telling minor stories to avoid a major one


The Force of Star Wars by Barbecue Bros
June 25, 2007, 12:55 pm
Filed under: movies

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of A New Hope, Time.com has a feature on how Star Wars changed everything in the movie industry.

Hollywood was a robust industry, but unlike others it didn’t duplicate its most popular products. General Motors, Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola and Philip Morris established their brands and simply reproduced them; but David O. Selznick couldn’t turn a megahit like Gone With the Wind into an endless franchise of Scarlett O’Hara films. There had been plenty of movie series before: The Thin Man, Andy Hardy films and many others in Hollywood; James Bond and the Carry-On comedies in Britain; Zatoichi in Japan; and the Huang Fei-hung martial arts movies (99 of them!) in Hong Kong. But these were typically separate adventures with one or more continuing characters. Lucas thought of Star Wars as one story in a complex mythology, so vast it needed three (eventually six) two-hour episodes to tell the tale. And when the first movie was a smash, he got to pursue his vision. This opened the door for grand schemes like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and for the not-so-grand idea of making a sequel to nearly every megahit movie. Now studios swing for the fences, hoping for some gigantic action film that can win name-brand recognition and be profitably cloned for years to come.

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