artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson
Thu Jul 11 2013, 10:08am | 5 comments
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Yeah, I don’t get that reasoning either. For the price of one tentpole film in the $200M range, you can do 5-6 films in the $30M range. Far less riskier, and better chance of yielding a franchise if one is done right.
It boggles the mind that Hollywood prefers to go tiny (microbudget ‘found footage’) or absurdly big ($100M-$250M franchise hopefuls). There needs to be more mid-range movies in the middle, like more $20M-$75M pictures.
If you stripped Bruckheimer, Depp, and Verbinski of their absurdly high paychecks, provided a set budget and forced them to be creative, they could’ve made a tighter and enjoyable Western that didn’t break $100M to make. I’m amazed that the Coen Brothers did wonders with that $38M budget they got for “True Grit”, and made it look 4x more expensive than it was.
Paramount actually adopted that strategy for a few years. It resulted in a lot of bland, milquetoast films that nobody wanted to see. I definitely agree that The Lone Ranger didn’t need to cost as much as it did. Make is a more reasonable $100 million and suddenly no one’s talking about a “major bomb” anymore.
My solution is to spread the money among more films and to encourage directors and scriptwriters to experiment a bit, not to try to turn out the same old genre standards.
As I think MA has already noted, most big Hollywood films are now being made for film goers in China, Russia, and the rest of the world. It’s a bonus if they can work something in for the domestic market. (“Domestic Market”!?! Look how the big studios have subverted how we discuss what used to be “film,” but now is “product.”)
Did True Grit look 4x more expensive than it was, or do most $150 mil+ movies make you wonder where all the money went?
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