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Steven Spielberg Won a $40 Million Bet with George Lucas

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George Lucas Lost A $40 Million Bet With

Back in 1977, when George Lucas was making Steven Spielberg was making Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Lucas made a bet with Steven Spielberg, which turned out to be a $40 million dollar loss for Star Wars .

They made the bet on the set of “Close Encounters,” which Lucas visited as a retreat from the stressful “Star Wars” set, where was not unfolding as the director imagined. Spielberg, on the other hand, banked on “Star Wars” being more lucrative. Of course he was right: “Star Wars” was the highest-grossing of 1977, while “Close Encounters” was No. 3. (“Smokey and the Bandit” was No. 2.)

“George came back from ‘Star Wars' a nervous wreck,” Spielberg said. “He didn't feel ‘Star Wars' came up to the vision he initially had. He he had just made this little kids' movie.”

After a few days, Lucas realized something else: Spielberg's “Close Encounters” was going to be so much more successful than “Star Wars.” So much more that he felt like making a bet with Spielberg.

So, George Lucas thought his Star Wars movie was going to be a failure and was envious of Steven Spielberg's set.

Spielberg would later say:

“He said, ‘Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than ‘Star Wars'! This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time. I can't this set. I can't believe what you're getting, and oh my goodness.' He said, ‘All right, I'll tell you what. I'll trade some points with you. You want to trade some points? I'll give you 2.5% of ‘Star Wars' if you give me 2.5% of ‘Close Encounters.' So I said, ‘Sure, I'll gamble with that. Great.'” [BusinessInsider]

calculates that Spielberg's 2.5% of the eventual 1.5 billion dollar feature film earned Spielberg $40 million dollars and George Lucas actually to his friend and bookie.

“‘Close Encounters' was just a meager success story. ‘Star Wars' was a phenomenon,” Spielberg said a few years ago. “Of course I was the happy beneficiary of a couple of net points from that movie, which I am still seeing money on .” [Yahoo]

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