We’ve told you before how the original Star Wars trilogy wasn’t exactly all that well planned out, and how a lot of Lucas’ original (insane) ideas were shelved in favor of the awesomeness you saw. Well, according to one of Lucas’ friends, Steven Spielberg, this caused him to complain to just, like, everybody about how his pet movie project wasn’t turning out like he’d envisioned. This actually led Lucas to propose a bet with Spielberg hinging on the failure of Star Wars — a bet that we’re willing to wager he now regrets.
According to an interview with Spielberg, Lucas visited the set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, due to come out around the same time as Lucas’ film, and marveled at the scope and splendor of Spielberg’s as-yet-unfinished movie. At the same time, he was whining about how Star Wars was going to take a steaming dump at the box office because it didn’t “live up to the vision that he originally had.”
Then Lucas had a flash-bulb moment: Since he was so sure that Star Wars would bomb, why not take advantage of Spielberg and make a friendly bet with him? If this half-assed Star Wars thing made more money, Spielberg would get 2.5 percent of Lucas’ movie’s profits, and vice versa, for all eternity.
Care to guess how that one turned out? No need to guess, we’ll tell you: Close Encounters of the Third Kind raked in a not-too-shabby $337 million. But that little film called Star Wars? Well, let’s just say that it spawned a franchise that made that amount of money 65 times over. And it’s still raking in obscene piles of cash today. Spielberg says he still gets begrudging checks in the mail from ol’ George.