If Jaws was it's John The Baptist Star Wars was King Of Kings of it's time.
People talk about the huge turn outs and hubbubs surrounding films like Titanic and Avatar but like Gone With The Wind on the other side of the temporal balance those were big budget affairs with a degree of a buzz about them years ahead of the release.
Sure lot's of people were predicting Titanic would sink Cameron but at least it was getting tagged and followed.
Interesting thoughts and I agree, to a point. In fact I wrote a piece that's on Kaminski's site about it and I also compared the cultural phenomenon of Star Wars to The Beatles. When I mentioned in my first post that new films come along and replace the big ones, I was speaking specifically of a personal standpoint, as in each viewer's world, not the cultural world.
I doubt we'll see another pop-culturally significant film event along the lines of - Gone With The Wind, Ben Hur, Sound Of Music, 2001, Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark et al. The entertainment landscape is much different now, much different than it ever was before. The 20-somethings of today have a mind-boggling array of entertainment options to move them. Plus the movie-going public is less innocent and more jaded.
Gargantuan summer blockbusters like Titanic & Avatar don't have the staying power that films of past decades had. The blockbusters that dominate an entire summer these days are released on DVD in time for Christmas, with the studio already working on the next big profit maker. Bottom line first, cultural & artistic significance second.The target audience is told months ahead of time that the film will be an event not to be missed, the movie-going experience will never be the same, etc, etc.
That's why I think Star Wars will settle into a different type of historical significance, with a core group of followers. For a perfect example of what I'm talking about with the different mindset of "fans" in the modern age, look at Star Wars itself. There are original fans such as myself (now approaching 50) who only want the original, culturally significant (to us) version we saw in the theaters - and there are the TFNers who expect & want a regularly updated version. They come from an entirely different entertainment world - a more fluid entertainment world, a disposable entertainment world.
My point, I guess, is that I agree with you, but for slightly different reasons. If I'm reading you correctly, you see Star Wars as culturally significant because it probably won't ever be duplicated i.e. Bible, Shakespeare, Beatles. I see it as culturally significant because it can't ever be duplicated - innocent culture. That's my own jadedness showing.