Monday 16 April 2007

How to inflate a Budget

Those wondering why Hollywood films have such big budgets should check out yesterday's LA Times article. Using the failed action film, Sahara (2004), as an example, it lays bear the death-of-a-thousand-cuts spending that can bloat a film budget unduly. The documents were leaked as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by Clive Cussler, the writer of the novel on which the film is based.

Here's a cost of particular interest:

* Ten screenwriters were paid $3.8 million in fees and bonuses - highlighting the increasingly common practice of hiring and firing numerous writers on big-budget features. David S. Ward, who won an Academy Award for "The Sting," received $500,000. ...

Unlike most financial failures, "Sahara" performed reasonably well, ranking No. 1 after its opening weekend and generating $122 million in gross box-office sales. But the movie was saddled with exorbitant costs, including a $160-million production and $81.1 million in distribution expenses.
It makes the average European film budget look miniscule.

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