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March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget" 
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Gaffer

Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:11 pm
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
As interesting as your article is, James, I doubt "The Dark Knight Rises" will have as an impressive domestic tally that "Avatar" raked up (with 3D and IMAX surcharges helping, I might add). Now, if it's even better received than "The Dark Knight" then it could easily pass $600M domestic. $750M is a bit of pipe dream at this point, but a lot of smaller movies have overperformed at this point (The Vow, Safe House, Lorax) -- so you never really know.

I do think that studios should focus more on acquiring good scripts and making them at a reasonable budget. And I'm not saying every film should be done akin to a "found footage" film, but done at a reasonable price. Hollywood is slowly realizing this, but they're doing all the low-budget films like this. Do good, traditionally shot films for $20M-$40M and rake in the money that way. And for big-budget tentpoles, get a good script ready before doing pre-vis and storyboarding and have enough time to finish the film on time and on budget. Things like that, plus reshoots and overspending are what doomed films like "Green Lantern" and "John Carter."


Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:39 pm
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
MPC wrote:
I do think that studios should focus more on acquiring good scripts and making them at a reasonable budget. And I'm not saying every film should be done akin to a "found footage" film, but done at a reasonable price. Hollywood is slowly realizing this, but they're doing all the low-budget films like this. Do good, traditionally shot films for $20M-$40M and rake in the money that way. And for big-budget tentpoles, get a good script ready before doing pre-vis and storyboarding and have enough time to finish the film on time and on budget. Things like that, plus reshoots and overspending are what doomed films like "Green Lantern" and "John Carter."


As far as acquiring good screenplays, there is a "Black List" of works that are considered very good scripts in the industry that studios are seeking out talented people behind the camera to film with modest budgets.


Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:06 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:45 am
Posts: 15
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
I agree that box office grosses have nothing to do with the quality of the movie.

Firedrake wrote:
The answer, I think, is "Hollywood gives a crap".


Well said. The numbers are interesting to look at, because unfortunately, that is how studios might decide whether or not to greenlight certain types of projects, or genres.

On a personal level, knowing what movies are popular might make one want to give them a try, just to join in the conversation at the water cooler. The sports analogy is also a good one. It's sometimes fun to cheer for certain movies.

This is probably less important for movies, than say, ratings for television series, where the numbers are crucial in determining whether shows would be renewed for another season.


Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:45 pm
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Gaffer

Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:17 am
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
Unfortunately, much like in movies, a TV show's ratings rarely if ever corresponds to quality. That's why shows like Firefly get cancelled and Jersey Shore survives.

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Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:44 pm
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
MinnJD wrote:
Unfortunately, much like in movies, a TV show's ratings rarely if ever corresponds to quality. That's why shows like Firefly get cancelled and Jersey Shore survives.

Firefly would've gotten better ratings if FOX hadn't done such a terrible job of scheduling and advertising it, and you can't really compare the two shows. as cable channels like MTV have a much lower ratings threshold then major network channels do, 1-2 million viewers is acceptable by most cable channel standards but a total disaster on a major network.


Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:28 pm
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:49 pm
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
Vexer wrote:
MinnJD wrote:
Unfortunately, much like in movies, a TV show's ratings rarely if ever corresponds to quality. That's why shows like Firefly get cancelled and Jersey Shore survives.

Firefly would've gotten better ratings if FOX hadn't done such a terrible job of scheduling and advertising it, and you can't really compare the two shows. as cable channels like MTV have a much lower ratings threshold then major network channels do, 1-2 million viewers is acceptable by most cable channel standards but a total disaster on a major network.


Also, "reality shows" like Jersey Shore can usually be made on a really small budget compared to action shows like NCIS or even traditional sit-coms like The Big Bang Theory, so even on major networks, the ratings bar for renewal is lower for them.


Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:54 pm
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Gaffer

Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:17 am
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
I completely agree that Firefly could've gotten much better ratings, but it didn't..........*sniff*

And I agree that production budget factors into renewal 'cost'. The whole point of my original post was that ratings have nothing to do with quality (just like box office rarely has anything to do with quality).

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Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:13 pm
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Gaffer
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
I do it to quiet detractors or bring trumpeters back down to earth. I am a big fan of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek 2009, and all the way up to the premiere of the movie, there was this one guy who did nothing but bad mouth the movie (I was hopeful that it would be good), and talk about how happy he'd be to see it fall on it's face, that no one would see this movie. I won't lie, I enjoyed every second that I held up the paper to him and showed him the weekend numbers. He was more than a little upset, but then he said "that's all it's got. Now that everyone's seen it and knows how bad it is, no one else will see it". Of course, the movie made tons of money (especially for a Star Trek movie), and became the highest grossing Star Trek movie to date. Does that mean it was a great movie? No, but it does mean that people went and saw it, and that it was popular. The numbers helped me confirm that. So the box office numbers can be helpful.

Oh, and postscript, he's still convinced no one likes the movie and they all just say they do. We Trekkies are a weird and angry bunch.

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:56 am
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
J.W. Allen wrote:
Oh, and postscript, he's still convinced no one likes the movie and they all just say they do.

You can say this much for him: he effectively ended the argument.

Not that the issue is resolved, but once an argument gets to that point, it simply can't go any further.


Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:16 am
Gaffer
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
You make a good point, but god help me if I ever find myself that delusional and close minded!

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:09 am
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
J.W. Allen wrote:
You make a good point, but god help me if I ever find myself that delusional and close minded!

Same here! I also hope that I never become as picky and narrow-minded as most movie critics seem to be nowadays.


Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:21 am
Gaffer
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:44 pm
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
If you really want to rubberneck at a car wreck take a look at this site:
http://boxofficemojo.com/people/?view=D ... SC&&p=.htm
It lists stated grosses by Director and can be sorted by actor, producer etc. It isn’t adjusted for inflation either so there is that but it is still pretty disheartening for me to see Michael Bay at number 4.

I saw announcements of Hunger Games doing a $155 million weekends early as 9:30 AM PDT Sunday when the total take obviously couldn’t be the actual number. Lionsgate is banking on this picture to get their stock to double again and I’m sure some bandwagon marketing is involved in the domestic gross being blasted around the country before the opening weekend is even complete. A single movie has a much greater effect on an “independent” distributor than the few pennies Disney’s stock fell on the announcement of the John Carter loss. One number they are not broadcasting quite so much is the take outside the US for Hunger Games was not that much more than John Carter’s opening.

The bottom line does matter though even if we would prefer that not to be the case. I think the studios themselves are to blame for both the trumpeting of the gross and the cost of production numbers, though both can often be suspect. I rarely believe anyone’s marketing bullshit especially when they are rolling that bullshit into their production cost. Like it or not though if a director consistently gets a good return on investment he gets projects. If a colossal loss happens then they might find it hard to get work. Ditto to the smaller houses. If they have a blockbuster they theoretically can plow more into upcoming projects. I will use Lionsgate yet again as they are fresh on my mind with the business side of the art.

They recently bought Summit Entertainment and subsequently the rights to all things Twilight and Ender’s Game which is currently in principal photography. Science Fiction flicks typically require a bigger production budget and honestly I thought they fell a little short on the effects in The Hunger Games. Some of this shortfall is probably related to the handheld “documentary” feel they were going for but CGI Mutts are only shown in the dark and in quick edits. The flaming costumes were pretty cheesy and the matte paintings were pretty obvious.

Granted Lionsgate hasn’t done much in the big budget arena and it isn’t necessary to create most good films but when you are attempting to shoot the highest rated SF book to date in Ender’s Game then you had better be able to deliver quality. Anything less is going to be a disaster for the “art” and the “business”.


Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:14 pm
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
J.W. Allen wrote:
I do it to quiet detractors or bring trumpeters back down to earth. I am a big fan of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek 2009, and all the way up to the premiere of the movie, there was this one guy who did nothing but bad mouth the movie (I was hopeful that it would be good), and talk about how happy he'd be to see it fall on it's face, that no one would see this movie. I won't lie, I enjoyed every second that I held up the paper to him and showed him the weekend numbers. He was more than a little upset, but then he said "that's all it's got. Now that everyone's seen it and knows how bad it is, no one else will see it". Of course, the movie made tons of money (especially for a Star Trek movie), and became the highest grossing Star Trek movie to date. Does that mean it was a great movie? No, but it does mean that people went and saw it, and that it was popular. The numbers helped me confirm that. So the box office numbers can be helpful.

Oh, and postscript, he's still convinced no one likes the movie and they all just say they do. We Trekkies are a weird and angry bunch.


It's the best Star Trek movie there is. Deadly serious. I used to like the first two the most but this one just blew it out of the water!


Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:34 pm
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
I always get a kick out of the idiots on IMDB that act like armchair box office analysts and try to tell everybody how terrible a movie is because of the box office. Or try to tell everyone how much it needs to sell in tickets to break even. They will do this on all movies and will argue back and forth with one another for days about. I cannot understand how they can put so much time and enrgy into such a worthless endeavor. WHo cares? unless you are on the board or are a big stock holder who gives two shits about it. you either like a movie or you dont.

Of course, IMDB has become of cesspool of idiotic trolls. I have had an account on there since 2002 and back then you could have a real discussion about film. Not anymore.


Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:18 am
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
jaminator wrote:
I always get a kick out of the idiots on IMDB that act like armchair box office analysts and try to tell everybody how terrible a movie is because of the box office. Or try to tell everyone how much it needs to sell in tickets to break even. They will do this on all movies and will argue back and forth with one another for days about. I cannot understand how they can put so much time and enrgy into such a worthless endeavor. WHo cares? unless you are on the board or are a big stock holder who gives two shits about it. you either like a movie or you dont.

Of course, IMDB has become of cesspool of idiotic trolls. I have had an account on there since 2002 and back then you could have a real discussion about film. Not anymore.


Depends really. I was thoroughly disappointed that they didn't film the remaining two stories in His Dark Materials. Ever since then, if something I give a shit about comes to the screen unfinished, the various figures is the first place I look. In the case of GWTDT, I was hoping it'd be a box office disaster. Somehow... it wasn't, or at least it doesn't look like it to me anyway.


Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:16 pm
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
i hear you. but thats not obsessing over it for days and days and just being a general idiot. you have a point for wondering about its success. FOr some thought its just another way to troll the fans.

GWTDT is actually a very good movie btw. I like both versions about the same TBH.


Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:34 pm
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
Dragonbeard wrote:
It's the best Star Trek movie there is. Deadly serious. I used to like the first two the most but this one just blew it out of the water!
Hm. It has a moment here and there when it stacks up to Wrath of Khan and The Voyage home, but taken as a whole, it isn't nearly as good. And the visual style of the film is just garbled.

That said, the opening sequence is one of the finest scenes I've ever seen in Star Trek.


Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:09 pm
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
Ken wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
It's the best Star Trek movie there is. Deadly serious. I used to like the first two the most but this one just blew it out of the water!
Hm. It has a moment here and there when it stacks up to Wrath of Khan and The Voyage home, but taken as a whole, it isn't nearly as good. And the visual style of the film is just garbled.

That said, the opening sequence is one of the finest scenes I've ever seen in Star Trek.


Not a fan of lens flares? :P

The over use of shakey cam was my biggest complaint :(


Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:32 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:17 am
Posts: 36
Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
I thought it was too consciously going for that 'retro cool' production design.

Still a great movie though. And I don't think it was ridiculously expensive to make either.

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Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:11 am
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Post Re: March 22, 2012: "Reviewing the Budget"
MinnJD wrote:
I thought it was too consciously going for that 'retro cool' production design.

Still a great movie though. And I don't think it was ridiculously expensive to make either.


Not sure I follow... I feel if anything, this new ST was given a boost of 'actual cool' to make sure that it wouldn't scare away the 'non geek' crowd (setting part of it on Earth, making sure to use hip dialogue etc).

Unless that's what you mean and I've just misunderstood the meaning of your terminology :P


Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:41 pm
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