George Lucas didn’t expect Star Wars to make him a billionaire when it appeared in 1977. He liked the project, even loved it. But like a true commercial artist he took the roughly $150,000 he made for writing and directing the first Star Wars and moved on to the next thing. Then a funny thing happened at the box office–earnings soared to a galaxy far, far away too. Star Wars made nearly $800 million and was the highest grossing film in history until ET–coming from space instead of going to it–overtook Star Wars in 1983.
It’s a good thing Lucas didn’t have the foresight of, say, Obi-Wan Kenobe. Otherwise he’d have probably attended the premiere and basked in galactic glory. But because he wasn’t sure there’d be any glory, Lucas skipped the premiere. Instead he went on vacation in Hawaii with Steven Spielberg. While they were there, they came up with the idea for Raiders of the Lost Ark.