and you thought the music industry was bad!
David Prowse, the English actor who played (but didn’t voice) Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars, recently told Equity Magazine that he has yet to receive any of the residuals he’s owed for Return of the Jedi… because LucasFilm claims the film hasn’t made a profit.
“I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Return of the Jedi has never gone into profit, we’ve got nothing to send you.” [TimesOnline]
Meanwhile, Box Office Mojo puts the lifetime take at $475 million, not including the $88 million it made upon re-release in 1997. With a production budget of $32.5 million. LucasFilm is able to get away with it because Prowse’s deal, like most actors, was for net profit, rather than gross. As a /Film commenter points out…
“Unfortunately, Mr. Prowse relates what is almost universally the case with a net profit clause. Studios almost never pay on this clause, as they claim nearly any and every expense possible to keep the film from showing any actual profit. Very few films have ever shown a net profit on the books.”
So, as you might expect. Though claiming you have expenses that account for $539.5 million (not including merchandising) is still pretty ballsy. George Lucas could buy a petting zoo for his “friends” every day of the week and still have plenty left over for racecar beds and rare breeds of cats to eat, not to mention the vat of singles to get greased up and roll around in for the kids to peel off when they need candy money. Don’t tell me I don’t know how this Hollywood stuff works.