Happy Star Wars Release Week!
The Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens DVD, and the first trailer for the brand new Rogue One film were released this week. I don’t know about you, but the Bondurant family is in! We purchased one of the estimated 15-20 million copies of DVDs & blu-rays, and we’ve watched the new trailer.
With all the hype around Star Wars this year, it made me curious about George Lucas, the creation of Star Wars and the release of the original film in 1977. What I found is amazing. The courage and commitment George Lucas put toward his cause was truly incredible.
Concept to Cash
Lucas sold the concept of the film to Universal Pictures in 1971 as a package deal with American Graffiti. After American Graffiti released in 1973, Lucas began in earnest to create what we now know as Star Wars.
When Lucas began writing, he only had a basic concept in mind. It took him multiple drafts to land on Luke, Darth Vader, the Death Star and even the title, Star Wars. Selling the final product to a studio proved to be just as difficult.
Lucas pitched the movie to studio after studio. Beginning with Universal Pictures, who had the first right of refusal, one by one turned him down. Finally 20th Century Fox took a chance on Lucas. The key to the deal was Lucas himself. 2oth Century, didn’t believe in the film – the believed in Lucas.
(not so) Overnight Success
When Star Wars was financed and made, it wasn’t projected as a hit on its release date in 1977. The expectation of failure was so high, it only opened in only 32 theaters. Lucas himself expected low numbers, so he purposely left for Hawaii on vacation!
George Lucas went to bed on release night, May 25 expecting bad news, but he woke up a very wealthy man May 26. Oddly enough, Lucas didn’t realize it until hearing of the excitement on the CBS nightly news in Hawaii. Star Wars was an immediate hit, expanded into theaters across the country and broke box office records in only 6 months.
Success continued to roll in for Star Wars. Its first release made $220 million and $775 million over many releases and re-releases. The Star Wars series of movies has made over $4 billion, and the franchise (books, movies, toys, etc) more than $30 billion!
It all began with a simple story from a guy who didn’t know if his movie would ever make it to one theater, much less the world.
You and I are George Lucas. We have dreams, goals and prayers – a simple idea scratched on a napkin, and we can only hope for a portion of his success.
His story – our story – needs the 3 C’s of BOLD for success | Cause. Courage. Commitment.
Early on Star Wars became George Lucas’ cause. Lucas believed in his idea, but not many, if any, believed with him. What’s a space western? Who likes science fiction? Aren’t space movies cheesy?
When it’s just you and an idea against the world, it better be a worth fighting for. It better be bigger than you. It better change you in the process. And if your idea is that big, it will take courage to see it through.
George Lucas had courage. With courage he fought for his cause. With courage he brought supporters to his cause – important supporters, like Alan Ladd, Jr of 20th Century.
It can be very lonely – you and your idea. It takes courage to do another sales pitch. It takes courage to publish online. It takes courage to call yourself a photographer, writer, artist, musician, business owner, success when you don’t have much if anything to show.
You may wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
Have courage. Combine it with a cause, and people will follow.
Maybe most important, Lucas never stopped. He was committed. He found solutions to problems large and small, technical and financial. He worked when things looked good, and when things looked bad.
How committed are you to your cause? Commitment is what it takes to see the project through – whether you expect it to fail or succeed.
Keep working! Your cause is worth it.
You may not have the next Star Wars, but you have something just as important, because it’s yours. It’s a cause worth fighting for, so take courage and keep working. We need it!