The creator of “Star Wars” reached into his own deep pockets to bankroll the new action movie about African-American pilots in World War II, spending $58 million to make it and $35 million more to distribute the film. Lucas serves as executive producer of “Red Tails.”
Will the force be with “Red Tails”? Even for someone as rich as Lucas, $93 million is a huge wager to place on a single film. “Red Tails” is set for release on Jan. 20, and so unless it schedules some advance official screenings, it will miss much of the lucrative holiday filmgoing season, and it also won’t be eligible for Oscar consideration.
Lucas has a long track record of blockbuster success that includes the “Star Wars” franchise, the Indiana Jones movies, and “American Graffiti.” People who worked on “Red Tails” say the action sequences evoke “Star Wars”–an association that can only help the movie’s box office prospects.
Through a spokesperson, Lucas said he was drawn to the subject because he wanted to make an action film about young men who were thrust into an incredible situation and, against the odds, proved to be great pilots as well as heroes.
Anthony Hemingway, Lucas’s handpicked director for “Red Tails,” says the film’s Jan. 20 release date could help bring in viewers looking to do something cultural around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
Hemingway also says that the film’s development went around the typical way movies are produced. “This isn’t about Hollywood,” Hemingway says. ‘This is an independent film.” [source]