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The Star Wars Money Machine

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-credits dept.

Star Wars Prequels 248

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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Exclusive: Who Is 'PJ' Pamela Jones of Groklaw.Net (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531177)

Exclusive: Who Is 'PJ' Pamela Jones of Groklaw.Net?

Pamela Is A 61-Year-Old Jehovah's Witness Who Lives In A Shabby Genteel Garden Apartment In Hartsdale, New York

By: Maureen O'Gara
May 7, 2005 09:15 PM

A few weeks ago I went looking for the elusive harridan who supposedly writes the Groklaw blog about the SCO v IBM suit.

The now-famous opinion-shaping open source leader Pamela Jones, aka "PJ," doesn't give conventional face-to-face interviews. Never has, near as anyone knows. All communication is virtual. Only one person in the world has ever claimed to have met her - in the pressroom at LinuxWorld in Boston complete with a Pamela Jones badge - and described her as a fortyish reddish-blonde who giggled a lot.

[Photo: May 7, 2005 12:37 PM - 304 North Central Avenue, Hartsdale, New York. The last known address of Pamela Jones, as the superintendent of the building calls it, Ms. Pam Jones.]

Oh yeah? Wonder what cold crème she uses.

Pamela Jones is a 61-year-old Jehovah's Witness who lives in a shabby genteel garden apartment in desperate need of an interior decorator on a heavily trafficked commercial road at 304 North Central Avenue in Hartsdale, New York. Hartsdale is in Westchester and Westchester is IBM territory.

See, even though Groklaw treats cell phones like they were Kleenex and changes its unpublished numbers regularly, one number it left with a journalist led to this flat and - wouldn't you know it but - some calls from there had been placed to the courts in Utah and to the Canopy Group so obviously this just isn't any Pamela Jones.

Pamela has lived in apartment 1A for 10 years at least, according to the super, who says he's watched people move in, have children, and the children marry and move away.

Now, this isn't your usual anonymous New York apartment. It's practically a self-contained village where the super goes for the old ladies' groceries when there's snow on the ground and people know each other's business.

[Photo: May 7, 2005 12:41 PM - 304 North Central Avenue, Hartsdale, New York. The last known address of Pamela Jones.]

But the super didn't know much about Pamela except that she had a computer, worked at home (maybe sometimes) for a lawyer, was "paranoid" - his word - and "sensitive to smells."

He remembered how he was cleaning paintbrushes one day and she came running down the stairs screaming "Fire."

She was also missing and had been for weeks.

Nobody there knew where she was.

She had up and disappeared one day, and the super was worried about her. He said her son had dropped by and he didn't know where she was, and that some strange man that "nobody knew," as the super described him, had tried to get into her apartment while she was gone - the Medeco lock she had had installed on her door - something nobody else in the complex seemed to feel a need for - was more expensive than the door. But, as it happened, the super said, she had just sent in her rent in an envelope postmarked Connecticut.

Like an episode out of "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego," the trail led to 10 Bittersweet Trail in Norwalk, Connecticut, 24 miles away. Sure enough, parked in the driveway was Pamela's car, just as the super had described it, a dark gray '90s Japanese number with a bunch of Jehovah Witness pamphlets tossed on the backseat.

The woman at the house, Barbara Jones Sharnik, told a disjointed story. She didn't know Pamela, Pamela hated her, Pamela wasn't there, Pamela left her car there because it got bumped, Pamela left her car there because she left town, and so on.

Afterwards Barbara called the cops, and then the cops called the number we left with her and the cops said that she was Pamela's mother and that Pamela was on the run and had shacked up with her mother because she had gotten "threatening mail" weeks before and that she had just gotten spooked again because "people were getting hurt around [my] stories" and had lighted out for Canada.

[Photo: May 7, 2005 2:24 PM - 10 Bittersweet Trail in Norwalk, Connecticut. Mom's house, where PJ's car was last seen on this driveway.]

Odd, the subject of my stories - or any stories - never came up during our brief interview. I was just looking for Pamela.

That left Pamela's son, Nicolas Richards, who, as it happens, had been in the software business in Manhattan until - why, my goodness - things seem to have come a cropper right around the time Groklaw came into existence.

Nick and his ma were apparently involved together in Medabiliti Inc, an ISV, because one Pamela Jones with a Westchester phone number (914 761-7423) and a Medabiliti e-mail (pjones@medabiliti.com) was down as the director of public affairs on a Medabiliti press release dated April 14, 2003.

Nick, as it happens, has written under his own byline on a Groklaw sister site, GrokDoc, giving advice on technical writing. Nick and his wife Andrea live in fancier digs than his ma on East 76th Street off First Avenue, a neighborhood where apartments go for a couple of million bucks.

Now, according to one of Pamela's neighbors and fellow Jehovah's Witness, being a Jehovah's Witness is pretty much a full-time job in and of itself. Witnesses also don't usually get involved in worldly affairs.

So, is this story-spooked 61-year-old Jehovah's Witness with religious tracts in her backseat also the 90-hour-a-week writer of the voluminous PJ diatribes or is she a victim of identity theft?

TO BE CONTINUED...

Hilarious (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531306)

Best troll ever!
You Lunix faggots really got pissed about this one, didn't you?

Re:Hilarious (-1, Offtopic)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531337)

Oh YEAH! O'Gara hit a home run on this one! The Zealots are all foaming at the mouth, spitting all over everything, just amazing...

Re:Hilarious (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531350)

Getting banned from LunixCon or LinsuxWorld or whatever is a badge of fucking honor. Wear it proudly, O'Gara

Re:Hilarious (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531437)

She's got her own site for those that want to continue reading her "stories". You'll have to Google for it, can't remember the URL...

The thing about this is that PJ/Groklaw walked RIGHT INTO THIS TRAP!

George Lucas (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531182)

He sat down to write Star Wars? I thought he just made it up as he went along...

Re:George Lucas (4, Interesting)

NextGaurd (844638) | more than 9 years ago | (#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 (4, Interesting)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531300)

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 (2, Insightful)

Sebadude (680162) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531397)

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 (4, Insightful)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531469)

"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."

Re:George Lucas (1)

awing0 (545366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531531)

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 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531556)

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 into thinking it was some sort of pinnicle of drama like they have with Star Wars.

Re:George Lucas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531646)

"He took something we loved, and used it against us."

Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but... grow up!

Star Wars is his child. He has the right to make whatever he wants with it. I would't blame him for trying to make money out of it.

If you liked the films, why worry about the merchandising. Nobody obligued you to buy anything.

George Lucas was one of the few "creators" in Hollywood that decided to keep the rights to merchandising. ALMOST everybody else gave their rights to the filming company. I'm quite sure that they would have done the same if they could.

How many sequels did you think you could get with the same quality or originality as the first film?

Sorry again for the critic and for posting as AC but I can't stand that attitude.

I don't have a suscription and never will!!!
Joseph Garnet

Re:George Lucas (1)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531433)

Oops. I meant the review for Empire Strikes Back. But the sentiment remains.

Re:George Lucas (2, Funny)

uberdave (526529) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531323)

... of course, it doesn't say WHERE he sat down to write it.

We can't blame that... (1)

Narcoleptic Electron (883920) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531457)

It worked for Tolkien:

I have long ceased to invent ... : I wait till I seem to know what really happened. Or till it writes itself. Thus, though I knew for years that Frodo would run into a tree-adventure somewhere far down the Great River, I have no recollection of inventing Ents. I came at last to the point, and write the 'Treebeard' chapter without any recollection of any previous thought: just as it now is. And then I saw that, of course, it had not happened to Frodo at all.

[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 231 (#180)]

(From here [cro.net] )

star wars (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531188)

Chinese hackers

peice? (0, Offtopic)

Lingur (881943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531196)

A peIce? What kind of ice is pe?

Re:peice? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531224)

I before E except after P

Re:peice? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531238)

...yellow.

That was tehn (4, Insightful)

NextGaurd (844638) | more than 9 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:That was then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531391)

I guess someone didn't have an Ewok toothbrush.

Re:That was then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531567)

Actually it all started with Boba Fett, who was marketed to kids as an action figure years before he appeared in a movie.

but not the Darth Vader one (1)

jangobongo (812593) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531353)

...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 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?

Re:but not the Darth Vader one (1)

Aeiri (713218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531501)

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.

He joined the dark side to get there... (5, Insightful)

gameboyhippo (827141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531210)

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.

Re:He joined the dark side to get there... (5, Insightful)

srlunsford (697271) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:He joined the dark side to get there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531345)

I think there were two things that really seperated the movies.

1. Limitations to inspire brilliance.
2. He had to listen to very smart people, and couldn't just say, "I'm George Lucas and you're not! Fuck you."

I think now. What we're seeing is the real George Lucas, perhaps a little mellower. But the soft lump of a man who's unafraid, this is the talent he has at rest. Jar Jar Binks, and really long fart jokes. Which aren't funny.

Jar-Jar (4, Funny)

zaguar (881743) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531222)

The Star Wars franchise has made George Lucas plenty rich

Is that a direct quote from Jar-Jar?

Re:Jar-Jar (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531669)

He's not really rich, but he waved his hand and said these plastic tokens would be fine.

lucasarts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531239)

The article says lucasarts has a plethora of new star wars releases. They only have 1 Revenge of the Sith game for PS2 & Xbox.

Re:lucasarts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531412)

Republic Commando?

ads.slashdot.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531245)

Slashdot needs to make an Ads category and stuff all of these stupid trailer/movie promos there so they are easier to ignore. Slashvertizement 23354356 for Star Wars has gotten stale. Only 34245234 more such stories to go until the mediocre movie with neat visuals actually comes out in theaters...

ROTS Movie Info ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531248)

Anakin becomes Darth Vader ... haha ... I just ruined the movie for a billion people!

Feel good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531257)

City's breaking down on a camel's back.
They just have to go 'cos they dont hold back
So all you fill the streets it's appealing to see
You wont get out the county, 'cos you're bad and free
You've got a new horizon It's ephermal style.
A melancholy town where we never smile.
And all I wanna hear is the message beep.
My dreams, they've got to kiss, because I dont get sleep, no..

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Learn forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let's turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Lining them up-a like ass cracks,
Ladies, homies, at the track
its my chocolate attack.
Shit, I'm stepping in the heart of this here
Care bear bumping in the heart of this here
watch me as I gravitate
hahahahahahaa.
Yo, we gonna go ghost town,
this motown,
with yo sound
you're in the place
you gonna bite the dust
Cant fight with us
With yo sound
you kill the INC.
so dont stop, get it, get it
until you're cheddar header.
Yo, watch the way I navigate

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Learn forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let's turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Dont stop, get it, get it
we are your captains in it
steady,
watch me navigate,
ahahahahahhaa.
Dont stop, get it, get it
we are your captains in it
steady, watch me navigate

(obligatory) Later this fall... (4, Funny)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531259)

Star Wars Episode 0, the Quest for More Money.

Re:(obligatory) Later this fall... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531399)

Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money

Re:(obligatory) Later this fall... (2, Funny)

VikingDBA (446387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531672)

At least we know he won't stoop as low as to make 'The Sith Lords' Christmas Special'... or we hope anyway... run Lucas run.

Phooey (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531261)

So he's rich. I'm not. Nothing's changed.

One thing has changed (4, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531616)

With the republicans in control, it now legal for George Lucas, or anyone else who is super-rich, to actually kick you. It was necessary as part of the war on human rights^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h terrorism.

Re:One thing has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531635)

As it should be. Poor people should be kicked. Maybe then they'd work a little harder on getting rich.

From TFA... (4, Funny)

shadowmatter (734276) | more than 9 years ago | (#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

Re:From TFA... (1)

Lingur (881943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531308)

Who?

Re:From TFA... (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531478)

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

Map [nasa.gov]

Re:From TFA... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531570)

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.

George Lucas's wealth (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531296)

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.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531355)

He has failed a lot. He sold Pixar to Steve Jobs for $10 million dollars.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531595)

Pixar wasn't really viable until 10 years later, so that could hardly be counted as a huge failure.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (4, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531375)

"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

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

cookiepus (154655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531377)

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 that is not well recieved w/o it ending his career. If some unknown director is given a shot and he fails, he may never have a chance to try again. Lucas is comfortable knowing that he can make something which does not have popular appeal and still be able to come back and try again.

Maybe that's not what he means, but hey I prefer my simple interpretation to your lovely "Lucas is just sort of a sad, isolated, lonely, messed-up old fucker" conclusion.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531528)

Lucas was one the hottest directors/scriptwriters even before Star Wars -- he would have had a long successful career even if the first movie bombed. Since ROTJ, he's had total and complete freedom, and the only thing he came up with was "Radioland Murders". Fear of failure, or spending too much time smoking dope and swimming around in a giant pool of money?

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531582)

Lucas was one the hottest directors/scriptwriters even before Star Wars -- he would have had a long successful career even if the first movie bombed. Since ROTJ, he's had total and complete freedom, and the only thing he came up with was "Radioland Murders". Fear of failure, or spending too much time smoking dope and swimming around in a giant pool of money?

Lucas had one hit before Star Wars, and while American Graffiti was big, it wouldn't have singlehandedly saved his career from feeling any effects if Star Wars had flopped.

He did a lot more than just Radioland Murders after originally finishing the original trilogy. He did most of the Indiana Jones adventures (two movies and a TV series, or everything except Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Willow, in addition to serving as executive producer on several other films by other filmmakers, for starters.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

Schwarzchild (225794) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531597)

"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.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

Arthur Dent 75 (221061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531633)

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

I assume this will mean we will have to deal with another Postman disaster?

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531384)

Lucas comes across to me as an incompetent narcissist who happened to stumble across success by almost accidentally putting together "just the right combination" of film elements at the right time.

As directors go, he's really inept (that's not to say anything about his special effects talents, which are arguably more impressive).

I suspect that the reason why Lucas keeps saying things like "I've earned the right to fail" is that he is either justifying the fact that (1) he doesn't care about what he produces anymore, and just wants to make money with as little effort as possible, (2) he is sensitive to the fact that he has been producing nothing but crap since the original trilogy, and is trying to justify it as some sort of crazed genius vision, or (3) both.

The man has narcissism written all over him. It's not so much that he doesn't seem himself as being "allowed to fail" before, it's that he sees himself as not failing before. Narcissists reflexively manage to recharacterize all of their failings as positive attributes. Thus, it's not that he's failing recently, or in the future, it's that he is making "really great movies" that it just happens that "no one wants to see."

For what it's worth, I am a psychologist, but that doesn't mean anything I'm saying is worth anything because I've never met the man.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531643)

wow he must be consistantly lucky then, having been behind THX1138, american graffiti, star wars and raiders of the lost ark.
Either than or he is talented. I know hich is most likely.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531387)

> 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 line up to watch his "failures", why should he say anything else?

I've joked many times in the past that people would have lined up for days to watch Star Wars even if it had been nothing but 90 minutes of Lucas sitting naked on a stage, making lightsaber noises with his wang.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (3, Insightful)

uberdave (526529) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531396)

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".

Re:George Lucas's wealth (4, Insightful)

the pickle (261584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531417)

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

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531422)

> 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.

Different people's definition of sucess (3, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531443)

"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.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

SupaKoopa (835066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531482)

"missing your mom is wrong" just because anakin missed his mom doesn't mean lucas says its wrong. the story is supposed to show how anakin changed from an innocent little boy missing his mom into Darth Vader--missing his mom isn't a cause "getting angry at things is bad and makes you a bad person," no, acting on anger is bad and makes you a bad person "if you want to be a hero then relationships are forbidden," you could use the same criticism for catholic priests (but lets not go there...) i found this part a bit weird, however, too.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531701)

Earned the right to fail?

He can fail without hurting himself because he's already a billionaire. A lesser known director could kill their career by making a bad movie.

Re:George Lucas's wealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531715)

Lucas is just sort of a sad, isolated, lonely, messed-up old fucker.

So do you feel better now?

I'd like to see a psychological profile of people who bash rich successful people just because they're rich and successful. Do you hate them, yourself, or the system you can't succeed in?

So wait (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531309)

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!!!

Re:So wait (4, Funny)

Aeiri (713218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531557)

does this mean my choice of M&M's does NOT determine my fate?

You take the blue one, and the story ends...

Isn't it a bit excessive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531332)

...to count Reagan's Star Wars defense program as part of the "Star Wars universe"?

It startde with the New Gods comic in 1971... (4, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531340)

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

Re:It startde with the New Gods comic in 1971... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531410)

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).

Lucas wanted to remake Flash Gordon (3, Interesting)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531640)

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."

CONSUME (0)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531342)

CONSUME [contentvulture.com]

This is not... (2, Funny)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531347)

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..

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531354)

one which Forbes.com estimates at just shy of $20 billion

Well.. it seems like someone is using the force wisely

Make it stop! (2, Funny)

Che Guevarra (85906) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Make it stop! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531424)

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?

Re:Make it stop! (1)

floron (884050) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531471)

Chewbacca's on E? he's gonna have to be careful he doesn't overheat with all that hair...

Re:Make it stop! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531615)

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 Harsh man

Re:Make it stop! (1)

Exluddite (851324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531623)

"I'm hugging my tie-fighter from 1974 in the closet under a pile of socks."

Where'd you find a tie-fighter in 1974?

3 Words... (1)

KipCas (872321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531365)

Darth Vader Slurpie.

Beat you - four words (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531724)

Star Wars Lotto Tickets

Honest! Check your 7-11.

At least you have a chance of your Star Wars habit paying off for once.

The ultimate geek franchise. (4, Insightful)

Japong (793982) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:The ultimate geek franchise. (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531527)

Yeah, life has never been quite the same since I got that Chewbecca g-string...

Re:The ultimate geek franchise. (2, Interesting)

Nutria (679911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531662)

Interspace Battles (WWII aerial & naval movies)

GL is said to have used WW2 aerial footage when pitching Star Wars back in 1975.

hemispheres... (0)

Colz Grigor (126123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531430)

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. Or enough tickets for every person in the U.S. to see it three times.

The fact that this journalist doesn't realize that Poland is in the Eastern Hemisphere leads me to question the accuracy of anything they wrote.

::Colz Grigor

Re:hemispheres... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531569)

yes he does, or can you not read? i don't like you, even more so for putting :: after your name.

sincerely,
matthias

Re:hemispheres... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531600)

Every person in the western hemisphere PLUS Poland. Duh. Of course he knows Poland isn't IN the western hemispher. The numbers just worked out that way. Sheesh.....

Re:hemispheres... (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531697)

i'm more concerned about these $6.25 tickets, was this article written in 1980?

A billion dollars and the kids are still in it (2, Funny)

Che Guevarra (85906) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Spaceballs (1)

GlL (618007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531484)

Mel Brooks had it right. Star Wars started out as a cult classic, but has becoming an advertising gimmick like all of the other films out there. If you watch any Sci-Fi on TV or film you are just paying to watch a however long toy/ game commercial.

Forbes writers need to do better research (3, Interesting)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531498)

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).

Re:Forbes writers need to do better research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531579)

Calling 1978 and 1979 "re-releases" is kind of odd because it never left the theater rotation during that time. (No home video, kids). Maybe "re-print" is a better term.

Re:Forbes writers need to do better research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531625)

Re:Forbes writers need to do better research (1)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531700)

Perhaps that's where Forbes got its info. Those definitely aren't the only releases, though; it very definitely did have separate reissues in '78, '79, '81 (this was the first one for which it received the full title), '82, and '97.

Special Editions were not originally for theater (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531674)

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.

The Force or The Money (1)

ikkibr (848955) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531572)

May the force be with you Luke and May the Money be with you Lucas

Story treatment (2, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531637)

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.

Maybe I read this wrong, but... (1)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531673)

"the biggest meteor to hit Hollywood since there's been a Hollywood."

Jar Jar Binks?

MONEY BREEDS COMPLACENCY (5, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12531677)

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.

script evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12531732)

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.

It's interesting that what he wrote in 1974 was actually very different than what ended up on screen in 1977. This is mostly irrelevant, but I found this detailed exposition of the history and evolution of the Star Wars script interesting and I thought Slashdotters might like it too:
http://hem.passagen.se/wookiee/developm/ [passagen.se]

Just as a tidbit, Luke Skywalker was originally a 60+ year old general!
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