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Old August 7 2008, 04:32 PM   #16
Mr Light
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Here's the top grossing 2007 films and their budgets:
1. Pirates 3 grossed $961, budget $300 (?!) = $661 "profit"
2. Harry 5 grossed $938, budget $150-200 = $788-$738
3. Spidey 3 grossed $891, budget $258 (?!) = $633
4. Shrek 3 grossed $799, budget $160 = $639
5. Transformers grossed $708, budget $151 = $557
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Old August 7 2008, 04:36 PM   #17
Alidar Jarok
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Doesn't the next Trek movie have a pretty large budget as well?
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Old August 7 2008, 04:40 PM   #18
Hermiod
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Wikipedia estimates $130-150m.
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Old August 7 2008, 05:21 PM   #19
Aragorn
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Well you could always go the route of The Asylum. "The Day the Earth Stopped" will probably cost around $100K.
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Old August 7 2008, 05:29 PM   #20
Hermiod
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Aragorn wrote: View Post
Well you could always go the route of The Asylum. "The Day the Earth Stopped" will probably cost around $100K.
When you consider that the original The Day the Earth Stood Still cost £1.2m in 1958, you have to worry about their production values.
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Old August 7 2008, 06:57 PM   #21
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

The one comment i can make about the cost of something like CGI, or light bulbs is this:

I work at an airport which we spend an insane amount of money on bulbs, lights, and general stuff. The problem is supply and demand, that and your trapped so they know they got you.

THink of it this way. The FAA makes regulations that say a light bulb must be like so. In order to make the light bulb to those specifications, it gets expensive because no one else buys light bulbs like it. Thus it costs alot.

and a $50.00 light bulb is 'cheap'. We have lights that cost a hell of a lot more than that.
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Old August 7 2008, 07:26 PM   #22
Harvey
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Filmmaking is an expensive proposition. For these multi-million dollar films, you're looking at shooting schedules of 4-6 months (or more). For every one of those days, you have to cater enough food to feed your entire cast and crew. For a crew on a big budget production, you're looking at upwards of 250 people (or more). Not to mention the cast, both your stars (which do not come cheap--for A-List actors, many of whom are in these big budget films, you can be looking at 20 million dollars or more for their talents alone) and day-players (which, on big pictures, could still be someone famous enough to earn far beyond SAG-minimum). These films probably have multiple cameras (when filming action, you could be talking 15 of them) which cost thousands upon thousands to rent a day (remember to include the costs of lenses and especially film stock in these figures as well). You want to bring trucks or cars in for an action scene? Those have to be purchased or rented. And if they're going to be destroyed in the script you either have to have a number of exact copies available, or you better spend hours (or days) preparing (read: time spent paying actors to stand around) and be covering it from a lot of different angles (multiple cameras again).

And that's only production (which, often, baloons past schedules and budgets, which can't account for the random occurances of a film set). Pre-production budgets are often massive for these special effects-laden films as well. And it's no surprise if you have to hire massive art departments, etc. (or small ones--but then you have to give them a lot more time and end up spending money anyway). And, with dozens of writers on these assembly line projects (or just a couple of A-listers who earn millions), you're not saving any money there, either.

And then there's post-production. CGI ain't cheap, especially if you want it fast (and usually you do, in order to meet impending release dates that you've advertised endlessly--more financial burden--in order to hype up your film) and in the massive quantities intended blockbusters require.

And this doesn't even include the costs that studios don't advertise (huge advertising budgets--The Dark Knight probably had an advertising budget in the tens of millions, from the looks of it), striking thousands of prints (film prints cost thousands...multiply that by several thousand and you're not skimping), and yielding a good portion of your box office gross to theaters (notice they always report grosses--never profits).

But why do studios keep making these films? Because we keep going to them. We go to them in huge quantities. We go to them more than once. And we buy them on DVD. More often than not, they get us to buy them on DVD more than once. And that doesn't include the profits incurred from the toys, the merchandies, the fast food restaurant promotions, etc. that these films also bring with them. If you think the millions that the latest Batman movie has made in theatres is something, those numbers probably don't hold a candle to action figure sales.

Have budgets gotten a little out of control? Most definitely. The things Hollywood productions spend money on are often asinine. But, considering the massive profits that (more often than not) come at the end of the line, can you really blame studio executives (who fund films to make money...these people couldn't give a damn about cinema as an art--unless they can find a way to sell it) for not giving a damn about spending more than they should here and there considering the windfall that comes afterwards?
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Old August 7 2008, 07:42 PM   #23
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

I imagine part of the reason why budgets are inflating is that costs are rising. It costs more to pay the cast and crew. It costs more to provide food to feed the cast and crew. It costs more to provide transportation for the cast and crew.

Granted, budgets have gotten a little out of control. I don't think it would hurt for Hollywood to try and contain their budgets on some of their projects. Quantity doesn't always translate into quality. Anyone remember "Waterworld", which at the time set a record for how much it cost to make, and yet was a huge bomb. I look at projects like "Cloverfield" or see how great movies can be done with a limited budget.
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Old August 7 2008, 07:50 PM   #24
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Keep in mind, also, that blockbuster-type movie budgets often include years worth of development, including the cost of options for scripts, directors, actors, etc., that may have no bearing on the movie that was ultimate produced. I believe this was a large part of the price tag of Superman Returns.
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Old August 7 2008, 07:54 PM   #25
Harvey
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

From what I've read, Superman Returns had to incur all of the money that had been spent on pay or play deals for the aborted Tim Burton/Nicholas Cage version in the mid-1990s that Kevin Smith wrote a draft for (his re-telling of the whole affair is classic).

Reminds me of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which had to incur the costs of Star Trek: Phase II into its budget (which is one of the reasons it grew so large compared to the other Trek features).
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Old August 7 2008, 09:26 PM   #26
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Meanwhile, the budget of each Star Wars Prequel was about $115 million, which is nothing but CGI. But I guess that's cause Lucas owns ILM and gets the inside ticket
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Old August 7 2008, 10:45 PM   #27
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

John_Picard wrote: View Post
Computer programmers and animation software don't come cheap. Audiences was realistic special effects, so quit griping unless you want the cheese factor set to 10.
As an aside, I think you left out the CG artists
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Old August 7 2008, 10:47 PM   #28
Michael Chris
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Since the example used in this thread is T4 I have to say I am very thankful for the large budget. The reason they came to my home state of New Mexico was because of their large budget. NM apparently has better incentives than Budapest. Plus we got the whole "post-apocalyptic" look down cold.
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Old August 7 2008, 11:30 PM   #29
Holdfast
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Meanwhile, the budget of each Star Wars Prequel was about $115 million, which is nothing but CGI. But I guess that's cause Lucas owns ILM and gets the inside ticket
I was just watching some of the docus for both the OT and the PT, and was amazed at how LOW the budgets were, esp. considering how effects-heavy (and even location-heavy) some of them are.

I think it's a matter of wanting to exert cost-control. Lucas borrowed money to make at least some of his films, so controlling costs was very important. It's about a sense of ownership. Everything's under one roof (or extended corporate "family" at least) too, so there's cost-saving there too.

But with a studio, they're just going to look at the bottom line, after all costs are deducted. As long as enough of the superbig budget films make a net profit, they'll keep greenlighting them even if they could potentially make a bigger profit by being tighter with the budgets.
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Old August 7 2008, 11:43 PM   #30
stj
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

paudemge wrote: View Post
I've suspect that some movies get ripped off and others don't.
Forensic accounting isn't my field. But it does seem that in some fashion or other money in the budget doesn't actually move on to other hands. I suppose simple kickbacks are not heard of but by all reports lawyers and accountants are paid huge amounts of money to claim that movies lose money. Inflating the budget seems to be a way to do this. It appears instead that in fact most movies make money eventually. But taking a year or two means not making a lot of money.

Also, from CaptJimboJones
Keep in mind, also, that blockbuster-type movie budgets often include years worth of development, including the cost of options for scripts, directors, actors, etc., that may have no bearing on the movie that was ultimate produced. I believe this was a large part of the price tag of Superman Returns.
This too is true.

I would add that marketing costs can be quite considerable. Wide releases can cost quite a bit of money just making that many prints! Merchandising income for some releases is quite high, though. However these figures are pretty closely guarded it seems.

In short it seems that reported budget is not even a very accurate guide to the physical quality of a film (sets, costumes, FX) even though that is something that can usually be bought.
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