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George Lucas explains why movie studios are what is wrong with Hollywood

10.20.2014

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII represents the first film in George Lucas' iconic saga to be financed and created by a major studio. Prior to this film, the six preceding movies were basically the world's biggest independent films with Lucas funding their creation and 20th Century Fox handling distribution. Now that Lucas is out of the movie-making business, he has no problem sharing some harsh words regarding how he sees the current state of the industry.

Sitting down with Charlie Rose during an interview for Chicago Ideas Week, Lucas explained the problem with Hollywood studios.

“You're selling creativity. Raw creativity from talented people. Now, the problem has always been the studios. Although the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn't know anything about the movie business.”

“The studios went back to saying, Well we don't trust you people and we think we know how to make movies,'” Lucas said. “The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don't have any imagination and they don't have any talent.”

Lucas goes on to explain the only reason he was able to get STAR WARS made was because the head of 20th Century Fox really liked AMERICAN GRAFFITI and trusted Lucas' vision. Unfortunately today, we often see studios at odds with visionary directors like David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky because they want more control than the studio is willing to give up. But, we do often get places like Marvel where there is a creative vision that lends itself to some unique movies like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY which share the same spirit as George Lucas and STAR WARS.

Some may say that studio oversight may have helped save the prequels when George Lucas had no one to tell him to hold back, but it will remain to be seen if Disney, Kathleen Kennedy, and J.J. Abrams can bring that independent spirit back for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. I guess we will find out when it opens on December 18, 2015.

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Source: The Wrap

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12:29PM on 10/22/2014
Lucas messed himself up, let's not go too deep with his Studio Bashing, considering he was working in a Rupert Murdoch owned, Tim Rothman run 20th Century Fox.
Lucas messed himself up, let's not go too deep with his Studio Bashing, considering he was working in a Rupert Murdoch owned, Tim Rothman run 20th Century Fox.
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10:39AM on 10/21/2014
Wether the prequels or Indiana Jones 4 were bad or not has nothing to do with what he's saying. They were all his movies and he made them the way he wanted and intended to without any big studio watching over his shoulder. The man practically invented the modern concept of a franchise and no industry would be the same today without his legacy. Just think of how ILM changed the world of special FX, how Skywalker Sound and THX changed the world of sound editing and mixing, how LucasArts changed
Wether the prequels or Indiana Jones 4 were bad or not has nothing to do with what he's saying. They were all his movies and he made them the way he wanted and intended to without any big studio watching over his shoulder. The man practically invented the modern concept of a franchise and no industry would be the same today without his legacy. Just think of how ILM changed the world of special FX, how Skywalker Sound and THX changed the world of sound editing and mixing, how LucasArts changed the world of videogames and so on... I would trust him to know a thing or two about the business regardless of what I think of his last movies. Truth is, I hate the prequels but I still love Lucas. He's one of the greatest business men of our time and he's extremely generous to the world, just think of the $4 billion he got from Disney and gave to education.
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5:22PM on 10/21/2014
I couldn't have said it better !
I couldn't have said it better !
+0
7:07AM on 10/21/2014

Lucas : in charge of making me trust him

Yeah, nah.
Yeah, nah.
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4:44AM on 10/21/2014

Yepper

That's why I love when real storytellers strike it big in Hollywood and gain the power to largely dictate to the studios, or at least the studios give them the budget/freedom to do and make the stories they like. And sorry, but wtf is with the random GOTG reference? The formula by which that film was made was as predictable as it gets.
That's why I love when real storytellers strike it big in Hollywood and gain the power to largely dictate to the studios, or at least the studios give them the budget/freedom to do and make the stories they like. And sorry, but wtf is with the random GOTG reference? The formula by which that film was made was as predictable as it gets.
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11:03PM on 10/20/2014

Yes and no

A producer is like an editor. In fact, the analogy is producer : director :: editor : writer. In both cases the creative side of the equation gets to see his work altered by his higher-up, Chris Claremont, the X-Men writer who gave us Rogue and Mystique and who wrote the original stories that X-Men United, The Wolverine and Days of Future Past were based on, once said "I don't trust myself to edit my own work. I need feedback." I think this quote is relevant here because unless you know
A producer is like an editor. In fact, the analogy is producer : director :: editor : writer. In both cases the creative side of the equation gets to see his work altered by his higher-up, Chris Claremont, the X-Men writer who gave us Rogue and Mystique and who wrote the original stories that X-Men United, The Wolverine and Days of Future Past were based on, once said "I don't trust myself to edit my own work. I need feedback." I think this quote is relevant here because unless you know for a fact that the higher ups don't know what they are doing (like the people at Fox and Sony) then you need to defer to their better judgment.

Take Kevin Fiege. He is not a creative person: he was just somebody who read the comics and says "Why don't we do this?" and then Marvel Entertainment put him in charge of Marvel Studios so "Why don't we do this?" becomes "We are doing this." Fans won't be happy with every decision he makes but the results speak for themselves as every Marvel movie that came out over the past few years has, on average, grossed a billion dollars. And he's been able to anticipate what would appeal to mass audiences based on what appealed to readers of the comics: that is Marketing 101.

That being said, Lucas does have one point in his favor: he never made a cheap live action Star Wars TV show that would have killed the franchise and would have made it impossible to build the multi-generational epic that Star Wars has become.
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+7
9:40PM on 10/20/2014

And this is coming from the man that brought us the abomination that was Kingdom of the crystal skull...

When there was originally a better script being developed.

Fuck you George! Youre so full of shit its unbelievable.
When there was originally a better script being developed.

Fuck you George! Youre so full of shit its unbelievable.
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8:28PM on 10/20/2014
It's important to contextualise this by understanding Lucas' personal history with studios and how screwed over he was making THX 1138. He and Francis Ford Coppola were two of the founding members of American Zoetrope which was intended as a European-style filmmaking collective and an alternative to the studio system. That was a dream that didn't quite last. There's a pretty fascinating documentary on the subject included in the THX 1138 DVD.
It's important to contextualise this by understanding Lucas' personal history with studios and how screwed over he was making THX 1138. He and Francis Ford Coppola were two of the founding members of American Zoetrope which was intended as a European-style filmmaking collective and an alternative to the studio system. That was a dream that didn't quite last. There's a pretty fascinating documentary on the subject included in the THX 1138 DVD.
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7:45PM on 10/20/2014
People still bitter about Lucas? It's been almost a decade since the prequel trilogy (which I still say is better than people give credit for). But he's right. Most blockbusters these days are either based on comic books, young adult novels, or reboots/sequels of older films. I'm sure fans will be just as mixed once episode 7 comes out, since you can already tell people want different things from this film (focusing on the older cast or the younger cast being the most obvious). No way JJ will
People still bitter about Lucas? It's been almost a decade since the prequel trilogy (which I still say is better than people give credit for). But he's right. Most blockbusters these days are either based on comic books, young adult novels, or reboots/sequels of older films. I'm sure fans will be just as mixed once episode 7 comes out, since you can already tell people want different things from this film (focusing on the older cast or the younger cast being the most obvious). No way JJ will please everyone, even with a good film.
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+2
6:05PM on 10/20/2014
For a guy who's directed 4 good movies (American Graffiti, Star Wars: A New Hope, Revenge of the Sith, and THX 1138) and only 2 shitty ones (Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones) this guy sure is getting a lot of hate in this comment section.
For a guy who's directed 4 good movies (American Graffiti, Star Wars: A New Hope, Revenge of the Sith, and THX 1138) and only 2 shitty ones (Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones) this guy sure is getting a lot of hate in this comment section.
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8:45PM on 10/20/2014
Revenge of the Sith was horrible, but still far better than clones. Menace was easily the best of that trilogy.
Revenge of the Sith was horrible, but still far better than clones. Menace was easily the best of that trilogy.
11:08AM on 10/21/2014
Revenge Of The Sith a good movie?! I'm gonna have to agree with ShonK, as bad as it is Episode I is by far the most watchable. Liam Neeson, puppet Yoda, Darth Maul, epic lightsaber duel, epic music, far less CGI, shot on real 35mm film, etc... yeah ok its got Jar Jar, but two movies with Hayden Christensen is far worse than a few minutes of Jar Jar slapstick.
Revenge Of The Sith a good movie?! I'm gonna have to agree with ShonK, as bad as it is Episode I is by far the most watchable. Liam Neeson, puppet Yoda, Darth Maul, epic lightsaber duel, epic music, far less CGI, shot on real 35mm film, etc... yeah ok its got Jar Jar, but two movies with Hayden Christensen is far worse than a few minutes of Jar Jar slapstick.
12:39PM on 10/21/2014
I agree with everything you said.
I agree with everything you said.
5:09PM on 10/20/2014
I really, truly wish I could read this without thinking he's being a tad hypocritical. No doubt George Lucas is a creative person, but his well ran dry twenty-five years ago, and while the prequels weren't 100% the trainwrecks that people say they are, they're still pretty bad given the promise of his inaugural films in the franchise. If anything, they are a perfect example of how TOO MUCH creative control can be a bad thing.

Basically, movie studios are creatively-bankrupt entities, and
I really, truly wish I could read this without thinking he's being a tad hypocritical. No doubt George Lucas is a creative person, but his well ran dry twenty-five years ago, and while the prequels weren't 100% the trainwrecks that people say they are, they're still pretty bad given the promise of his inaugural films in the franchise. If anything, they are a perfect example of how TOO MUCH creative control can be a bad thing.

Basically, movie studios are creatively-bankrupt entities, and George Lucas is a creatively-burnt-out has-been who spent the last good will he had left playing Doctor Frankenstein with his own legacy. George, despite everything, I still love you, but I have trouble putting stock in anything you have left to say.
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5:09PM on 10/20/2014
Bite the hand that feeds, much.
Bite the hand that feeds, much.
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5:10PM on 10/20/2014
He can afford to shit on studios. He's that rich.
He can afford to shit on studios. He's that rich.
4:02PM on 10/20/2014

He's Right

Despite the Star Wars Prequels being the exact opposite of this view I feel he's absolutely right. More often than not great material is destroyed by the the higher ups who try to make it more "marketable"
Despite the Star Wars Prequels being the exact opposite of this view I feel he's absolutely right. More often than not great material is destroyed by the the higher ups who try to make it more "marketable"
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-1
3:53PM on 10/20/2014
Not interested in anything the guy who made the PT has to say about anything involving movies.
Not interested in anything the guy who made the PT has to say about anything involving movies.
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3:40PM on 10/20/2014
Ah good old George. Just go retire into the quiet life.
Ah good old George. Just go retire into the quiet life.
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6:06PM on 10/20/2014
So
So
3:11PM on 10/20/2014
Yea, this is hard to take seriously coming from him. I was just thinking about this too. One could also say that the creatives are a detriment to the commerce of the industry. Most studios have a movie they took a chance on and have nothing to show for it. Probably more than one. It's more like a really bad marriage. They are horribly co-dependent on each other.
Yea, this is hard to take seriously coming from him. I was just thinking about this too. One could also say that the creatives are a detriment to the commerce of the industry. Most studios have a movie they took a chance on and have nothing to show for it. Probably more than one. It's more like a really bad marriage. They are horribly co-dependent on each other.
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3:07PM on 10/20/2014
This coming from the guy who threw "creativity" out the window to sell toys. Didn't have any trouble selling out when it came to lining your own pockets, huh George?
This coming from the guy who threw "creativity" out the window to sell toys. Didn't have any trouble selling out when it came to lining your own pockets, huh George?
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3:00PM on 10/20/2014
Hey, George, the millions of Star Wars fans would like to explain what is wrong with you, K? :-)
Hey, George, the millions of Star Wars fans would like to explain what is wrong with you, K? :-)
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+3
2:50PM on 10/20/2014
As much as some of his own later works are a tad cringewardy, he's not entirely wrong.
As much as some of his own later works are a tad cringewardy, he's not entirely wrong.
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2:55PM on 10/20/2014
my first thought when i read "a tad"

[link]
my first thought when i read "a tad"

[link]
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