Episode VI: Return Of The Creative Accounting Practices

Lucas has a discreet taxidermist who stuffed and mounted all of the Ewoks. Apparently their outer coat of fur is easily removed with a naturally occurring zipper, but their inner “skin-layer” is more difficult. Also midgets don’t like being stuffed.

2009-04-18-and-my-axeDavid Prowse, who portrayed Darth Vader‘s torso and limbs in the original Star Wars trilogy, says he has never been paid residuals on “Return of The Jedi because the film has never made a profit. I’m calling bantha shit. Or at least space-shenanigans. I’m sure Deathstars are quite expensive, and I know the per diem rate for an Ewok wrangler is pretty high, but to say a film that cost $32 million and has made $475 million HASN’T made a profit verges on space-madness.

Apparently this type of shaft-the-actor contract isn’t all that uncommon in Hollywood. It’s also standard practice to make sure a film stays in the red [on paper] indefinitely. Maybe Prowse should have fought for a better contract, but seeing as how neither his face nor his voice actually appear in the film, it would have been pretty easy for Lucas to replace in with another gigantically huge actor (it seems England is full of them).

I’m sure Lucas will do right by Prowse eventually. “David, your checks all came in. Their in the garbage masher on the detention level. Just slide down this shoot…”

QUESTION: What other expenses might Lucas have written off to keep “Jedi” from making any profit? Droid lube? 400 cases of malt liquor (per Dee Williams’ contract rider). Flanel polish?

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      • I saw it in the theater when it first came out. I laughed out loud when his parents blew up. I was the only person in the theater who did, and every other person in the place turned to see who was laughing at such an awful thing.

  1. Joel, I knew you are a basher at heart. One can only hope that "Star Wars" will have the J.J. Abrams treatment in the future. Hmmm. Christian Bale as Anakin Skywalker…

    • Basher? that's harsh. I dont think Episodes 4-6 should be remade (ask me again in 20 years) but I would like to see a different creative team explore the Star Wars universe.

      • Maybe I was too quick to label you a "basher"… Of course, no fan of Star Wars, casual or hardcore wants 4-6 to be remade. But 1-3… I guess what's done it's done, but since it is a big Universe and "Clone Wars" seems to be doing fine (I am surprised how this is supposed to be "for kids"), I say bring it on.

  2. You know, I get that there's a statute of limitations regarding audits, but at tax time, doesn't someone realize "Hey, that movie made a lot of money. And we only got THIS much money."

  3. "What other expenses might Lucas have written off to keep “Jedi” from making any profit?"

    I heard that the dream demon (possibly Morpheus) actually charges for the disposal of crushed/damaged nerd dreams since the whole "Han shot first debacle". Apparently, it's like taking a car to be destroyed/recycled… I guess Lucas is just charging them to his original tab, what with all the hand-wringing over Ewoks being kiddy or somesuch.

  4. David Lynch was originally slated to direct "Jedi"; maybe Lucas paid Lynch off to direct "Dune", and due to a contract error, Lynch is still getting paid.

    • I have a feeling Lynch was taken off of Jedi so that a generation of geeks didn't have an existential crisis from viewing a Star Wars film.

      • (Rumour has it that he actually turned down RotJ for Dune.

        …But I'm sure a steady paycheck from Lucas would have helped him fund even more insane projects. And cocaine.)

  5. Not defending Lucas, but… that’s *so* common in Hollywood, and it’s not Lucas’ decision anyway. That guy isn’t *that* powerful. I think.

    And the accounting… yeah, it even has a name. I know it as “Hollywood Creative Bookkeeping”. Lots of tricks. I think there are even seminars teaching the concepts and tricks (like, moving rights to “separate” componies by sublicensing, so the profits are *over there* and the production company only makes a loss). There’s ways to counter that, but it’s tricky (and of course the corps are always searching for tricks to counter the counters… reminds one of the copy-protection/circumvention merry-go-round)

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