From today’s vantage point, it is obvious that the original Star Wars movie ranks as one of cinema’s most monstrous success stories, what with its various spin-off franchises, ubiquitous merchandising, and endless fanaticism that hasn’t really let up since 1977. But was the film’s bright future this obvious before it hit theaters? It may have been to Stephen Colbert, who claims to be the original Star Wars fan, having seen the movie at an advance screening when he was 13 years old, “three weeks before it opened nationwide.”
However, it seems that the real original Star Wars fan is the late 20th Century Fox Vice President of Domestic Distribution Peter S. Myers. Six months before the film’s release, Myers wrote a memo about the movie that had unbridled enthusiasm and Nostradamus-levels of foresight. This document was recently uncovered by StarWars.com, and we don’t think anybody has ever been so excited by a piece of media.
Myers opens by describing the reaction of people seeing a rough cut of the movie. Towards the middle of the memo, he gets into his own feelings about Star Wars: “The best report for me is that it is so realistic and that you really do become involved with and care about all of the characters. To sum up George Lucas (American Graffiti) had a wonderful idea and Laddie [Alan Ladd, Jr.] has the foresight and the guts to back him in this very ambitious and expensive production and the gamble paid off because obviously the picture works.”
He goes on to say that it is “quite possible” that Star Wars “will emerge as the all time box office champion” and that it “should get better treatment than Godfather, King Kong, Jaws, Poseidon or Towering Inferno.” Meanwhile, we’re still blown away that there was a time American Graffiti was the movie most associated with George Lucas.
Check out the entire memo here.
Featured image courtesy of Disney/Fathead