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Old 01-20-2021, 05:30 PM   #201
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A shocking theory sometimes in film circles - restrictions cause some artists to flourish and get creative.

Apparently some of the best work is produced when the film-maker does NOT have free reign.
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:36 PM   #202
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Terminator 3, X-Men The Last Stand and Justice League are some of the rattiest looking $200 million+ budgeted films that immediately come to mind.

But Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides takes the cake. That damn thing cost almost $100 million more than the ENTIRE Lord of the Rings trilogy!! That's....obscene..
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:35 PM   #203
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People around here can never decide if they hate studios for imposing shortcuts on filmmakers, or if they hate the filmmakers for going to such lengths to realize their vision.
Every filmmaker that ever lived, relied on other people doing a lot of work, in order to create their vision.

Great leadership is about delegating assignments to the right people. Operating with first, second, third and so on film units, is the normal approach when doing big budget moviemaking or tv. Always have been.

The directors vision is not compromised, because the director doesn't do everything himself/herself. +90% of all artwork on display at museums around the World, carrying Salvador Dali's signature... was never touched by Dali himself; his studio hands created/printed/sculpted most of them, supervised by Dali himself or his assistants.
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:55 AM   #204
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GI Joe: Retaliation apparently cost as much as $155mil to make, i cannot see where that money went. Apart from the Mountain ninja scene and maaaaybe Dwayne Johnson's paycheck (although this is just before he became a mega leading man so presumably his salary was much lower then) i can't figure what all the money was spent on. The movie looks really cheap and most of the action is very low fi.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:39 AM   #205
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A shocking theory sometimes in film circles - restrictions cause some artists to flourish and get creative.

Apparently some of the best work is produced when the film-maker does NOT have free reign.
It does also highlight as well that actually a smaller production can give you greater freedom in terms of taking your time because time isn't money to nearly the same degree.

I do think it stands out that a lot of recent cinema with really great looking natural light location shooting was actually quite low budget.

Under The Skin
Monos
The Great Beauty
Embrace of the Serpent
Mektoub My Love
etc
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:39 AM   #206
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Stargate and Escape from L.A. come to mind.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:51 AM   #207
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The Lone Ranger
Battleship
Tomorrowland
Evan Almighty
Sahara
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:59 AM   #208
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All those movies are pretty huge productions with elaborate vfx and set pieces. The train finale of The Lone Ranger is one of the most spectacular set pieces I've ever seen.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:05 AM   #209
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It does also highlight as well that actually a smaller production can give you greater freedom in terms of taking your time because time isn't money to nearly the same degree.
Usually on lower budgets time is much more of a problem because the daily cost of the cast and crew (not just salary but transportation but food and lodging on location) is your biggest expense, so you can't afford to take your time and have to work much faster. That can sometimes give a film more energy but it also means you have to shoot no matter what. On Orson Welles' Othello they couldn't afford to pay customs duty on the impounded costumes, so they shot the murder of Roderigo in a Turkish bath. Welles called those kinds of solutions to money problems divine accidents, but it was precisely because they didn't have time or money on their side that they had to shoot regardless.

Not all solutions are so inspired.

There's also a lot less freedom on most lower budget movies because your investors aren't major corporations and have much more of a personal stake and risk.

Last edited by Aclea; 01-21-2021 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:11 AM   #210
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I don't know how much it cost but the biggest ever full scale explosion made for a movie seen in Spectre looks like a Derek Meddings miniature explosion only somehow less exciting.
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:59 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by Aclea View Post
Usually on lower budgets time is much more of a problem because the daily cost of the cast and crew (not just salary but transportation but food and lodging on location) is your biggest expense, so you can't afford to take your time and have to work much faster. That can sometimes give a film more energy but it also means you have to shoot no matter what. On Orson Welles' Othello they couldn't afford to pay customs duty on the impounded costumes, so they shot the murder of Roderigo in a Turkish bath. Welles called those kinds of solutions to money problems divine accidents, but it was precisely because they didn't have time or money on their side that they had to shoot regardless.

Not all solutions are so inspired.

There's also a lot less freedom on most lower budget movies because your investors aren't major corporations and have much more of a personal stake and risk.
A smaller scale production is much more likely to have reduced per day costs though, your actors won't cost as much, you'll likely have a smaller/cheaper crew and also less likely you will have large scale sets to deal with on location.

Your also more likely to have a reduced amount of different locations on a smaller scale production leaving a lot more time for each one to be worked on and potentially to wait for ideal weather/lighting conditions or just spend time working out composition/blocking.

Digital cameras as well seem to have had a significant impact here given that the cost of film would have been a larger part of the budget of smaller productions. There does definitely seem to have been a rise in the number of visually striking arthouse releases since the advent of digital.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:06 PM   #212
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$270m?! On that?

It wasn't a terrible film per se, but I'd never have guessed that it cost that much. There wasn't even a massive marquee star, aside from Spacey you might say, but I doubt he was paid silly money.
Aborted films prior to returns were included in the budget.

Tim Burton and Nic Cage were guaranteed big money even if their film never got made.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:16 PM   #213
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A smaller scale production is much more likely to have reduced per day costs though, your actors won't cost as much, you'll likely have a smaller/cheaper crew and also less likely you will have large scale sets to deal with on location.
Regardles, the money you get for lower budget productions, and indies in particular, matters more to the investors than it does to big corporations, and often comes with greater pressure - where a studio will think nothing of spending a few million on reshoots to polish a big picture, when the money runs out on indies, that's it because every extra penny spent increases the risk. As for cast, one of the reasons they usually cost less is they're either unknowns or, if better known actors, only committing to the picture for a limited amount of time so it won't stop them taking better paid work elsewhere or are on a higher daily rate. Time is a huge factor. It's the fact that, unlike indies and lower budgst films, studio pictures take longer that is usually a key factor in driving up the price.

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Your also more likely to have a reduced amount of different locations on a smaller scale production leaving a lot more time for each one to be worked on and potentially to wait for ideal weather/lighting conditions or just spend time working out composition/blocking.
Again, you're never going to have the time to do that on a lower budget picture. Schedules are nearly always shorter and much faster.

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Digital cameras as well seem to have had a significant impact here given that the cost of film would have been a larger part of the budget of smaller productions.
Not the big factor you think, unless you're talking microbudget ($50,000 or so total budget) features. Depending on whether you shoot 16mm or 35mm it can be between $25,000-50,000 on a 5-1 take ratio on a feature.

Last edited by Aclea; 01-21-2021 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:30 PM   #214
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GI Joe: Retaliation apparently cost as much as $155mil to make, i cannot see where that money went. Apart from the Mountain ninja scene and maaaaybe Dwayne Johnson's paycheck (although this is just before he became a mega leading man so presumably his salary was much lower then) i can't figure what all the money was spent on. The movie looks really cheap and most of the action is very low fi.
I actually like this movie quite a bit. I think it looks more expensive than Pirates 4 lol. Or X-Men 3 and Justice League. About on par with the first one. But I respect your opinion. Maybe I feel this way because I actually enjoyed the movie.

Also...Tomorrowland?? Huh. Again...opinions lol. Not calling anyone wrong...just giving my take but...I thought Tomorrowland looked FAN-freakin-TASTIC. I know it (undeservedly) flopped but I don't know how much it cost..
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Old 01-21-2021, 01:31 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by Streamingsux View Post
I actually like this movie quite a bit. I think it looks more expensive than Pirates 4 lol. Or X-Men 3 and Justice League. About on par with the first one. But I respect your opinion. Maybe I feel this way because I actually enjoyed the movie.

Also...Tomorrowland?? Huh. Again...opinions lol. Not calling anyone wrong...just giving my take but...I thought Tomorrowland looked FAN-freakin-TASTIC. I know it (undeservedly) flopped but I don't know how much it cost..
Outside of the mountain Ninja sequence, which i accept does look like a very costly action scene and Dwayne Johnson's 2012/2013 paycheck which will have been much smaller than it is now, what about the movie makes you think it looks expensive? Genuinely curious. The first movie has pretty much wall to wall CG and massive action sequences as well as a huge finale and lots of location shooting in Paris (for a big action scene). i can see where the money went there, but Retaliation, it aims for big but is all very small scale and low key (apart from the mountain ninja scene).
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Old 01-21-2021, 01:44 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Prog5000 View Post
Aborted films prior to returns were included in the budget.

Tim Burton and Nic Cage were guaranteed big money even if their film never got made.
There were also costly overruns because the new digital cameras constantly broke down, while their output was so poor that Warners had to spend several million in post production touching up the footage to get it in a form that was presentable. There was also the ditching of the $5-10m (estimates vary) pre-title sequence of Superman in the ruins of Krypton.

Last edited by Aclea; 01-21-2021 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:22 PM   #217
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Outside of the mountain Ninja sequence, which i accept does look like a very costly action scene and Dwayne Johnson's 2012/2013 paycheck which will have been much smaller than it is now, what about the movie makes you think it looks expensive? Genuinely curious. The first movie has pretty much wall to wall CG and massive action sequences as well as a huge finale and lots of location shooting in Paris (for a big action scene). i can see where the money went there, but Retaliation, it aims for big but is all very small scale and low key (apart from the mountain ninja scene).
I should have probably been less vague. It DOES look a tad less costly and epic compared to the first one but it doesn't look "cheap" to me. The destruction of London being another FX highlight. It never felt small scale. Only maybe SMALLER scale. And I might be a tad biased because I enjoy the film. Anytime there are FX, they're all on point IMO. At no point did I feel like I was watching something cheap. Not disputing your opinion, I don't think you're wrong, just giving my POV 🙂. The only part that feels truly too small scale is that whole mini tank battle at the end. That felt off. X-Men The Last Stand, just to give an example, cost like $100 million more than it and I feel GI Joe Retaliation looks and feels much bigger and better (again, just IMO...not a fan of X-Men 3).

Also, I watched the extended version. Maybe it had something the theatrical version didn't..
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Old 01-22-2021, 06:08 AM   #218
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Again, you're never going to have the time to do that on a lower budget picture. Schedules are nearly always shorter and much faster.
Again though as I said your often talking about films that don't have to deal with capturing as much in terms of variety of locations/scenes and don't have to spend as long getting sets and set pieces ready.

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Not the big factor you think, unless you're talking microbudget ($50,000 or so total budget) features. Depending on whether you shoot 16mm or 35mm it can be between $25,000-50,000 on a 5-1 take ratio on a feature.
That's going by the amount of footage that was typically shot for cinema shot on film though.

Something like say Blue is the Warmest Colour I remember it being mentioned there was 800 hours of footage shot. That's probably at the extreme end but I'm guessing the amount of raw footage shot has risen significantly in the digital era for small budget films.

You also of course have much better faster feedback of what your shooting which means working in more challenging lighting becomes easier plus arguably digital itself is more forgiving of such lighting.

Again I do think you've seen a clear effect in terms of how visually ambitious arthouse cinema tends to be over the last decade or more. There have always been such films made of course but the number of them seems to have increased significantly to me.
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Old 01-22-2021, 08:09 AM   #219
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According to Wiki, the animated movie Tangled cost a whopping $260M...

For comparison, the Lion King remake was nine years later, also completely animated but with newer technology, more realistic animation, and a bigger voice cast -- and it still cost $10M less.

Where did the money go for Tangled? Development costs for previous versions of a Rapunzel movie?
From what I've heard, the animation technology for Rapunzel's hair was a big factor into why the budget got so huge.
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Old 01-22-2021, 08:38 AM   #220
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I just watched this the other night. $10M budget? The exterior flying planes are CGI. The interior plane shots are maybe 3-4 small sets. There's a small "island" they land on for 10 minutes that is more of a field in the middle of nowhere. And there's these really bad CGI cats.
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