According to the Telegraph Lucas is retiring based on reactions to his latest movie Red Tails. He tells the Telegraph,
“I figured if I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios that they would release it. I showed it to all of them and they said ‘No. We don’t know how to market a movie like this’.
“It’s because it’s an all black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all black action pictures ever made.”
The Telegraph also mentions that a studio executive wouldn’t even show up to the premiere, which Lucas’ reaction
“Isn’t this their job? Isn’t their job at least to see movies? I’m retiring. I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”
And the Telegraph finally mentions the irritation and backlash he’s had from fans since he continues to change the original Star Wars movies has also prompted Lucas to retire.
To Be fair, Star Wars is Lucas’ intellectual property, so he can do whatever the hell he wants with it. BUT, when your fans turn out in droves to tell you that all of the changes and tweaks you’ve done have ruined the films and their never purchasing another Lucas Film product, you may want to rethink your strategy. I am one of those people who long for the days of the original, unedited episodes, before they were called episodes. Needless to say, we didn’t buy the ultra Blu-Ray edition of Star Wars. To top it off, the Star Wars prequels were met with less than stellar reviews, and let’s not forget Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (as much as you would like to forget). Those alone should be a good indicator to hang up the hat, or fedora, and move on with life.
Instead Lucas’ was prompted by what sounds like studios being not only prejudiced towards the idea. I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t speak for or against its actual quality, but according to Lucas the studios “…don’t know how to market a movie like this.” It’s not hard. It was based on a true story. Hell, market it as a Historical fictional film, and see the parents in hordes drive their children to learn something about history. I’m no marketing expert but I just pooped out a quick idea. I’m sure someone paid far more to do that all day long could have come up with something to market it.
It may also be an indication that studios are nervous to touch anything more with Lucas’ hands on it. His last few failures may have made the movie studios gun-shy. But, no matter their reasons now since all is said-and-done, George Lucas is out of the blockbuster arena. The Telegraph does mention at the very bottom of their article that Lucas “…intends to return to making experimental, low budget art house films of the kind he created as a student.” Maybe he’ll make something phenomenal again.