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When “Star Wars” Was a Bust

“Star Wars: Episode VII,” The latest chapter of one of the most successful movie series ever produced will open in movie theatres on December 18, 2015. But few know that the original “Star Wars” almost didn’t make it to the theatres at all.

In February of 1977, a screening of the “rough cut” for FOX executives and friends was held. Reaction was mixed. Executives applauded, but began sniping behind the scenes, and even Lucas’ friends mocked Lucas’s high tech salute to 1930’s sci-fi movie serials. Only Steven Spielberg was impressed. Granted, what they saw was not the finished product. Special effects were not finished and the movie’s iconic “opening crawl” looked awful.

This was a time when “blockbuster movies” did not exist, all they saw was a weird, unfinished sci-fi flick that didn’t fit the “mold”. Fortunately, another final screening, one that included off- the-street audience members, was held in San Francisco, viewed by FOX executives and off–the-street sci-fi fans who had no idea what hit them.

The response was enthusiastic with sustained applause at the end. FOX president Alan Ladd reportedly cried with happiness. But it was the people off the street, who made  it a hit. A movie legend was born.