'Star Wars' 1976 memo assures nervous studio movie will be big

star wars 1977
20th Century Fox's Peter S. Myers sent a memo speaking to the building buzz around 1977's "Star Wars," six months before it opened.

In less than three weeks, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will fly into theaters with the potential to break all types of box office records.

But a long time ago (in 1976 to be exact) at a movie studio not too far away, "Star Wars" wasn't considered to be the blockbuster sensation it is today. In fact, one executive at 20th Century Fox felt obliged to reassure skittish studio executives and board members that George Lucas' sci-fi film was going to be a hit. A big hit.

The note came amid "continuing skepticism on the part of the board of directors and some of the executive team," wrote Pete Vilmur on StarWars.com. Vilmur writes for Lucasfilm Publicity and worked previously for Lucas Digital Media.

The reassuring memo, which was resurfaced by StarWars.com, was written by Peter S. Myers about six months before "Star Wars" made its spectacular 1977 debut.

"The reports have been so gratuitous that I tended to take them with a grain of salt," wrote Myers, 20th Century Fox's VP of domestic distribution, about what he was hearing from the production of the film.

Related: Hollywood aims for record year at the box office

Myers' memo goes on to say that those who had seen rough cuts of the film claimed that it was the best picture they have ever seen.

"They claim the picture has a look never seen on the screen before," wrote Myers. "And that it is so believable you never feel it is other than the present even though the location and equipment are space in the year 2000 plus."

Myers, who died in 2006, assured his bosses that when putting together all of the reports that "it is quite possible 'Star Wars' will emerge as the all time box office champion."

"We have an obligation to our company and to ourselves to protect this very large investment with the very best theaters, terms and guarantees ever secured," Myers advises his colleagues at Fox, which distributed the original film. "The picture should get better treatment than 'Godfather,' 'King Kong,' 'Jaws,' 'Poseidon [Adventure]' or 'Towering Inferno."

Myers proved to be prophetic. "Star Wars," which opened in May 1977, went on to be become the second biggest blockbuster in history bringing in over $1.4 billion in the U.S. alone as well as spawning one of Hollywood's biggest franchises.

Disney's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the next installment in the "Star Wars" saga, premieres in theaters December 18.

Read the full memo below:

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