Neither filmmaker had confidence in their own films, so they struck a deal that might be the most expensive wager of all-time. Warning: BLOCKBUSTER spoilers ahead.
George Lucas had hoped his boundary-pushing "Star Wars" film would someday match the success of his friend Steven Spielberg's movie "Jaws." But things were not looking good in July 1976.
So when George asked if he could stop by the Alabama set of "Close Encounters" for a day on his way back from London, Steven gladly agreed.
George was clearly depressed, and when the two met they exchanged photos of each others' productions ... and Steven was blown away.
The moment, thoroughly researched and recreated in vivid detail in the drama podcast series BLOCKBUSTER, shows one of the most pivotal moments in movie history.
"You're gonna have the biggest hit of all-time!" Steven says, much to George's disagreement. If either of their films would be a success, it was obvious to George it would be "Close Encounters." In fact, their respective film studios were now considering the two films as rival projects.
The two proposed a wager: They'd each give up 2.5% of their films in a trade.
While "Close Encounters" would go on to be a huge hit and make $300 million, it was "Star Wars" that would go on to revolutionize the blockbuster model of cinema, earning more than $1.6 billion.
Steven's gamble over 2.5% would amount to more than $40 million, and fund many of his future film projects, including one that would unite Lucas and Spielberg: Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The creative relationship and long-running friendship between Spielberg, Lucas and Williams is explored in detail in BLOCKBUSTER. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, as well as Spotify and all other podcast platforms.
BLOCKBUSTER has been painstakingly researched, compiled and referenced from thousands of sources, and details many of the events that led to the creation of JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and STAR WARS — and the very idea of "the blockbuster" film.
It's a story too incredible not to be told, with the richest, most immersive sound design ever created.
Put on your headphones, close your eyes, and enjoy.
This is a sonic experience that invites you into the offices, film sets and homes of the most influential dreamers, rebels and world builders in Hollywood film history. You won't just be listening; you'll feel like you're there.
It's free to listen. But please consider a donation!
We've made the decision to release Blockbuster for free and without ads interrupting the story. But this production did take about $80,000 to produce from start to finish, so if you enjoy the experience, please consider giving $10, and you'll earn some cool bonus perks in the process!