In a tradition that started in 1977 when Star Wars overtook Jaws as the domestic box office champ, besties Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have taken out trade ads congratulating each other when one manages to topple the other’s reigning B.O. record.
After that first ad, Lucas took one out congratting Spielberg for E.T.’s emergence over Star Wars in 1982, but then Spielberg had a caricature of E.T. crowning R2D2 when a rerelease of the space epic overtook E.T. When Titanic beat them both in 1998, Lucas returned the favor to the newest member of this exclusive club, James Cameron, with a very colorful ad showing all the Star Wars characters going down with the ship. As far as I know, Cameron never took out an ad congratulating himself when Avatar sank Titanic in 2010.
This week, Marvel has gotten into the game by changing the rules a bit: The studio company created an ad showing the T-rex of Jurassic World ferociously hovering over the cast of The Avengers, after executive producer Spielberg’s Amblin production — a third sequel to his original 1993 classic — took the crown from Avengers for the best-ever domestic and worldwide opening weekend. So now it seems to be about not just all-time box office champs but all time box office openings.
Well, I say enjoy the ride, Mr. Spielberg, because in a galaxy not that far far away, your mentee, J.J. Abrams, is about to join the club when his reboot of Star Wars opens December 18. And of course, that likely record-breaker is thanks to the creation of none other than your buddy Lucas, who started this whole cycle. Some even are speculating that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could score the first billion-dollar global box office weekend.
It is rather remarkable, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of Jaws — it bowed on June 20, 1975 — that the Jedi masters of the modern box office blockbuster are still around four decades later and responsible for shattering each other’s records in one way or another. And that kind of longevity of capturing the moviegoing public’s imagination is a record that likely never will be broken.
Check out the photo gallery above to see some of these classic congratulatory ads.