gun. He is a fictional character of Star Wars saga. Red background with smoke (Stefano Buttafoco / Shutterstock.com)

Key Takeaways:
– George Lucas struggled to secure a budget for his film ‘American Graffiti' before it became a success.
– ‘American Graffiti' garnered roughly 153 times its initial budget at the .
– The film's success led to Lucas's collaboration with Fox on ‘Star Wars'.
– Lucas fought to ensure ‘American Graffiti' got a theatrical release instead of being dumped on .

George Lucas, a name synonymous with the ‘Star Wars' franchise, faced several hurdles before he could command the galaxy far, far away. Interestingly, the galactic saga wasn't Lucas's debut; it was a comedy-drama film, ‘American Graffiti'.

The Road to Success: A Bumpy Ride

During the Cannes Film Festival 2024, where Lucas received an honorary Palme d'Or for his contribution to cinema, he shared the struggle he faced bringing ‘American Graffiti' to . Picturing Lucas today, it's hard to imagine him fighting to scrape together a budget of $750,000 for a film. Believe it or not, that was the reality when he first pitched ‘American Graffiti'.

Lucas initially took the idea to United Artists with ‘Star Wars'. Surprisingly, the studio wasn't interested in ‘American Graffiti'. Bear in mind, this film the then-unknown Harrison alongside Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, and Paul Le Mat.

Lucas's Fight for the Big Screen

After United Artists declined, Lucas pushed to get the film out of their grasp, finally settling it at . He faced financial constraints at the new studio but continued to pursue the film's production. In an interview with The Reporter, he compared the initial audience reaction to ‘American Graffiti' to a rock concert.

However, the journey was far from over. Universal Studios considered releasing the film on television alone, forcing Lucas to fight for a limited theatrical release.

Unexpected Box Office Domination

Once ‘American Graffiti' hit the big screens, things took a promising turn. The film started generating delicious returns, leading to a wider release. Released on 11th August 1973, it grossed approximately $115 million domestically and about $140 million worldwide. Talk about a whopping return on investment!

Lucas reflected at the Cannes Film Festival on his financial success with the film. At that time, earning profits directly from the net box office collection was a rarity. With ‘American Graffiti', Lucas experienced it firsthand.

to Star Wars

The commercial success of ‘American Graffiti' caught the attention of Allan Ladd Jr., then head of production at Fox. He contacted Lucas to collaborate on the next endeavor. This project turned out to be Star Wars – one of the most influential franchises in film history.

What can we take from George Lucas's journey? Never underestimate the value of perseverance or the potential of an untested storyline. ‘American Graffiti' is an example of one man's passion project turning into a commercial goldmine, leading to even opportunities. Sometimes, success in the most unexpected places can pave the path for triumphs beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

Watch ‘American Graffiti' now on Netflix to experience Lucas's early work before he took us to a galaxy far, far away.

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