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How Star Wars Changed the Film Industry: The Movie’s History

How Star Wars Changed the Film Industry: The Movie’s History

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Are you wondering why Star Wars became so popular that even the old folks would talk about it endlessly? They will keep bragging how Star Wars changed the film industry and its impact on the movies that we are watching today.

In a sense, they are telling the truth because Star Wars, particularly its director, George Lucas, set up the foundation on the spectacular movies that we are watching right now. For us to understand it better, let’s find out how Star Wars changed and revolutionized the movie industry.

How Star Wars Changed the Film Industry

Star Wars made a huge impact on the movie industry, and it is not just minor changes. They literally spearheaded most of the things that you are enjoying right now when watching a movie. We will list down some of the significant changes that Star Wars brought to the movie industry.

1. Modern Movie Merchandising

Mass-market merchandising is actually one of the biggest changes that this movie contributed to the industry. Back in 1977 before Star Wars was released, modern movie merchandising is not much of a big deal compared to now. Actually, Lucas managed to get a lot of money from merchandise sales alone.

Now, you can see a lot of people buying different merchandise like clothes, toys, food, and other things if a movie is coming up. Popular films right now are not only relying on movie sales because most of their income would also come from movie-related items. Everything started from Star Wars and all the movies in Hollywood, from then on, started mass-market merchandising.

2. The Opening Crawl

Do you remember the opening credits “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”? Yes, all the Star Wars movies started with this iconic opening credits, and that is one of the reasons it became famous worldwide.

With this opening crawl, a lot of movies made the same thing, though they made some minute changes. It has also been parodied more than a thousand times, gaining more popularity.

3. Changes in Special Effects

When you look back in the year 1977, do you have any idea what special effects mean back then? If you are going to watch movies right now from 1977 or earlier, you would easily say that the special effects are not even close to one percent of what we have today.

Everything started with the final Death Star battle sequence. George Lucas said that they have to figure it out because the moves are going to be very vast and there is also a giant space battle at the end.

Back then, it was tough to do that, but they managed to do it by setting up their own Special FX Company known as Industrial Light and Magic. If you’ve watched the movie, then there is no explanation needed. Back then, the audience was awed of what they saw and ILM was able to accomplish it.

By the time they released “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”, the company that Lucas founded cemented itself as one of the best in the industry. ILM was then hired for various films aside from the Star Wars Trilogy, and they were responsible for the visual effects of the movies. One of the films that benefited from ILM is the friendly ghost “Casper” in 1995.

Do you want to know how ILM made an impact on the current visual effects industry? They created an animation studio called “Pixar”. Sounds familiar, right? It is credited for the most amazing movies catered for children like Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Cars, and The Incredibles.

How Star Wars Changed the Film Industry The Movie’s History

4. The Popularity of Science Fiction Movies

Back then, science fiction movies are not too popular simply because they don’t have the technology and the capability to create amazing effects for the movies. With ILM, everything became possible, and it has significantly improved special effects.

All the science fiction films that you are watching right now can give credits to the Star Wars Trilogy. It is true that even without Star Wars, special effects, as we know it, would still move forward. However, everything started from there, and it is all because of George Lucas.

5. A Movie for 12-Year Old Kids

George Lucas said when he appeared at Star Wars Celebration that the movie is supposed to cater to 12-year-old kids. He concentrated on the basic “What’s good and what’s bad” where kids can easily relate. It is as simple as living on the light side and avoiding the dark side.

The simple story that is supposed to be a movie for 12-year-olds became a big hit even for the adults. This is definitely more than what they anticipated, and following the success of the movie, they decided to make more sequels.

6. The Film Redefined Blockbuster

Star Wars defined what it means to have a blockbuster film after the movie “Star Wars: A New Hope” became the second-highest-grossing film (after inflation) after Gone with the Wind.

It happened even before digital downloads became popular as well as DVDs and VCRs. It means that the people who watched the movie and liked it would watch it multiple times in the theater.

Back then, these films will stay in the theaters for several months so the fans can re-watch them. Just imagine the movie earned $461 million or about $1.5 billion when adjusted for inflation.


Now that you know how Star Wars changed the film industry, you would agree that Star Wars is more than just a movie series. For many people, it is the movie that spearheaded most of the changes in the film industry. It has also become one of the inspirations of the science fiction movies that you are watching right now.

Many people thought the film would be a failure before it was released in theaters, but they all made a mistake. The unique storyline and the fantastic effects back then made it one of the most popular movies of all time. If you haven’t watched Star Wars, you are losing out on many things.

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