Famous Failure George LucasBorn in 1944, George Lucas is an American-born filmmaker, producer and entrepreneur behind some of the most successful films made in history such as the Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark, amongst many others. Before Lucas ever got interested in filmmaking, however, he was obsessed with race car driving. But after a terrible car crash that nearly killed him, he abandoned that obsession.
After completing his graduate degree in film at the University of Southern California, Lucas set out to make movies. THX 1138, a story about a dystopian future where android police control the population, suppressing both their emotions and primal urges for things like sex, which has been outlawed, through the use of drugs, was, financially a failure for the studio, amounting to a loss of money.
Lucas was undeterred. His next project, American Graffiti, which he directed, was a huge success, giving him major clout and credibility in Hollywood. However, that wasn’t enough when he presented his next project, Star Wars, to two different studios. In fact, he was turned down for Star Wars by United Artists, and later by Universal, both rejecting the movie.
Still, that didn’t deter Lucas from continuing to pitch it. Eventually, 20th Century Fox picked up the script, later saying that “I don’t understand this, but I loved ‘American Graffiti,’ and whatever you do is okay with me.” Star Wars was the highest grossing film of all time, surpassing the then-highest-grossing film of E.T.