Did you know that the movie Star Wars had its first theatrical release today in 1977? George Lucas started writing the script for Star Wars in 1973. After editing and rewriting 4 drafts, the final script was finished in 1976. Star Wars was not anticipated to be a very popular or successful movie, so on the first day it was shown in less than 40 theaters in the entire United States. Star Wars’ popularity unexpectedly rocketed, and it became the first blockbuster movie. By August, 1,096 theaters were showing the movie; at least 60 theaters played Star Wars for a whole year!
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Even George Lucas was surprised by the popularity of the movie. He was working on the day of release and had planned to be in Hawaii. He did not realize how popular his movie was until he watched a news report on the enormous crowds waiting at Mann’s Chinese Theater for a chance to watch the movie.
Steven Spielberg was directing Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when Star Wars was released. George Lucas felt that Spielberg’s movie would perform much better in theaters. Spielberg disagreed. Lucas suggested that they trade 2.5% of the profits from their respective movies. Spielberg, supposedly still receives 2.5% of the profits from the Star Wars movie.
Initially, Tatooine was supposed to be a ‘jungle’ planet, but George Lucas did not like the idea of spending months filming in the Philippine jungle, so the planet was revised and changed into a desert world.
Star Wars has been nominated, and won many awards for the sound and soundtrack, technological advances, acting, and more. Star Wars is often included on ‘most popular’ or ‘greatest film’ lists.
Star Wars was one of the first films to be included in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The soundtrack for Star Wars has also been added to the National Recording Registry.
Star Wars changed the movie industry. It showcased new technologies and special effects. Star Wars also changed how and what kind of films film studios were interested in producing.