Steven Spielberg Told George Lucas ‘Star Wars’ Would Be the ‘Biggest Movie of All Time’

It’s hard to imagine a time when Star Wars was not a worldwide sensation. When George Lucas first created the sci-fi franchise, he wasn’t sure if it would be a success. However, his friend and fellow filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, had full confidence that Star Wars would become the “biggest movie of all time.”

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have been friends for a long time

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas attend the AFI Life Achievement Tribute for Star Wars composer John Williams
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas | Barry King/ Contributor

Spielberg and Lucas have had a long relationship, both socially and professionally. According to thethings.com, the two first met at a student film festival at UCLA in 1967 where Spielberg was “blown away” by Lucas’ debut film, THX-1138. The two began to have a stronger relationship and Lucas even introduced Spielberg to composer John Williams who he would work with on films like Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park

The pinnacle of their working relationship is their collaboration on Raiders of the Lost Ark, which Spielberg directed and Lucas executive produced. The Indiana Jones movie was an instant success and the two worked together on the following sequels. The franchise has done well at the box office, but not nearly as well as Lucas’ other project.

Steven Spielberg told George Lucas that ‘Star Wars’ would be a massive success

Lucas said that he initially didn’t think Star Wars was going to be a success. Speaking at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at a panel hosted by Stephen Colbert, Lucas admitted that the studio, 20th Century Fox, didn’t “have faith in it” despite positive screenings.

“I didn’t think the film was going to be successful,” Lucas said. “The studio, the board didn’t have any faith in it. Even when we showed it at an American Graffiti screening and everybody loved it.”

The Star Wars creator also showed it to his friends who had similar reactions to the studio. However, Lucas remembered that Spielberg had full faith in it and even said it would be a massive hit. 

“I showed it to all of my friends early on, but it was mostly filled with stock footage of old war movies and all kinds of stuff,” Lucas explained. “They saw it and said, ‘Poor George. What were you thinking?’ Steven [Spielberg] had jumped up, and said, ‘This is going to be the biggest movie of all time.’ Everybody in the room looked up at Steven and said, ‘Poor Steven.’”

Spielberg can’t predict the future, but he called this prediction correctly. Star Wars to this day is a global phenomenon and is only getting bigger. According to Movieweb, it is the second highest-grossing franchise of all time with $10.31 billion following the Marvel Cinematic Universe which has grossed $25.56 billion. 

George Lucas knew ‘Star wars’ would be a hit movie after the first weekend

Fortunately, Lucas’ worries disappeared after the first weekend. He received a call from the 20th Century Fox president that Star Wars was already accumulating a lot of fans. 

“I got a call from [20th Century Fox President Alan Ladd Jr] after the first weekend. It was really like in the middle of the week,” Lucas stated. “He called and said, ‘George, turn on the news.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Turn on CBS. Turn on the news. Walter Cronkite.’ You gotta see it.’ So I said, ‘What is it now?’ I turned on the news, and they had this huge story on the sensation of Star Wars and lines around the block. Everybody was going berserk about it. That was the first time I understood that it was a big hit.” 

Star Wars is currently streaming on Disney+. 

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