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Another Weekend, Another Tale of Woe for Tentpoles.....


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 05:04 PM

You really have to wonder about the logic used at the studios, I mean will they ever learn? 180 million for Tarzan?  *Gasp* What!  Who on earth believed they could earn that back?

 

Of course I have the greatest respect and admiration for Steven Spielberg, I'm here because of ET, but 140 million for The BFG? Good grief! I saw it last night, I have no idea how 140 million was spent on that movie, I'd love to see the budget top sheet.  I suspect a group of CG artists are now driving ferraris as a result of that movie:

http://variety.com/2...erg-1201807996/

 

R,

 


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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 09:41 PM

I suppose I answered my own question then:

 

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=cnTF3guz7EQ

 

R,


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#3 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 10:28 PM

Hollywood movie budget are extremely inflated. I don't care what they say, it does not cost $100,000,000 to make a movie. Any movie. If it does, you're doing it irresponsibility. 

 

As for overpaid CG artists - most of them make probably $50k a year and are paid a salary based on their company. The CGI company itself probably pulls a pretty penny though.

 

And yes, the budget for CG has gotten out of control. It seems as CGI becomes more accessible and easy to work with, prices to use it are going up. Makes no sense really. On our project, Aaron and I choose to hire the artists directly and sidestep the whole ILM-style pipeline. I'm very happy so far.

 

Haven't seen BFG yet - going tomorrow - but I imagine simply attaching 'Spielberg' to your movie automatically entails $100,000,000... Love the guy, but its people like him (and the so called 'A-list' actors) who drive budgets up so high that it's nearly impassible for them to succeed. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 02 July 2016 - 10:30 PM.

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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 11:45 PM

I personally like failures because it shows audiences are not interested in the crap studio's produce.

I also didn't even know about a Tarzan film, it never crossed my radar, which is embarrassing because I'm pretty up to date on new stuff.

I'm planning on seeing the BFG as well, but mostly because it's a Spielberg film and I generally go to see his movies.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 11:45 PM

Haven't seen BFG yet - going tomorrow - but I imagine simply attaching 'Spielberg' to your movie automatically entails $100,000,000... Love the guy, but its people like him (and the so called 'A-list' actors) who drive budgets up so high that it's nearly impassible for them to succeed. 

 

 

That's a bit unfair -- Spielberg has been pretty responsible about controlling costs in his movies.  He made "Bridge of Spies" for 40 million, for example, not 100 million.  He made "Lincoln" for 65 million and it grossed about 182 million in the U.S.  There are plenty of directors you could tar with the label of making movies too expensively for them to succeed but Spielberg isn't one of them.


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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:25 AM

Sorta off topic, but the trailer for 'The BFG' does not look anything like what most people would expect from the source material. It's too bad that the filmmakers seem to have gone in the complete opposite direction from the tone suggested by Quentin Blake's minimalist line drawings that accompanied many of Roald Dahl's classic children's novels. A director friend of mine suggested that Terry Gilliam would probably have been a better fit for the material and I have to agree.

 

Nonetheless, if there's any living director who has earned the right to cash the studio's blank check, it's definitely Spielberg.


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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:56 AM

Personally I think audiences continue to say....."we don't care about movie stars or famous directors, we'll judge the work on its merits, that's all."

 

We've seen the huge success of micro budget movies with zero known stars, and we've seen dozens of very expensive studio films with big stars go down the tubes at the box office in the last five years.

 

As I've said before, the people that green-light movies like Tarzan, are the very same people who will insist that one of my movies cannot succeed in the market place.

 

R,


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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 09:14 AM

Terry Gilliam and the BFG would have been awesome 20 years ago, had it been a 90's movie with false perspective and models.

As a CGI movie, it's not as interesting.
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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 09:17 AM

As I've said before, the people that green-light movies like Tarzan, are the very same people who will insist that one of my movies cannot succeed in the market place.


Which is friggin' retarded. If your movies got the same marketing budget the medium sized studio movies got, you'd be pretty successful. It's the same market the feature I'm currently editing hits and I think it's a HUGE market that the studio's rarely tap into outside of animation.
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#10 Mark Dunn

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 10:39 AM

 

 

That's a bit unfair -- Spielberg has been pretty responsible about controlling costs in his movies.  He made "Bridge of Spies" for 40 million, for example, not 100 million.  He made "Lincoln" for 65 million and it grossed about 182 million in the U.S.  There are plenty of directors you could tar with the label of making movies too expensively for them to succeed but Spielberg isn't one of them.

$900,000, A.S.C., eh?  Hah.


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 10:59 AM

$900,000, A.S.C., eh?  Hah.

 

???


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#12 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:14 PM

I'm simply lumping Spielberg in the with the 'big Hollywood names' that will almost always inflate a budget beyond what it needs to be. The guy is a genius and I love many of his films, but he is about as Hollywood-establishment as its possible to get.

 

I had never seen bridge of spies, but given the trailer - I still don't see $40 million on the screen. Unlike many of his other CGI-packed films, this one is relatively low-key.

 

The only point I'm trying to make is that Spielberg is the establishment, and his movies demand as much. I'm sure once you attach Spielberg to your movies, everyone's wages start to go up. Why? Because the odds of the movie being a success skyrocket with his name attached, and therefore people can demand more money. The result? Inflated $140,000,000 budgets for a movie that I have no doubt Rodriquez could have made for $35,000,000. 

 

Now of course with Spielberg attached, that $140,000,000 budget might be more appropriate... But the problem comes in that those budgets then don't just stick with Spielberg - and start to spread across all filmmakers and movies - event those without someone with such selling power attached. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 03 July 2016 - 12:16 PM.

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#13 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:38 PM

Bridge of spies was pretty elaborate and the money is very much seen on screen. I doubt very many filmmakers would have the clout to make a movie like that. It's an old school movie and it's very complicated. Lots of locations lots of traveling and a huge crew. Sure an Indy film could probably do more with less, but not with those phonomonal performances. Mark relyance was amazing and worth every penny.

What humors me is the BFG which is all sound stages and green screen, is a far bigger movie then one that travels all over the world and uses legitimate locations, which is expensive. I remember taking to kaminskis ac who is also a Ducati enthusiast like I am about working on Spielberg films. He said his secret is moving fast. They'd do 3 company moves every day and 7 setups or more. That's a lot of work and it's really hard on your crew. It's why his movies sometimes look under lit because they're moving too fast and that's how they keep the budget reasonable.

I do think 40M is a pretty reasonable budget for a Hollywood movie. I allows for top actors to come on board, it allows for top crew, it allows for exotic locations and a good polished look. There is very little you can't do with 40M. So when people spend more money it gets confusing, it's like why? It's hard to make the same movie for a more reasonable 5M because you'll loose some of those elements. At the same time, it maybe easier in some ways because you're working with a smaller crew.

I'm two weeks in on my second feature in two months. This one has slightly more money, but we have a real crew and it's been a lot smoother. At the same time it's been slightly cheaper because we're being more efficient. But efficiency comes at a cost of killing your crew.
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#14 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 12:52 PM

I had never seen bridge of spies, but given the trailer - I still don't see $40 million on the screen. Unlike many of his other CGI-packed films, this one is relatively low-key.


You might want to actually watch the film first before making statements like this. Just sayin'. $40M is quite modest for a period film directed by Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks.

I'm sure once you attach Spielberg to your movies, everyone's wages start to go up.


Crew rates don't work like that. There are standard union rates that stay consistent within the different tiers of production. If you are a creative like the DP, then the rates start to vary more, person to person. Even then, you have to be at the upper eschelon of the profession like Kaminski/Chivo/Deakins/Richardson/Toll, etc. before you can start charging enormous sums of money.
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#15 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 01:50 PM

They'd do 3 company moves every day and 7 setups or more. That's a lot of work and it's really hard on your crew. It's why his movies sometimes look under lit because they're moving too fast and that's how they keep the budget reasonable.

 

7 set ups a day?  Whaaaa? I am averaging 50 set ups a day on my shoots.

 

R,


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#16 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 02:15 PM

You might want to actually watch the film first before making statements like this. Just sayin'. $40M is quite modest for a period film directed by Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks.


Crew rates don't work like that. There are standard union rates that stay consistent within the different tiers of production. If you are a creative like the DP, then the rates start to vary more, person to person. Even then, you have to be at the upper eschelon of the profession like Kaminski/Chivo/Deakins/Richardson/Toll, etc. before you can start charging enormous sums of money.

 

$40 million is modest for anything with Tom in it... Which might actually be a large part of the problem - rather than Spielberg.

 

I wasn't really referring to crew rates. I'm talking about-the-line talent like actors. For example, where Tom Hanks might be willing to do a film he 'likes' for less money for someone else, if Spielberg shows up with it - there must be this built-in understanding that there is plenty of money to go around...

 

I mean, lets face it... An Indie filmmaker could have made (at least what I have seen of) Bridge of Spies for a lot less than $40 million. My point is, Hollywood needs to re-think what they spend on movies. It's way too much money for the product they get in the end. A lot of it is that Hollywood has allowed (and even encouraged) rates to skyrocket into the millions for a few days work of a 'name' actor. I have no doubt that in many of these large, tent-pole movies - actors make up a good 20% or more of the entire budget, probably approaching 40%.

 

It's downright crazy that such sums of money change hand like that. And I find it rather striking that Hollywood is so open to paying such sums of money, when every other corporation in the world is trying to abolish the minimum wage so they can 'get by'. It just seems to me like Hollywood studios live in a little bubble of their own making, and I think they really need to start rearing it in. We saw what happened when the .com bubble burst, and I have no doubt that Hollywood's bubble will soon burst at well.

 

You see, there is only so much money to go around. People are not going to start paying $10 more a ticket to see a movie in the same numbers as they did before. The more Hollywood causes rates to skyrocket - the budgets will increase. As budgets go up, so does what the studio needs to make on ticket sales. Of course, since more people are not magically going to show up in any great numbers than they have before - they need to raise ticket prices to make up the difference... The higher the ticket prices, the less people that will show up. Eventually, it'll plateau for a while (where it is now), and then a breaking point will occur when a great many people simply stop paying for the tickets because they can no longer afford them. That is when the bubble will burst, and Hollywood will see a string of sever failures that will nearly bankrupt them.

 

Of course, it also doesn't help that technology has made cinema a less viable path to riches than in the past. Perhaps if ticket prices hadn't skyrocketed, this might have been less of an issue.

 

In all honestly, I say good. Often times, bubble bursts are just what industries need to bring them back into check. Hollywood budgets have been going nowhere but up since the start of the industry. They have never plateaued. Even as technology becomes easier and cheaper, budgets still go up with no real correlation to quality or end product. It's not a self-supporting system. Maybe once this bubble bursts, Indie films will be able to finally compete in the marketplace. 

 

This is basic business practice, which tells me that those running the Hollywood studios have no actual business experience - or they are so jaded by their current situations that they cannot see reality as it barrels toward them. the .com companies had an excuse - many were ran by young founders who had no real business experience, and weren't able to accurately apply business practices. Hollywood does not have this problem.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 03 July 2016 - 02:17 PM.

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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 04:18 PM

Hollywood has been in crisis before, especially in the late 1960's, and also in the 1930's, but it's a bit strange to say that the business bubble has never burst in 100 years of Hollywood... and yet that it is not a self-supporting system, most businesses would love to have a century-long "bubble" (until it bursts of course, aka Kodak).

 

You're not incorrect, nothing goes up forever, but you're forgetting past rises and falls. The bubble has burst a couple of times. In the 1960's, production was cut way down, to the point that in the early 1970's, I recall the editor of "Patton" noticing that there was no films in production on the Fox lot while he was working. Columbia Pictures was in such dire straights that they sold most of the rights to "Close Encounters" to some foreign company for cash before the movie opened in the theaters. MGM more or less disappeared for most practical purposes.

 

And you're ignoring inflation -- everything has gone up since the beginning of Hollywood.

 

What tends to happen is that when box office falls, Hollywood makes fewer and fewer but more and more expensive tentpole blockbuster productions and usually a couple of hits is enough to keep the whole system running for awhile but then if the profits drop for long enough, there is a lull and smaller products take up the slack like in the early 1970's. Then the whole cycle starts up again.  Yes, we've been in a blockbuster mentality ever since "Jaws" but there have been periods like in the early 1970's and late 1990's when independent films, foreign films, etc. are popular.  It's just now we are creating a bigger bubble than ever so the next fall will probably be farther than ever (unless non-theatrical systems like streaming, cable, etc. take up the slack.)

 

It's just ironic that you bring up Spielberg since he more or less says the same thing as you do:

http://www.hollywood...ion-film-567604


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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 05:52 PM

I mean I've been saying this for years and I blame digital technology because part of the reasons movies cost so much is thanks to filmmakers playing with technology. Had they just continued the old workflow, the pricing for theatrical wouldn't have changed much thanks to inflation. The average ticket price is $14 right now and in cuz it's it's upwards of $16-$18. This is an unsustainable business model and unfortunately the studios are still making money with it.

After the financial crisis and the push to digital, we lost many of the mom and pop cinemas. The bigger theater chains were bought by multi-national corporations, they were the only ones who could afford the digital upgrades. So now you have a monopolistic system just like theaters prior to the disbanding. The cinemas have input on what they show and how it's promoted. Using gimmicks like 3D and ATMOS/Laser projection, they are making more excuses to charge more money then ever before.

The big theater companies are killing themselves in the long run because they will be the reason why it all falls apart. Studios who don't want to be involved will start distributing online, which will increase piracy 10 fold and at the $50 price tag currently discussed, start the downward spiral. People want to watch the content, they just won't pay the price and it creates a toxic environment. It's not like the old days where going to the cinema was an experience. Today's movies are such junk, today's theaters are such garbage, the whole experience just sucks. People are rude, smelly, loud and frankly very entitled because they paid so much.

So what can we do? Like I've said many times... Theater companies offer tickets for online viewing. Charge the same pricing but allow people to watch in the comfort of their home, no babysitter, no lines, no rude smelly people. Yes piracy will increase but I feel most people will be honest about it if the pricing is reasonable. Then the theaters can turn into beautiful fancy places with huge screens and substantially better projection then anything available at home. Talking about cinerama size reboot 8k or higher projection and roadshow presentations with intermission and such. Screen films like you would theatre shows, make them special events and once in a lifetime experiences. Make theatrical run movies not available to home viewing for years and certainly not in the theatrical cut. Theater chains will survive by providing distribution online and theaters will survive by showing one of a kind first run entertainment.

In my eyes that's the future... But the budgets won't go down. All that will happen with Internet distribution is the addition of more risk from the distributors, brining more indys to more public viewing like Netflix has.
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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 06:00 PM

Of course these massive budgets lead to massive fees for those involved, and so it's unlikely the budgets will ever go down.  The producers and other above the line people leave the project with millions and they could care less if the movie makes ten dollars or  500 million dollars, they are paid out and they are rich.  None of them expect to see any back-end as the accounting dept at the studio will take care of that.  So then it's on to the next one.

 

R,


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#20 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 06:20 PM

"And Disney’s “The BFG” brought in only $6.2 million from 3,357 screens — an abysmal showing for a film that was produced for $140 million, not counting marketing costs."

 

So, we send 60% of the ticket price to the studio and subtract out marketing costs, this gets real ugly, real fast.

 

But hey, everyone that worked on it is laughing all the way to the bank!

 

R,


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