George Lucas Lost $40 Million To Steven Speilberg Thanks To A 'Star Wars' Bet

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"Star Wars" is such a big hit, you would never think there was a time when George Lucas was actually nervous about its success.

However, back in the late 1970s, before "Star Wars" hit the big screen, Lucas' good friend Steven Spielberg was considered the more established director of the two, having just come off the success of his movie "Jaws."

So, when Lucas paid a visit to the set of Spielberg's latest film at the time, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," he was blown away by how incredible the it was. In an effort to calm his nerves, Lucas make a bet with Spielberg regarding the success of the two films.

Spielberg highlights this in a recent interview with Turner Classic Movies:

“He said, ‘Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than "Star Wars"! This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time. I can’t believe this set.' "'I can’t believe what you’re getting, and oh my goodness.’ He said, ‘All right, I’ll tell you what. I’ll trade some points with you. You want to trade some points? I’ll give you 2.5 percent of Star Wars if you give me 2.5 percent of "Close Encounters."’ So I said, ‘Sure, I’ll gamble with that. Great.’”

Of course, as we all know, it was "Star Wars" that blew away the box office, raking in a staggering $775 million globally, compared to the $304 million "Close Encounters" brought in. "Star Wars" actually made 300 million look low.

Anyway, Lucas made good on his bet to Spielberg and paid up the 2.5 percent, which came out to about $40 million dollars. Either way, it's quite clear that there were no losers here.

via Time, Photo credit: WENN