Little-known sci-fi fact: The incredibly small fee Lucas got paid for his first sci-fi movie

Contributed by
Oct 21, 2013, 2:17 PM EDT (Updated)

Sure, in many ways he's the father of modern sci-fi cinema, but before that, George Lucas wasn't exactly what you'd call a top-tier earner.

Before Star Wars, there was THX 1138, a Lucas-written/directed dystopian sci-fi flick that starred Robert Duvall. And while Lucas's 1984-esque take on the future has been lauded as a sci-fi masterpiece (even now it sports 90% on Rotten Tomatoes), it didn't exactly make George a millionaire overnight.

Want proof? Warner Bros.' corporate archive was opened recently, and in it there was quite an unexpected find -- a payroll memo showing exactly how much Lucas was paid for the 1971 classic and in what installments. Let's see how he made out, shall we?


$2,500! Now, that may not sound like much, and in George Lucas terms it sure isn't, but there are two things worth noting here. For one, if we take inflation into account, that $2,500 is the equivalent of more than $14,000 today. The other thing of note is the job description -- writer. Lucas did also direct this picture, so chances are he was paid for that as well.

Still, it's cool to see the humble beginnings of the man who would go on to create one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)


And check out these other little-known sci-fi facts:


Minority Report started as a Total Recall sequel

Michael Keaton was supposed to be Jack on LOST

How Whedon accidentally got Angel cancelled

How Nick Fury (all 3 of him) got that eyepatch

Spock's Vulcan nerve pinch? It started as a punch

How Star Trek was saved by ... Lucille Ball?

The REAL reason Han was frozen in carbonite

Why Stan Lee put a hyphen in Spider-Man

S.H.I.E.L.D. almost had a VERY different acronym

What Tolkien REALLY wanted to call the 3 Rings volumes

Whedon spent 7 weeks rewriting 'generic' Waterworld script

Originally, Wonder Woman was the JSA's secretary

The Thing once had a happy(ish) ending

Lucas wanted Indiana Jones 2 to be a dinosaur movie

Stan Lee thought Marvel's readers would HATE Iron Man (at first)

Know Yoda's original first name, we do

Uhura's famed Trek kiss wasn't meant to be with Kirk

Studio execs pushed for Chewbacca to wear pants

Millennium Falcon appeared in Blade Runner

Ripley was supposed to DIE at the end of Alien

Homeless James Cameron sold Terminator script for $1

Why Tron's FX got snubbed for an Oscar

Jewel Staite played Amy Pond in Supernatural

Toshiro Mifune turned down Vader role

How a mime saved the original RoboCop

Lucas originally wanted FOUR trilogies

Why Soylent Green was called Soylent Green

R2-D2 appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Gandalf wasn't going to be named Gandalf

A computer glitch almost killed Toy Story 2

The incredibly filthy joke hidden in Willy Wonka

Kirk wasn't Wrath of Khan's only father

The accident that gave us the lightsaber

Scully stood on a box to film X-Files

Kirk's Trek hot rod was Catwoman's, too

James Cameron played the Alien Queen

Why HAL 9000 sang 'Daisy' in 2001

What inspired Alien chestburster scene

3 ways George Lucas' wife saved Star Wars

The brawl that got Mel Gibson the Mad Max gig

James Doohan was shot six times on D-Day

Tolkien killed a Beatles LOTR movie

How Ghostbusters pissed off Isaac Asimov

The lyrics to Star Trek's opening theme

The famous "Wilhelm scream"