Sunday, September 26, 2010

$100 Million?

... before the state-financed sweeteners?

"Legend of the Guardians" ... cost $100 million to make before Australian subsidies brought the tab down to $80 million.

The problem with studios and their budgets? The numbers in the account books are often semi-fake. There's a long history of budget-shifting and multiple sets of books and all the other smoke-screens that our multi-national conglomerates use to hide actual costs. ...

But $100 million could be on the nose. Who, other than studio accountants, can actually tell?

Still in all, Warners was clearly hoping for a more robust first weekend.

... Warner Bros. had been hoping for an opening in the $18 million to $20 million range, said Dan Fellman, the president of domestic distribution at the Time Warner Inc unit. ...

So there will now be a stretch of nail-biting for the folks at Time-Warner as they wait to see what happens with The Guardians' foreign rollout, the second weekend of grosses, the word-of-mouth, etc.


Anonymous said...

While opinions of this film are all over the place, I have a feeling that this one has legs and will build with more of a word of mouth thing, despite not being a big opener. That is if the movie stays in theaters long enough.

If they wanted more Joe Blow's in the seats, maybe they should have played up the Happy Feet/Academy Award connection a little?

Anonymous said...

It was a strange, unmarketable idea from the start, and the audience was puzzled--The books were good sellers, but reading about heroic owls isn't the same as picturing them.

And given the plot, Happy Feet is the last thing they should have tied in with it. (Although it did explain what the heck Zack Snyder was doing in the production, raising the pricetag.)

Anonymous said...

The movie won't stay in theaters because it won't have legs. You know when a film is a surprise hit when it generates crazy buzz on the first weekend. No film, in today's world, generates positive buzz weeks into it's release. This one will barely crack $50 million at the box office.

Anonymous said...

The way I understand gov't subsidies is that it doesn't 'lower' the cost of production or put money back into the studio or anyone else's pockets. It allows additional money to be spent during production - usually in the animation stage. So instead of only getting say 50 mill worth of animation you get 70 mill worth of animation.
Am I not correct in this assumption?

Anonymous said...

You post doesn't make a lick of economic sense.

Anonymous said...

Here's the "word of mouth":


Skip it.

VERY weak writing, poor storytelling, awful design at every turn. There's very little CHARACTER ANIMATION in the film--everything moves exactly the same, with little or no personality at all. BORING. Not at all helped by the fact that you can't tell one owl from the other virtually all of the time. The leaden vocal performances can't help the weak script--and are so monotone as to put an audience to sleep.

Kids in the audience were bored and running in and out of the theater--a lot. Several parents got up and left with their kids halfway through.

And as far as the "budget" goes, add another (conservatively estimated) $30 million for prints and advertising.

Epic fail.

And NOT because (the usual lame excuses) it was "too dark," or "too mature," or "was trying something different," or "Americans aren't ready for it" or "European and Japanese audiences accept this kind of animation more than U.S. audiences.

No. It was just a terrible, TERRIBLE cartoon.

Anonymous said...

The studio spent a HUGE dollar in advertising. I've been seeing tv-spots/promotions of all kinds since the middle of august.

I hate to say it, but this film has very little chance to turning a profit.

Anonymous said...

"You post doesn't make a lick of economic sense."

Welcome to the world of Government subsidies.
It makes perfect sense to me.

I think the point is if they said they spent 80 million on Guardians and the government gave them an additional 20 million then they could say they have a 100 million dollar animated film that they only spent 80 miilion on.
Whether they want to include the government money in their "how much it cost" I guess is up to them, bujt I can't imagine anyone doing that.
The way it doesn't work is if the spent 100 million in that country the government doesn't say "thank you, here's 20 million back"

Justin said...

"Who, other than studio accountants, can actually tell?"

I actually don't believe that even studio accountants could tell.

Anonymous said...

Basically, the way I understand it is, governments tell you that if you come over and spend X amount of money in their country they will then funnel Y amount of money into your production - to be used in the production in their country. The money does not leave their country but is used to give more work/money to their citizens.

Anonymous said...

No one here has a clue how this stuff actually works. These subsidies rarely provide any significant jobs, especially high end ones, to the locals. I've been flown all over the globe for jobs that that made possible by gullible governments and their subsidies. I take my money and return to LA to spend it.

Anonymous said...

The way it doesn't work is if they spent 100 million in that country the government doesn't say "thank you, here's 20 million back"

Actually, that's just the way it does work. Read this.

Anonymous said...

That might be how they work in NZ, but that isn't how they work in Canada.

No wonder they're having trouble. Canada's been very successful with making it work the other way. As subsidies and not rebates.

pappy d said...

Even California does it. I'm sure the producers sell all these governments on what great exposure it will be for the state/city. It's such a great opportunity to get their work out there where it will be seen.

Anonymous said...

I believe you have it backwards. The cities, states, countries don't care about the exposure. They want the income. They are willing to make a deal to lure the films and productions to come their city, state, country so that they will spend all types of money there filming. Lots of locals are often employed (usually a prerequisite) and lots of money flows into local businesses, etc.
Often the cities and locals are disguised to appear to be somewhere else (ie: Vancouver becomes upstate NY, etc) so the exposure is rarely relevant. Lots of TV shows are filmed in Canada or BC just for this reason. New Mexico has also made themselves very attractive to filmmakers. Have you noticed how many new shows are suddenly based there? Breaking Bad, In Plain Sight...

Anonymous said...

California does it? Since when?

And to the last poster, check the wide variety of studies that show that the cities, states, and countries are getting a horrific return on their investment. Here's a few of those studies.

Anonymous said...

That's why most of these tax agreements are now being rescinded.

pappy d said...

I'm sorry for the confusion. I was being facetious.

"Free exposure" is something 'producers' use in place of money when they're trying to get animators to work for free. It works the same way, except no one has thought of charging you money for the privilege of working...yet.

Yes, cash-strapped California is part of the bidding war, too!

It's true that it sounds like a bad investment for anybody but the studios, but we do want to stay in competition, right (facetious?)? I'm not familiar with the arguments, but it sounds like a rip-off for taxpayers around the world, too.

For any animators who posess this kind of competitive spirit & still live in your parents' basement:

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