Obviously, the original Star Wars was an instant phenomenon once it received a wide theatrical release in 1977, but did anybody realize what they had on their hands beforehand? I’ve always gotten the impression that the success of Star Wars was a surprise to most involved. George Lucas has gone on record as saying he thought Star Wars would be a disaster leading up to, and even after, its release.
Well, not everybody was a Star Wars doubter. In 1976, Peter S. Myers, the vice president of domestic distribution for Fox, got a look at an early rough cut of Star Wars and immediately fell in love with the movie. In response, he fired off a prescient memo that very accurately predicts the Star Wars phenomenon six months before it happened. Myers aptly sums up why the Star Wars is so appealing…
“The picture has a look never seen on the screen before. It is so believable you never feel it is other than the present, even though [it’s set in] space in the year 2000 plus. It is so realistic you really do become involved with and care about the characters.”
…and he pretty much nailed how the the public was going to react to the movie.
“Exceptional entertainment usually pays off, but when it is coupled with a spectacular and innovative presentation the critics, opinion makers and the public will be electrified and it is quite possible Star Wars will emerge as the all time box office champion.”
Pretty solid prediction there, Peter. Here’s the memo in its entirety.