Nugget of Knowledge: George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s bet

The legendary directors bet on which movie would be a bigger success

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – “Star Wars” has made creator George Lucas a lot of money over the years, but as he was filming it in 1977, he wasn’t so sure it would be a hit.

His friend and fellow director Steven Spielberg was making his movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” at the same time.

One day that year, Lucas stopped by the set of “Close Encounters” and told Spielberg, “I think your movie is going to be a bigger hit than my ‘Star Wars.'”

Spielberg said, “Are you kidding? ‘Stars Wars’ will be a bigger smash than my ‘Close Encounters.'”

They made a bet, arguing for each other’s movies. Whichever made more money, the other director would claim two and a half percent of the profits.

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” pulled in $303 million.

Not bad. Did Lucas win?

No, his “Star Wars” took in $775 million, so Spielberg won, and won, and won, and won because “Star Wars: A New Hope” is still making money.

When this news came out in 2014, Steven Spielberg had collected $40 million in the bet.

Don’t feel too bad for George Lucas, though. He’s a multi-billionaire, having sold the rights to “Star Wars” to Disney for $4 billion.

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