Magazine article American Cinematographer

From the Editor

Magazine article American Cinematographer

From the Editor

Article excerpt

It is no secret that Lucasfilm Ltd. is very concerned with "security." Howard Kazanjian, the producer of RETURN OF THE JEDI, even went so far as to say that greater security was one of the reasons for shooting the film in England rather than the U.S. He also speculates that all of the fans clamoring to know whether Darth Vader is Luke's father or what happens to Han Solo don't really want to know before they see the movie. In this regard the secrecy is part of the showmanship, a way of generating excitement in the audience which will be satisfied by the experience of seeing the movie. It is part of the fanfare and as such probably has a justification that goes beyond a marketing strategy designed to maximize a return on an investment.

There is another dimension to the secrecy at Lucasfilm, however, which has nothing to do with the audience and which is a comment on the relationship between Lucas and the rest of the film industry. Aside from the fact that the security procedures often reach ludicrous extremessuch as informing a writer that snapshots are not permitted of the exterior of the buildings in San Rafael housing the Lucasfilm offices and the ILM facility-there is a preoccupation with the potential for proprietary rights in any and every technique used in producing a film. It is one thing to refrain from divulging detailed plans for a digital film printer until a workable prototype has been constructed (and patented); it is quite another to veto publication of a producer's production calendar or to require everyone on the crew to sign a contract specifying that any technique developed for shooting the movie will belong to Lucasfilm.

Perhaps the discovery that the marketing rights for the characters and vehicles in STAR WARS were worth even more than the exhibition of the film itself has created an attitudewhich spills over into the production end. …

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