Star Wars pretty much changed everything when it came out back in 1977. It changed how we made movies, how we marketed movies, how we watched movies, and what we expected from movies. It pushed the envelope of movie making magic and brought many new technologies that are still used today including blue screen filming techniques and the THX recording standard. Worldwide, all the Star Wars movies have generated over $4.4 billion dollars in revenue.
The movie spawned many rumors and unbelievable stories that would be hard to imagine today. For example, Kenner Toys signed on during production of the film to handle toy merchandising but thought the movie would flop so produced pretty much nothing and was unprepared for the huge demand after the success of the movie. For the Christmas rush, they sold boxes with coupons or basically toy I.O.Us and couldn’t fulfill orders until March. George Lucas was smart enough to retain 40% of the merchandising profits.
Originally Han Solo was supposed to be a green monster type creature but George Lucas changed it at the last minute to a human character. Some of the actors considered or refused the role include Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Bill Murray, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase. Wait, what !?! The lead singer of “Berlin”, Terri Nunn and Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley) was considered for the role of Princess Leia and actually read for the part.
The movie was shot with an $8 million budget. About $5 million of that was spent on special effects with some of the most expensive effects rejected by Lucas. The studio had to eventually cough up another $3 million. Considering the movie grossed $798 million worldwide, it was probably a pretty good investment.