Vecton: Once again our good friend at 20th Century Fox chimes in with some cool prequel related news:

"I've been having lunch with various individuals in the industry and some are discussing the fact that they may take the prequel head on next year. Their theory is that everyone avoided Godzilla and that turned out to be a huge mistake. I countered that Star Wars is a little different. I reminded them that the 20-year-old Star Wars (in special edition form) film made over $ 36 million in its first weekend and that was in late January 1997. A deadzone for releasing films by Hollywood standards.

The special edition made over $ 138 million while such new films as Deep Impact, Godzilla, Lethal Weapon and Armageddon will not make much more than $ 138 million even though they are brand-new films released in the peak summertime movie going season. I think that the other studios would be crazy to release one of their hugely expensive films against one of the most anticipated films of the decade: Star Wars: Episode I.

However, they think that it may be impossible for the prequel to please the fans since the expectations for a new Star Wars film will be a hundred times higher than for the special editions because with the special editions everybody knew what they were basically in for. However, with the prequel, the secrecy has been so successful that the fans don't really have any idea of what to expect. Also, Lucas is now in his fifties and may not be in tune with what the young folks enjoy watching these days. Maybe, Lucas is not 'hip' anymore. I personally doubt this theory of course.

Few studio execs are willing to open one of their $ 100 million-plus budgeted mega-films against the prequel, but they say opening a lower-budgeted comedy or romance pic that appeals to females could be an ingenious move. On date night, the men could go see the prequel while the women would opt for the comedic or romantic film. To me that seems like a plausible theory that could work. It's called a counter movie opening: open a movie that appeals to the opposite of your competitor's film. Competing against the prequel is now becoming a subtle game of chess.

Many studios are reluctant to 'surrender' the first part of the summer to the prequel. They want to resist 'fearing' this new Star Wars film. Why avoid the prequel when it is not guaranteed to be the hit of the summer? Many of my friends in the industry have noted that Lucasfilm has not produced a profitable film in over nine years. Lucasfilm hasn't had a hit film since the Steven Spielberg helmed Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). The success of which they credit more to Spielberg's genius than Lucas'. Of course, Lucas is an outsider in Hollywood so it is understandable that many don't like him much less understand his eccentric outsider ways.

They also note that Lucas himself has stated that he is going to do some 'things' in the prequels that go against conventional wisdom and that he is making the film for himself and not making it for the fans. Some in Hollywood ask how can you make a blockbuster if your not focusing on pleasing your primary fan base? You have to bend over backwards to please the fans, don't you?

Of course, what Lucas may have meant is that he is not going to stick Chewbacca and young Han Solo in the prequels just because the fans want to see them. With the best special effects and a good storyline, surely this is enough to produce a film that grosses over $ 300 million in North America. But some in Hollywood remained unconvinced. Although no one is willing to actually bet against the prequel.

However, some may be bitter that Lucasfilm did not offer the distribution rights to the prequels to the highest bidder. Lucas wouldn't even permit any other studio to bid on the prequels so there is alot of resentment towards Lucas at the moment at some of the other major Hollywood studios. Some of them would have been willing to lose a little money in order to secure the rights to a potentially mammorth blockbuster like the prequel. He who owns the prequels will probably own the summers of 1999, 2002 and 2005.

Anyway, don't be surprised if other studios open up a bunch of comedies or romance films against the prequel. This would be a low-risk strategy that could pay off huge dividends if the prequel turns out to be a turkey. But we all know and hope that Lucas still has that magic when it comes to making Star Wars films. I wouldn't bet against Lucas either, at least, not when it comes to making a new Star Wars film. Yours truly," (Source: SithFox)