Fox executives years later: "Well, we fucked up."
Lucas should have used all that money for lessons in screenwriting alas he did manage to give us a couple of great films. The franchise is now worth around $37 Billion dollars.
It all began modestly. After his success with American Graffiti in 1973, Lucas wanted to make a Western set in outer space to refresh the genre. He was turned down by several studios but found a champion in Alan Ladd Jr., then running 20th Century Fox -- even though most of the other Fox executives and the company board didn't agree. Fox let Lucas pass up an additional $500,000 directing fee in return for keeping licensing and merchandising rights for himself -- a decision that would cost the studio billions.
Full THR article HERE