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Old August 7 2008, 11:50 PM   #31
Harvey
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

As per inflating a film's budget, it doesn't pertain to big budget pictures, but Peter Briskand's book Down and Dirty Pictures offers a number of anecdotes about how the executives running the "independent" film sector (focusing on the Weinstein brothers tenure at Mirimax, but also looking at New Line Cinema and other similiar companies) shifts costs of one movie over to others in order to make the books look as if everything has yet to turn a profit.

After that, they use their massive staff of lawyers to pile up litigation claiming otherwise for years in order to make the financial cost of directors, producers, actors, writers, etc. suing for residuals to be so large that it is no longer worth it in time and finances to try and get the money owed.
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Old August 8 2008, 12:24 AM   #32
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

AFAIK the most expensive movie ever made was War and Peace (1968). It had an estimated expense of $700 million (2006 dollars).
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Old August 8 2008, 12:32 AM   #33
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

This stuff is complicated. It costs money.

The simplest little cheesy shoots I do run about $10,000 per day, and I work really hard to cut enough corners to keep it to that.

And that's usually working with less than 20 people. These Hollywood films are on a much bigger scale and the work lasts 2-3 years.
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Old August 8 2008, 01:36 AM   #34
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

In Roger Corman's autobiography, he talks a little bit about the few big studio films he made. He says that, in many cases, the amount of labor costs attributed to a film would have absolutely no bearing on reality. For example, he would need, say, 3 Teamsters to move some lumber from one end of the studio lot to the other. Then, the studio employs, say, 20 Teamsters on its lot full time. 15 of them are occupied working on other movies. That leaves 5 available to move the lumber. Only 3 are needed for the job but the studio charges the time of all 5 of them to Corman's movie. That way, they inflate the budget of the movie and make it look like all of their full time Teamsters are occupied.
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Old August 8 2008, 03:57 AM   #35
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

This is interesting stuff: here's 2006's top ten:
1. Pirates 2: 1,066 mil gross! - 225 mil budget = 841 mil "profit" (wow!)
2. Da Vinci Code: 758 - 125: 633
3. Ice Age 2: 652 - 80: 572
4. Casino Royale: 594 - 102: 492
5. Night Museum: 574 - 110: 464
6. Cars: 462 - 120: 342
7. X-Men 3: 459 - 210: 249
8. Mission Impossible 3: 398 - 150: 248
9. Superman Returns: 391 - 270: 121 (ouch! and it's the most expensive movie of the year)
10. Happy Feet: 384 - 100: 284

And 2005:
1. Harry Potter 4: 896 - 150: 746
2. Revenge Sith: 850 - 113: 737 (see? only 113 budget!)
3. Narnia: 745 - 180: 565
4. War Worlds: 592 - 132: 460
5. King Kong: 550 - 207: 343 (and this was considered a "flop"?)
9. Batman Begins: 372 - 135: 237 (how far we've come, hunh?)

And 2003:
1. Return King: 1,119 gross!!! only 94 mil budget!!!: 1,025 mil profit!!!
2. Finding Nemo: 865 - 94: 771
3. Matrix Reloaded: 739 - 150: 589
4. Pirates Caribb: 654 - 140: 514
5. Bruce Almighty: 485 - 80: 405
6. Last Samurai: 457 - 140: 317
7. Terminator 3: 433 - 200: 233 (why did this cost so much?!)
8. Matrix Revolutions: 425 - 110: 315
9. X-Men 2: 408 - 110: 298
10. Bad Boys 2: 273 - 130: 143

And 1999 my favorite movie year:
1. Phantom Menace: 924 - 115: 809
2. Sixth Sense: 673 - 55: 618
3. Toy Story 2: 485 - 90: 395
4. Matrix: 460 - 63: 397 (only 63 mil budget?! wow)
5. Tarzan: 448 - 150: 298 (most expensive movie of the year is a cartoon?)
6. Mummy: 416 - 80: 336 (only 80 mil budget?!)
8. World Not Enough: 362 - 135: 227
10. Austin Powers 2: 312 - 33: 279
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Old August 8 2008, 04:04 AM   #36
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

dragunzng wrote: View Post
Bob The Skutter wrote: View Post
To my eyes, Wall-E looked a lot more detailed, though. Probably took a lot more man hours to do, and as you say, TMNT was done in Korea.

Well to be fair, they didn't say 50k to show the stargate, they said to step through it, which I'd guess would be a little more complex than just showing it?

Yeah, Wall-E was definitely a lot more detailed, it's still just staggering though how much more expensive than something in the same genre using similar technology is.
You're not jsut talking about the cost of the software or technology but the people behind it as well, most CGI jobs are done by the higest bidder since they know how little time there is to get a movie ready for the theaters.
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Old August 8 2008, 12:44 PM   #37
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Some budgets do blow my mind. Pirates costing 150 mil I understand as there's huge sets, ships on the ocean filming and whatnot. But Spider-Man 3? It had about 15 minutes of action in the whole thing. The rest of it was just actors whining in an apartment.

They made Transformers on 151 mil and it looks like it had triple the budget of any of these movies. Tons of gorgeous on location filming across the world, super detailed CGI robots, real-life military action... How come Michael Bay is so much more cost-efficient? I did read one article that says he's a monster on the set rushing people through takes as quickly as possible.
My thoughts exactly, you look at Hellboy 2, and it looks like it must have a massive budget, but it cost under 90 million, you look at Cloverfield and think it must have cost easily over 100 million dollars, but it cost 25 million.

Now let's look at that crappy Zohan movie, why hello thar 90 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET...

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Old August 8 2008, 03:15 PM   #38
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

Arrghman wrote: View Post
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Computer programmers and animation software don't come cheap. Audiences want 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
I lumped them in with programmers. Sorry, they should be acknowledged separately.
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Old August 8 2008, 05:54 PM   #39
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

To some degree, costs are probably inflated, though. There was a fairly infamous example a few years back - the Tomb Raider movie, where IIRC because of a lawsuit the production accounts were brought into public view, so inevitably they were picked apart by those interested in such things.

Long story short: Paramount's "$94 million" budget, thanks to various international tax breaks, merchandising deals and the like, was actually more like $7 million. Read more here. Of course, from a studio accounting point of view, that $94 million was almost certainly the 'official' figure when it came to dishing out net, rather than gross, profits.
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Old August 8 2008, 06:01 PM   #40
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

I'd say that the larger budgets are a combination of factors;

1.) The value of money is diminishing as things are becoming more costly.
2.) Average Joe wants to see big explosions and cool special effects.

The bad thing is that the interpretations of profitability with film are changing from what they were previously. According to an article a few months ago about the possibility of an Incredible Hulk sequel, film studios now want to see at least a 25% increase over the break even point before they consider a film a profit. If Terminator's budget (I have seen several different figures) it would have to make a minimum of 250 million to be considered a success.
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Old August 8 2008, 06:27 PM   #41
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

payndz201 wrote: View Post
Long story short: Paramount's "$94 million" budget, thanks to various international tax breaks, merchandising deals and the like, was actually more like $7 million. Read more here. Of course, from a studio accounting point of view, that $94 million was almost certainly the 'official' figure when it came to dishing out net, rather than gross, profits.
Well, yes and no. The movie did cost $94 million dollars, in terms of a production budget, but you're right in bringing up that article that points out that merchandising, tax breaks (Uwe Boll is famous for exploiting the German tax break on his films, although, for all the crap he produces, he ironically is one of the few using the law in the spirit that it was created for), selling television rights, and selling overseas rights helped to cover most of that cost before production began. It's no surprise to me that studo lawyers obfuscated this information in order to reduce the ammount of money they'd have to pay people for its success.
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Old August 9 2008, 12:49 AM   #42
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

I wonder if some of these movie budgets would withstand a full-scale IRS audit. I supsect lots of them are exercises in somewhat creative accounting.
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Old August 9 2008, 01:12 AM   #43
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

dragunzng wrote: View Post
I agree with regards to Wall-E, CG isn't cheap, but TMNT cost roughly 30 million dollars. I know TMNT was done by Imagi (a Korean company) and this helped cut costs, but it's still ridiculous that Wall-E (which admittedly is technically superior) cost 6 times more to create.
No disrespect intended but since I would say "Wall-E" is AT LEAST 6 times better than the awful TMNT movie, I would say it's money well spent.

You pay peanuts, you get little Korean drones working in cubicles making films like that.
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Old August 10 2008, 05:03 AM   #44
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

DWF wrote: View Post
dragunzng wrote: View Post
Bob The Skutter wrote: View Post
To my eyes, Wall-E looked a lot more detailed, though. Probably took a lot more man hours to do, and as you say, TMNT was done in Korea.
Yeah, Wall-E was definitely a lot more detailed, it's still just staggering though how much more expensive than something in the same genre using similar technology is.
You're not jsut talking about the cost of the software or technology but the people behind it as well, most CGI jobs are done by the higest bidder since they know how little time there is to get a movie ready for the theaters.
Whereas they seemed to take their sweet time on TMNT. The script is copyrighted 2005. The movie came out in 2007.
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Old August 10 2008, 05:56 AM   #45
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Re: what's with huge production budgets?

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
DWF wrote: View Post
dragunzng wrote: View Post
Yeah, Wall-E was definitely a lot more detailed, it's still just staggering though how much more expensive than something in the same genre using similar technology is.
You're not jsut talking about the cost of the software or technology but the people behind it as well, most CGI jobs are done by the higest bidder since they know how little time there is to get a movie ready for the theaters.
Whereas they seemed to take their sweet time on TMNT. The script is copyrighted 2005. The movie came out in 2007.
Animated movies and VFX in live action movies are two entirely different things. The former takes much longer to produce (because it's, you know, a whole movie not just some shots) and the latter tends to be done by several different studios in a much shorter time frame. There seems to be some confusion in this thread in who's talking about what...
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