George Lucas

From ArticleWorld

George Walton Lucas Junior is the hugely successful writer, director and producer of films such as Star Wars. His success in the movie business and his business acumen has made Lucas one of the major powers in the Hollywood film industry.


Early Days

Born on May 14th 1944 George Lucas began the pathway to Hollywood, cutting his movie-making teeth on a number of small projects before making his first feature film, THX-1138 in 1971. Although it was not a major success this film, along with his partnership with Francis Ford Coppola paved Lucas’ way to bigger and better things in the industry. American Graffiti (1973) proved to be a far greater critical and commercial success, being nominated for 5 Oscars as well as grossing over $20 million.

Star Wars

But the achievements of his fledgling career would soon be dwarfed by his 1977 epic sci-fi fantasy Star Wars. Being the writer, producer and director of a cultural phenomenon made Lucas one of the largest and most powerful figures in Hollywood. With Star Wars grossing over $270 million at the box offices in the US alone, it quickly became an unstoppable record-breaking success. Lucas not only saw a market for the film but for the merchandise too, so for the first time mass-produced film memorabilia was produced. Perhaps Lucas’ greatest success was in prophesising this untapped market, the studio was all too happy to pass over the rights to what was essentially seen as a dead-end business. Star Wars memorabilia mirrored the success of the film and gave Lucas a hugely lucrative side business.

The Producer

After the success of Star Wars Lucas withdrew from directing, instead turning his attention to producing. With the financial gains of his lucrative Star Wars business, Lucas was able to procure his own vast piece of land and production facility, which he would name the Skywalker Ranch after the main character of the film that funded it. Creating the LucasArts company, George began to invest and create other projects for himself and friends. Lucas wrote and produced the next two instalments of the Star Wars saga, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of The Jedi (1982), which built upon the success of the first instalment. Other projects included work with long time friend Steven Spielberg on the popular Indian Jones film series.


With success inevitably comes some criticism, the most notable in recent years has come from his decision to produce a trilogy prequel to Star Wars. Fans of the original movies questioned the legitimacy of the new films and above all the quality. Some sections of the media and fan base may have shunned the project, but audiences still flocked to see The phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and The Revenge of the Sith (2005). The final chapter The Revenge of the Sith, enjoyed a colossal opening weekend in the US grossing $108 million. Importantly the 3 films marked a return of Lucas to direction, it remains to be seen whether he will direct again. Other criticism has been cast over his abandonment of the union system, dropping out of the Directors Guild after a $250,000 fine was imposed for the lack of opening credits in Star Wars. But whatever criticism people have levelled at Lucas, whether justifiably or not, his success cannot be ignored. Business acumen and movie success has made Lucas one of the most prominent movie moguls in Hollywood.