Skip to main content

George Lucas's toy story #starwars

As we all know, Star Wars revolutionized merchandising for movies, creating a huge secondary income stream for films that no one could have predicted.

Merchandising had never been successful on that scale before, and now it's a given that whenever a big potential franchise comes together in Hollywood, well, you'd better have the movie finished on time before the toys are on the shelf.
George Lucas's toy story
As reported in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, when George Lucas was making his Star Wars deal with Fox, he asked for the sequel, merchandising and soundtrack rights, which the studio gave up no problem.
Obviously they lost out on a big bonanza, but as former head of Fox Alan Ladd Jr. told me, "When you're making that much in film rentals, you're not unhappy about George filling his coffers with a little more with the merchandising.

"After American Graffiti came out and was such a big hit, George's agent came to me and said, 'Look, instead of additional money, I'd rather have a big slice of the merchandise,'" Ladd continues. 

"We said fine because merchandising had never been anything before. You may have sold a couple of small sharks or Jaws t-shirts, but merchandising was the farthest thing from anybody's mind in terms of moneymaking for anybody."

So how did Lucas know the merchandise would be big money when no one else did? Tom Pollock, who was Lucas's lawyer, says, "This is my take on it, and it's only my take... My take is that George's concern was not with owning all of these things at the time, it wasn't that he had a giant plan to set himself up as an industry and an empire unto himself, I don't think that was all planned out. 

"His concern was, he did plan to tell nine stories, and he did not want sequel rights ending up in studio development hell where he didn't have the ability to get the movie made. And that was really the concern. It wasn't, 'Oh my God, this gonna be so huge, I'm gonna own it and I can make all the money...' I don't think he thought that at all. I think it was more out of fear and distrust of the studios."

Pollock also adds, "When we made the deal for The Empire Strikes Back, the merchandising rights went to Lucasfilm as of the day of release of Empire, and with Fox getting a royalty for having done the first one.
"So all of the original merchandising deals on the movie were actually made by Fox. If you look on the merchandise of the late 70's, you'll see: Copyright and Trademark 20th Century Fox. If you look at the stuff in the 80's, 90's and today, you'll see: Copyright Lucasfilm."


Popular posts from this blog

Did Paul Freeman Accidentally Eat A Fly In Raiders of the Lost Ark?

The Famous Indiana Jones Fly In Belloq's Mouth Scene.  Did It Really Happen? I've always wondered if Paul Freeman unintentionally consumed a fly in this scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark?  It's the scene where Indiana Jones shouts down to Bellosh...I mean Belloq and threatens to blow up the ark.  Did a fly go in his mouth?

I remember watching this scene back in the early eighties and my ten year old mind thought he definitely had a snack while filming.  I recall talking about 'flygate' in my school playground at the time and the general consensus with my friends was that Freeman definitely had a sneaky snack.

Paul Freeman talks about the famous 'fly' scene in an interview with and settled 'flygate:'

This is a bit of a dicey question so don’t get too upset. (Laughs) A movie’s always got bloopers in it, some have a lot, and some only have three or four. And the most remarkable blooper was right before the opening of the Ark scene.…

Star Wars VII Movie Poster - Every End Is A New Beginning

Just saw this Star Wars VII movie poster on Kyle Newman's Facebook feed.  The poster is by Lyndon Berresford and Paul Bateman. 
I am loving this.  Who do you think the two characters are?  Lando and Leia?  Han and Leia's children?

Have you seen other Star Wars VII movie posters?  Let me know.

Rob Wainfur

I need your Star Wars memories for a book

Pinewood Studios To Expand To The Usa

BBC News have reported that Pinewood Studios are to expand to the USA.  This is great news for the famous studio that is rich in movie history.

UK film studio Pinewood Shepperton has announced plans to build its first sound stages in the United States. The Pinewood Atlanta complex will be built on 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, as a joint venture with a US investment company. Georgia has been among the US states drawing film-making away from Hollywood with tax incentives in recent years. The deal is the latest sign of expansion at Pinewood, the home of the James Bond franchise. Earlier this month it announced a joint venture with a Chinese media group, potentially giving it access to the fast-growing Chinese market.
Read the full article here.