George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Three and a half decades after their breakout successes, they remain arguably two of the most potent brand names in American entertainment and understandably so. Probably more than any other two individuals, they have been – for good or for ill — responsible for a massive reconfiguration of media entertainment, expanding from film into TV, merchandising, and new media, constantly exploring the ability to cross-pollinate all these strains, and sparking a re-thinking of the kinds of movies Hollywood makes and the way they’re made.
Lucas and Spielberg are credited – and sometimes blamed – for launching, expanding, and perfecting the concept of the synergistic,
merchandisable blockbuster franchise. After their commercial breakouts in the late 1970s, their movies regularly dominated the all-time best box office performers list for most of the following decades, and even today, after such recent additions as Avatar(2009), Titanic (1997), The Passion of the Christ(2004), the Spider-Man,Pirates of the Caribbean,and The Lord of the Ringstrilogies, and the Harry Potter series, as directors and/or producers Lucas’ and Spielberg’s names are still attached to almost one-quarter of the all-time top 100 box office hits (even after adjusting for inflation, Lucas/Spielberg still account for 20 of the top 100 earners).
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