Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Stuff...

The director of Constantine (oh, joy) is the latest in a long line of filmmakers hoping to put a third version of Richard Matheson's seminal sci-fi vampire novel I Am Legend on the screen, following Vincent Price's Last Man on Earth and Chuck Heston's Omega Man. Constantine star Keanu Reeves would be an interesting choice for the lead part, because when I talk about him to people, I often use the phrase, "Yeah, if he were the last guy on earth!"


Speaking of, hearts nationwide were no doubt shattered when Reeves issued in a statement to Sci Fi Wire his refusal to star in any sequel of Constantine. (I’m sure that was on the sequel list, right after Chain Reaction 2. Actually, if there ever is such a thing, it will probably be a barely related DTV movie starring Casper Van Dien or somebody.)


Weekly Variety has a good cover story on the gruesome financial realities of the modern big budget movie, especially with the explosive growth of DVD sales finally stalling a bit (as had to happen at some point). Here’s the key part:

“Say a studio spends $200 million on a film and another $100 million on marketing. Assume the film grosses $400 million at the global box office, (with half of that returned to the studio), $100 million net for homevideo and $100 million for worldwide TV.

“Allowing $100 million for first dollar gross—virtually every $200 million dollar movies has at least one first-dollar player—the studio is at breakeven.

“The problem comes if the film doesn’t hit those figures. Last year, eight pics grossed more than $400 million worldwide. This year, only four so far have reached that benchmark.”

Of course, there are some huge movies still to come. King Kong, Chronicles of Narnia (if it’s done right), the next Harry Potter movie. Still, this sort of trend is ominous. Meanwhile, they report that director Bryan Singer has acknowledged that the budget of Superman Returns is “hovering near $250 million.” (!!!)

It would be nice to assume that the effect of this is that studios will be more careful about those projects they fund with those sorts of budgets, and that less mega-expensive stupid movies (Stealth, The Island). I doubt it though. (Indeed, page 9 features the lead story of the Film section: “MORE BUCKS FOR F/X BANGS—Studio’s continuing appetite for CGI shots leads to bigger-budgeted films.”)


In a quite interesting development, Sony (the new owners of MGM, and thus the James Bond series) are mulling doing a stripped down, more realistic—and hence cheaper—Bond centering on his early days, sort of like Batman Begins. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but you could make a pretty great movie in that direction.

8 Comments:

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous John Bohlke said...

I thought one of the nice things about CGI was that it made certain effects cheaper to put on film. If it's more expensive, why not do it the old fashion way?

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

While CGI is getting cheaper on a per-shot basis, movies are loading up on them more and more. I Robot had well over a 1,000 separate CGI effects.

But yes, eventually I imagine the effects will be so cheap that guys in their garage truly will be able to compete with Hollywood, sending their movies over the Internet to folks with then-ubiquitous huge flatscreen TVs.

 
At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Mr. Blue said...

I like the idea of a new style of James Bond film, as long as they don't try to do a copy of 'The Bourne Identity".

What they should do is make it a period film, say, 1958-1963. Also, it would be cool if they went back to the "Dr. No- Goldfinger" production design.

 
At 9:03 PM, Anonymous tam1MI said...

In a quite interesting development, Sony (the new owners of MGM, and thus the James Bond series) are mulling doing a stripped down, more realistic—and hence cheaper—Bond centering on his early days, sort of like Batman Begins. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but you could make a pretty great movie in that direction.

And now that you've got me thinking in that direction, Christian Bale would make an AWESOME "young James Bond".

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

I don't know if studios will move toward lower, more wisely spent budgets as a means of making films. The first low budget film that makes money will simply be duplicated, in more and more expensive ways. They'll give Keanu Reeves $20 million to star in a film just like it.

I just don't think the studio heads are creative enough to spend the money wisely. Their solution to every problem is, "Let's throw more money at it!"

 
At 5:39 AM, Blogger Zack Handlen said...

I quite liked Constantine, actually.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, technically you could compete with Hollywood out of your garage RIGHT NOW with the right software (though "cheap" isn't the right word). It's less a question of expense and more of time, effort and artistry. Of course, that's ture of non-CGI effects, too.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

Good point, anonymous. Robert Rodriguez makes great-looking films in his garage, for peanuts.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home