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Industry News


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I wrote back in may about a story by Roger Friedman, talking about how studios are literally bankrupting themselves paying actors stupid amounts of money for no good reason. Today, The Independent writes that the studios have finally had enough.
Studios have taken note of the fact that only three of the 10 highest-grossing films last year - War of the Worlds, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mr and Mrs Smith - were star-driven. The rest of the major hits - such as Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Chronicles of Narnia - had no stellar names, or fat salaries, to speak of.

There are also rumors of high profile productions being shut down.
In recent weeks Believe It or Not, a film to star Jim Carrey and estimated to cost around £120m, was shut down by Paramount and another Carrey film, Used Guys, was rejected by Fox when the budget passed £90m. As the budget of its long-planned American Gangster crept over the £80m mark, Universal shelled out £15m to Denzel Washington to meet its "pay-or-play" contract - meaning the actor gets paid regardless - rather than go ahead with making the film.

Tom Cruise made $100m from War of the Worlds, as if he wasn't already rich enough. To give you an idea of just how stupid that really is, here are some numbers.

War of the Worlds
Budget: $132m
Gross: $591.7m
Profit: $163.8m
Tom Cruise: $100m

Saw+Saw 2
Budget: $5.2m
Gross: $247m
Profit: $118.3m

I've not seen either Saw movies, but it seems a lot of people did. They were zero risk and cost 19 times less to make than Tom Cruise did to play a role almost anyone could have. In other news, Pirates 2 world-wide grosses have surpassed it's budget, but it's still about $94m in debt. The biggest opening ever doesn't appear to me to be much of a money maker for Buena Vista. Might it have something to do with the film having double the cost of the first movie? Perhaps. There's also word of mouth going around that it's just not as good as the first. It'll be interesting to see just how far down it goes. More importantly, one of the most expensive films ever, Superman Returns, is turning into a black eye for Warner Brothers. The 17-day haul is $191m on costs of $260m, making it $164m in debt.
With 3.3 mil on Friday, Warner's Superman Returns was tied with Fox's The Devil Wears Prada. Again, my sources look dead-on: they told me previously that Superman will not make $200 million.

Superman would need to make $520m to break even. Sources - Deadline Hollywood, Independent.
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Jul 16, 2006, 12:51:00 AM
I would prefer that budget is oriented towards more important things, such as a good plot, better dialogue, and donuts.

Many of my favorite movies have relatively unknown actors.


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