×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

George Lucas Drops Plans for Museum in Chicago

The ongoing drama surrounding the George Lucas Museum in Chicago has come to an end.

After years of controversy, Lucas announced that he was scrapping plans of building a museum of his art collection on the city’s lakefront on Friday. Group Friends of Parks filed a lawsuit against the project in November 2014, putting it on hold indefinitely.

“No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot,” Lucas said in the statement on Friday. “The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government.”

The “Star Wars” creator will now attempt to build the museum in California. Lucas also thanked Chicago officials for working with him on the project, and vowed to continue support for the Midwest’s city’s culture. His wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago.

“We are deeply appreciative to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Bruce Rauner and countless others for all the time and effort they invested in trying to secure the museum for Chicago,” he said. “While Chicago will not be home to the museum, my wife and I will continue to enthusiastically support a wide variety of educational and cultural activities throughout the city.”

Despite recent hints at a compromise, Friends of Parks refused to withdraw its lawsuit, and continued to urge Lucas to find another location for his museum. The group argued that the project would tarnish the city’s lakefront, and benefit a private party more than Chicago’s residents.

“It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of several alternative sites that is not on Chicago’s lakefront. That would have been the true win-win,” Friends of the Parks executive director Juanita Irizarry and board chair Lauren Moltz said in a statement on Friday in response to Lucas’ announcement.

Emanuel also issued a response on Friday, saying that Chicago has lost a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

“Unfortunately, time has run out, and the moment we’ve consistently warned about has arrived,” Emanuel said. “Chicago’s loss will be another city’s gain. … We tried to find common ground to resolve the lawsuit — the sole barrier preventing the start of the museum’s construction. But despite our best efforts to negotiate a common solution that would keep this tremendous cultural and economic asset in Chicago, Friends of the Parks chose to instead negotiate with themselves while Lucas negotiated with cities on the West Coast.”

More Film

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

  • Queen + Adam Lambert perform at

    Queen to Perform at Oscars

    Queen will perform at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, the Motion Picture Academy announced on social media today. The move, which is not completely a surprise, comes in the wake of the blockbuster success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biopic about the band and its late singer, Freddie Mercury. The band now performs under the [...]

  • Richard E. Grant Variety Facetime Interview

    Richard E. Grant on How to Survive Awards Season With Flair

    An Oscar would certainly be nice, but Richard E. Grant doesn’t need a golden statue to walk away from this awards season as a winner. The 61-year-old actor landed his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Jack Hock, the loyal accomplice of author-turned-literary forager Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) in the biopic “Can You [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    'Alita: Battle Angel' Banks on Foreign Audiences to Save It From Box Office Disaster

    “Alita: Battle Angel” beat expectations with its $27 million debut at the domestic box office, but Fox’s cyberpunk fantasy adventure has a long road to travel before it can claim victory. When it comes to achieving profitability, the CGI-spectacular may never arrive at that particular destination. With a production budget hovering at $170 million (Fox [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content