20 pieces of trivia you need to know about Star Wars

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HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 08: George Lucas attends Mark Hamill Star Ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 8, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

George Lucas thought the film would flop

It goes without saying that Star Wars is one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. In fact, up until very recently, it held the record for biggest opening weekend in cinema history, such was the anticipation for its return with The Force Awakens in 2015.

But the series’ success was no sure thing. In fact, before A New Hope was released, its director (and Star Wars overlord) George Lucas was convinced the film was going to be a flop. Being the well-connected sort, Lucas showed an early cut of the film to a group of his film director pals (Film Directors Unanonymous), including Carrie director Brian De Palma. They weren’t overly enthusiastic.

The one man who had faith in Lucas’ vision was his long-time friend, the completely unknown director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg (correctly) predicted that the film would make millions of dollars, and he was proven right when it became the highest grossing film of all time, stealing the title from Spielberg’s very own Jaws. Spielberg took the record back though five years later with ET: The Extra Terrestrial.

Sure that his film would fail, however, Lucas that bet Spielberg that his upcoming film Close Encounters of the Third Kind would trounce Star Wars at the box office. “He said, ‘You want to trade some points? I’ll give you two and a half per cent of Star Wars if you give me two and a half per cent of Close Encounters.‘”, Spielberg reported in an interview with Turner Classics Movies. “I said, ‘Sure, I’ll gamble with that, great.'”

Good job he did. According to Celebrity Net Worth, by the end of 1978, Star Wars had earned $500 million at the worldwide box office, with Spielberg taking home roughly $12.5 million as a result. Han Solo couldn’t have done any better, and he won the Millennium Falcon.