By Ryan Parsons | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Star Wars: A New Hope
When George Lucas released Star Wars: A New Hope back in 1977 he created an entire new style of creating films. Taking what we can only call the Michael Bay approach, Lucas made sure to spend enough money to give the audience a fulfilling story that included state-of-the-art special effects, explosions, action and more explosions.
With his new trilogy of Star Wars, George Lucas has become king of making ginormous returns on big-budget films. But, even with all the success, Lucas has recently stated the big-budget films are not the way of the future and that they are just not profitable anymore.
Lucas Denounces Big Budget
George Lucas recently talked to New York Daily about the recent success of big-budget tentpole films, such as Peter Jackson's King Kong, and how they are just not profitable anymore.
George Lucas's solution?
How about all film budgets only around $15 million by the next decade or two.
"The market forces that exist today make it unrealistic to spend $200 million on a movie," said Lucas, a near-billionaire from his feverishly franchised outer-space epics. "Those movies can't make their money back anymore. Look at what happened with 'King Kong.'" The portly Lucas, whose "Star Wars" sequel was nominated for the Oscar in makeup, was clearly in Yoda mode at Saturday's Weinstein Co. party — Harvey Weinstein's first Oscar bash since he abandoned Miramax to Disney last year. "I think it's great that the major Oscar nominations have gone to independent films," Lucas told me, adding that it's no accident that the "small movies" outclassed the spectaculars in this year's Academy Awards. "Is that good for the business? No — it's bad for the business. But moviemaking isn't about business. It's about art!"
Hearing Lucas claim that big-budget films are on their way out is like hearing Michael Bay say explosions in films just aren't cool anymore; it just isn't going to happen.
I guess we will have to wait and see how much Lucas is willing to spend on his upcoming projects including the animated series of Star Wars, the live-action television series of Star Wars, Indiana Jones 4 and the return of all the Star Wars films to theatres in 3D; something we are pretty excited about.
Not a single one of the projects listed above is coming along as smoothly as initially expected.
On a final note: George Lucas's example of King Kong is not entirely accurate. Studios know that the domestic box office is not the end of the world. Though the domestic box office total for King Kong barely beat the budget with $216M, the international box office was a whopping $326M. Add the fact that Universal plans to continue raking it in with the release of the DVD and it becomes impossible to claim that the film did not make grips of money.