Star Wars is one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, but is it possible that at least one of its film installments has never turned a profit?
David Prowse, the actor inside Darth Vader’s suit in the original Star Wars trilogy, told Equality Magazine (via SlashFilm) that Return of the Jedi has never made a profit, according to Lucasfilm:
“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. Now here we’re talking about one of the biggest releases of all time,” said Prowse. “I don’t want to look like I’m bitching about it,” he said, “but on the other hand, if there’s a pot of gold somewhere that I ought to be having a share of, I would like to see it.”
The idea that Return of the Jedi, which has grossed over $572 million worldwide, hasn’t yet broken a profit is pretty hard to believe. Times Online reached out to Lucasfilm for comment, but they declined to respond based on policy.
Prowse hinted that the problem may be related to a clause in his contract.
“There is a big difference between having a share of the gross profit and having a share of the net profit. It is a huge difference in just one word. Sometimes, with net profit, with all the expenses and so on, it seems like you end up paying them.”
You tend to have be a pretty big deal to earn a percentage of gross profits. Net profits are only calculated after expenses have been factored in, and it’s pretty common for studios to rack up a lot of expenses on a film’s budget when they know they’ll just be paying out if they don’t, meaning receiving a payment on net profit is pretty rare.