Thursday, July 9, 2009
Bits & Pieces: Why The Studio System only fails BIG.
If you made a good film for 100-150k (we know its possible, we have SEVERAL examples) and give it moderate advertising for a modest limited release, say 5 to 10 major cities, then, based on statistics from IMDb, THR, Variety and indieWire you're most likely going to make your money back, including distribution costs, which vary.
If you make a film for over 10 million, say "The Ugly Truth" or "The Accidental Husband" and others of that nature, and you only make 5 million in wide release, then yes, you have failed. And because your cost is so darn high, you fail BIG. (we are not including DVD and Cable distribution) The lower your production cost (quality contingent) the better your chances for high profit on a wide release.
Most studios don't make films for under 10 million.
The reason I bring this up is because just recently, as in TODAY, the studio film "Moneyball", starring Brad Pitt, was re-greenlit. It was previously shelved just a day before principal photography began. THR is reporting that the studio hopes to recoup the 10 to 14 million they have already spent. What can we gather from this? Only one thing; Moneyball's preproduction costs were at least 10 million dollars. This is certainly not the FIRST time that's happened. And this is not to knock the film, which I'm sure will be decent now that Aaron Sorkin is writing the script. This question is for all of us who have worked in production: What do you think could cost so much before shooting?