Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope became the hottest ticket in town when it hit cinemas in 1977. People were in love with the dynamic chemistry between the different characters. Everyone wanted a piece of the action. So much so that many movies jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope broke records on the box office, and paved the foundation for a new era of science fiction movies. Sci-fi movies were considered ‘risky business’ back in the mid-’70s. But, Star Wars shattered through those perceptions and showed a revamped form of cinema to the audience.
From Han Solo to Chewie, from Luke to Leia, every character was loved by the audience, and they wanted more. This is why there was a rush to create a series of movies that tried to capitalise on the success of George Lucas and Star Wars, to jump on the bandwagon. They tried to step into the arena to claim some of the ongoing buzz for sci-fi movies.
Yet, there were those who tried to get on the bandwagon and claim some of the fame to their names as well. Here are our top 9 movies that jumped on the success of Star Wars in the hopes of gathering the same response as Star Wars did. There will probably be some you’ve NEVER heard of.
1. Starcrash (1978)
This movie wasn’t just inspired by Star Wars. It was Star Wars. Well, Starcrash was a cheap rip-off of Star Wars. The director, Luigi Cozzi, claimed that he actually dreamt the idea of this movie long before Star Wars even began production.
The plot was about a dynamic duo of an outlaw smuggler and her alien companion who are recruited by the Emperor of the Galaxy to rescue his son. Well, upon a cursory glance, everything gave a Star Wars vibe. From costume design to spaceship models, from dialogue delivery to the climax, it was a watered-down version of Star Wars.
Marjoe Gortner played the main role, and Caroline Munro was his alien companion, dressed in somewhat Leia-like costumes. Christopher Plummer played the Emperor, and David Hasselhoff played his son. The Starcrash end title was written and directed by John Barry at the time.
Caroline Munro later appeared on the cover of the science fiction fantasy magazine Starburst. In the same issue as Mark Hamill and Kirk Douglas.So, we can say ‘mission accomplished’. But, the audience didn’t like the movie, and it was taken off the cinemas just one week after its release.
2. Message from Space (1978)
Director Kinji Fukasaku jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon with one of his movies as he offered up ‘Message from Space’. It tanked immediately and received rather negative feedback from the audience.
The original plot of the movie was based on Japanese mythology. But, when Star Wars raced to the top of the box office, the Director ordered a re-write of the screenplay. It then incorporated elements from Star Wars to jazz up the mythology aspect.
The plot begins with the peaceful planet of Jillucia being terrorized by Ganvas, a terrible emperor. The king of this planet then chooses eight defenders to fight against the terror of Gnavas. The rest of the movie is basically a cheap CGI reiteration of sci-fi action scenes from Star Wars.
Viv Morrow played General Garuda in this movie, and the role of Prince Hans was played by Shin’ichi Chiba. The audience didn’t appreciate this movie at all. As the director tried to mix some of his style into the action scenes with flying monkeys and magical costumes.
3. The Humanoid (1979)
The Humanoid was yet another movie that tried to capitalise on this situation in 1978.
Moreover, the director, Aldo Lado, also directed this movie with a new moniker, George B. Lweis. This was to trick people into believing that this was a sequel of the original Star Wars trilogy. Well, people did fall for it, but immediately realized their mistake, and the movie was taken off cinemas within weeks of the first premiere.
The movie began with a similar style as Star Wars with a distant shot of our galaxy. In the movie, an evil alien Graal befriends an insane Dr Kraspin in hopes of taking over his brother as the ruler of the planet Metropolis.
Ivan Rassimov played the role of Graal, whereas the role of Golob was played by Richard Kiel. The estimated budget was around $7,000,000, and the movie did not even get a rating of 5 stars. It received mainly negative feedback from the audience and was shut down pretty quickly.
4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture 1979
Did you know that the release of the Star Trek movie journey was inspired by the success of George Lucas and Star Wars? The first picture in a long line of successful science fiction movies was released two years after the first Star Wars instalment, they jumped on the bandwagon.
Director Robert Wise was inspired by Star Wars and wanted to take a brand-new approach towards the Enterprise tale. So, he introduced a unique element of a futuristic world USS Enterprise and our beloved James T. Kirk.
William Shatner returned to the role and was accompanied by Leonard Nimoy playing Spock, and Sulu was played by George Takei.
The movie became an instant hit with the audiences, and thus began a life-long battle between the two fandoms. The estimated budget was $35,000,000, and the movie claimed $82,604,699 in the USA alone.
5. Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Battlestar Galactica is yet another big name that surfaced after the success of Star Wars. The movie was split into three parts forming the first three episodes of the TV series.
The movies focus on the destruction of the last twelve colonies of mankind. The movie shows the epic journey of how the last major fighter carrier helped humans find a new home, Earth. Richard Hatch played Captain Apollo, and Dirk Benedict was seen as Lieutenant Starbuck.
If you didn’t know, Universal Studios was sued by 20th Century Fox for this movie. 20th Century fox claimed that this movie had precisely 34 ideas from Star Wars. They claimed that the movie had shot-by-shot remakes of Star Wars, and the story was re-proposed with minor adjustments.
The estimated budget for the movie was $3,000,000, and it immediately gained a fan following among the audience. Moreover, it gained a somewhat cult-like following. People still talk about the original Battlestar Galactica being better than the sequels.
6. Space Raiders (1983)
Another one to jump onto the bandwagon was Director Howard R. Cohen who offered up Space Raiders. While the movie played poorly at the box office, the role of Hawk played by Vince Edwards was praised. The movie went on to gain a strong following in the coming decades.
In the movie, a 10-year-old boy is accidentally kidnapped by a spaceship filled with space pirates.
This movie was a rather sensitive approach to sci-fi and didn’t offer as many action scenes as other movies of the time. It was a rather sentimental tale between a young boy and a band of space pirates.
7. Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Battle Beyond the Stars would have been a good movie if it wasn’t just another rip-off.
In this movie, a young farmer enlists the help of mercenaries to help his peaceful planet against an evil tyrant, Sador, and his armada of aggressors.
Roger Corman, the director, did not have any success until then, and this is why he tried to hitch on the bandwagon of Star Wars. This movie was a weird mix of three different movies: Star Wars, The Magnificent Seven, and Seven Samurai. Well, too many cooks spoil the broth. This movie managed to gain only an average response from the audience, which later turned to other sci-fi movies and left it behind in the dust.
Moreover, the plot and cast for this movie were close to Star Wars. The plot followed the same story, and the allies of the main protagonist were also quite like Chewie, Leia, and Luke. Star Wars had Han, Yoda, Leia, C3PO, and this movie had a space cowboy, an elderly ancient warrior, a beautiful heroine, and a couple of robots. Do you start to see the similarities?
Richard Thomas played Shad, and Robert Vaughn played the role of Gelt. Yet, one good thing came out of this movie. Future director James Cameron and future producer Gale Anne Hurd met, and later gave us the amazing “Terminator.” The movie’s estimated budget was $2,000,000, and it only managed to gain one-third of the total budget before it was taken off.
8. The Man Who Saved the World (1980)
It was marketed as the Turkish Star Wars. Well, it literally was as it blatantly stole scenes from The New Hope and spliced them together to make new scenes. Moreover, this film borrowed from multiple movies to jump on the bandwagon, it took the score from Star Wars and mixed it with a native theme to make it look original. It also stole scenes and music from Battlestar Galactica.
This movie is about two space cadets who are on a desert planet, where an evil wizard is trying to take over the world. This movie had Kung-fu, monsters, ninjas, and telekinesis, and still failed to grab any attention from the audiences across the globe.
9. The Last Starfighter (1984)
The movie’s production was inspired by the success of George Lucas and Star Wars.
The movie plot is about Alex, who beats the Last Starfighter video game and is taken to another universe to beat an evil dictator. The game was just a test to see if he was fit for the recruitment. This movie also inspired the modern series ‘Future Man’, which is a rather comedic take on the plot.
The movie was not going to see the light of the day. The screenplay was shelved, but when Star Wars did so well on the box office, auditioning was resumed and this movie was fast-tracked due to Star Wars.
With an estimated budget of $15,000,000, this movie made $28,733,290 and became a hit at the box office. It is still remembered as an amazing tale of that era.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Every now and then, there are some directors and movies that set the tone of the industry and pave the way for a new era of cinematic experiences. Star Wars was such a movie. George Lucas gave us a story a universe and characters to root for. This is why Star Wars is as one of the best, if not the best, science fiction movies of all time. It’s not a suprise that other studios wanted to grab a slice of the pie.
And that’s our list. Did we miss any you think should’ve been on there? Any you’ve seen, what do you think of them? Leave us a comment below.
Read more of our movie articles HERE.
IMDB information about the Starcrash movie HERE.
Read IMDB information about the Message from Space movie HERE.
See IMDB information about The Humanoid movie HERE.
Read IMDB information about Star Trek: The Motion Picture HERE.
Find IMDB information about the Battlestar Galactica movie HERE.
Read IMDB information about the Space Raiders movie HERE.
IMDB information about Battle Beyond the Stars HERE.
Read IMDB information about The Man Who Saved the World movie HERE.
Check out IMDB information about The Last Startfighter movie HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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