Saturday, 24 October 2015

"Oops, I've Made A Terrible Error."

Mistakes made in the spotlight...

This week saw the release of an exciting new trailer for the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and advance ticket sales for the new movie were already breaking records within a day of going on sale.  However, despite the massive success of the Star Wars movies, at one stage it looked as if the original film might not even get made.  Incredibly, some movie studios actually turned Star Wars down, but they can console themselves with the fact that they're not the first people, and they won't be the last, to make a big mistake in the spotlight.

Here's a round-up of some notable mistakes over the years...

Characters from Star Wars pictured a long time ago
at a shopping mall far, far away.

1) A long time ago...

When George Lucas first conceived the idea of a Star Wars movie, not all movie studios shared his enthusiasm for the project, and the movie was rejected by Universal and United Artists due to budgetary concerns.

Thankfully, Alan Ladd at 20th Century Fox believed in George Lucas, if not the actual movie, and Star Wars went on to become one of the biggest movie success stories of all time.

2) "I don't see a market for it."

When J.K. Rowling was originally looking for a publisher for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone she was turned down by an incredible 12 publishers before she eventually received an offer from Bloomsbury Publishing.  The Harry Potter books went on to sell 450 million copies worldwide, and the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter books generated £4.7 billion at the box office, so I think it's fair to say that those 12 publishing houses perhaps got it slightly wrong.

3) Movie mistakes

Will Smith pictured with Charles' sister, Charlotte Fudgemuffin.
If you're a top movie star then there are inevitably times where you're offered the chance to star in two movies, but due to filming scheduling clashes you can only do one or the other, and you therefore have to decide which movie is the better option.

This happened to Will Smith when he turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix, choosing instead to star in...

Wild Wild West.

Doh!  Will was pretty philosophical about his decision, however, and remarked, "I watched Keanu's performance, and very rarely do I say this, but I would have messed it up.  At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be, whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be."

4) Motor Racing: Don't count your chickens...

Back in 2003 Bjorn Wirdheim had dominated the prestigious Monaco round of the Formula 3000 series, and as the drivers started the final lap he looked set for a comfortable victory.  The last lap initially went smoothly, and as is common in motor sport, when Wirdheim arrived at the final straight he decided to follow the popular tradition of pulling over to the pitwall as he took the chequered flag, as a show of thanks and appreciation to acknowledge his pit crew's hard work.

However, unfortunately Bjorn misjudged the location of the finish line and he erroneously slowed down and pulled over a few hundred metres too early, allowing Nicolas Kiesa to accelerate past him at the very death and snatch away victory by 0.895 seconds.  Doh!

5) When reviewers get it wrong...

'Never let an opinion stop you from doing what you love.'
When Tubeway Army* released their second single 'Bombers' they received a very critical review from Robin Smith which read, "Please give up gracefully.  Look here, old chums, the market for this sort of heavyweight monotony has died.  Never mind, you can sit and tell your grandchildren how you nearly made it."

* The band of Gary Numan (my musical obsession as a child).

A few months later Tubeway Army/Gary Numan released their third single 'Are Friends Electric?'.  The song reached number one, and stayed there for four weeks.  'Are Friends Electric?' was taken from their second album 'Replicas' which also topped the album charts at number one.  Two months later Gary released his fourth single 'Cars'.  It also went to number one.  Cars was taken from Gary Numan's third album* 'The Pleasure Principle' and that also went to number one in the album charts.

The moral of the story is best summed up by Gary Numan who responded to the snidey 'Never mind, you can sit and tell your grandchildren...' comment with the following piece of wise advice:

"New bands.  Never let an opinion stop you from doing what you love.  A year after this review we were UK Number 1 and I'm now working on my 21st album.  Still don't have any grandchildren though."

* The Pleasure Principle was the first album under Gary Numan's own name, but the third album when you include the two previous Tubeway Army albums.

. . . . . . . .

Stories like Star Wars and Harry Potter are examples which went on to become worldwide phenomena, and they made George Lucas and J.K. Rowling very rich people indeed.  However, in addition to George and J.K.'s financial success was the fact that the success of their stories ensured they got to spend the rest of their lives doing what they loved and telling the stories they want to tell.  In today's modern world we seem to be conditioned into seeing 'money' and 'profit' as the barometer of success, but if you get enjoyment from what you do then that's arguably a more important measure of success.

Star Wars themed posts:
Star Wars Jokes
The Star Wars Pants Game Quiz

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.