A filmmaker of the modern era, James Cameron, who has made some of the best science fiction films: Titanic, Aliens and The Terminator, is responsible for making Titanic the most successful film of all time. It has supposedly raked in nearly $2 billion worldwide. To his credit, he is now also known for the film with the biggest budget ever.
Most Expensive Movie
This Canadian-born director enthralled filmgoers across the world with his $500 million years-in-the-making sci-fi epic, “Avatar.” You don’t agree with this figure?
Determining the final cost of the film is a trick in itself. As you would have seen, there have been wildly different reports published, ranging from $230 million to nearly $500 million. But recent estimates put the final costs at about $310 million – only that of production, excluding marketing and other costs.
Was Avatar worth it?
Critics say that hundreds of millions of dollars is too much to spend on a film with a bunch of blue aliens. They find it over-priced and feel that money could have been spent much better elsewhere. But then Hollywood is not known for it’s economizing, it’s known for its excess. Wonder how the production cost of a film affects your enjoyment of it? It is to James Cameron’s credit, that viewers were completely taken in by the movie and all thoughts of the price tag vanished after the credits rolled.
Cameron’s 3-D science fiction film, “Avatar,” was distributed by 20th Century Fox. James Gianopulos, CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment said, “It is the most expensive film we’ve made, but now, having the luxury of hindsight, it is money well spent, so I’m not concerned about it.”
Fox is happy, as “Avatar” grossed $601.1 million in just 47 days, and it took 252 days for Titanic to cross the $600 million mark. The total estimated worldwide gross for Avatar is over $2.782 billion.
If the projected numbers are right, “Avatar’s” budget exceeded that of the most expensive movie ever made, and that crown was held by “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with an estimated budget of $300 million. But this is nothing new for Fox, as it has been here with Cameron with “Titanic” (1997), his previous feature, with an estimated $200 million. That investment paid off big time when the film bagged nearly $2 billion worldwide, along with a clutch of awards including the Oscar for the best director going to Cameron himself.
Generally, whenever there is talk about a movie budget, the talk usually involves the production costs, which includes the cost of building the sets, special effects, hiring actors, and this includes their diet needs too. The marketing costs are not taken into consideration.
So, if you read about the Pirates of the Caribbean movie costing $300 million, they are not talking about the cost of advertising Johnny Depp’s face on all the billboards in town. Where Avatar is concerned, it is a known fact that the production costs have been shared with other investors: Ingenious Film Partners and Dune Capital Management. The News Corporation has also carried a smaller share of the production cost. This is done to hedge the risk. The filmmakers were also at an advantage due to the tax credit they received in New Zealand, where they shot about a third of the film. So, they got to save $30 million here.
The marketing budget is again taken care of by Fox, and this tally’s up to about $150 million. We’re not including this in the cost of the film. How does one account for the 3D cameras and the motion capture tools used by the director to create the amazing world of Avatar? Most of these expenses are also not included in the $310 million. The price tag would certainly be higher if Cameron’s financial contribution and others were included. Along with the global marketing expenses, “Avatar” may have very well have costed the $500 million, as many reports stated.
But from the movie industry’s perspective, “Avatar” is the most expensive movie ever made in more ways than one. They say that the film’s ability to motivate cinema owners to change to 3D screens and ushering in a new era of mass 3D-movie watching; is of exceptional value. Rumors go that Cameron has already sketched out the storylines for two more Avatar films. Well, going by his track record, it’s hard not to think BIG!