La crisi economica vista da Hollywood. I film miliardari vengono fermati. Anche Johnny Depp rimane a casa.

Pubblicato: 17 agosto 2011 in cinema
Tag:, , , , , , , , ,

Is Hollywood Getting Fiscally Responsible Or Losing Its Nerve? Forbes reported

News came down this weekend that Disney has halted production on its big-budget adaptation of The Lone Ranger. The film was set to star Johnny Depp as Tonto with Jerry Bruckheimer producing and Gore Verbinksi (who helmed the first three Pirate of the Caribbean movies) directing.

A beloved property, Hollywood’s biggest star and two behind-the-scenes behemoths, it seemed like a Hollywood sure thing.

But the budget on The Lone Ranger had reportedly ballooned way past the $200 million mark. That’s a lot to spend on a Western. Because the genre is so specifically American, there’s a good chance the film would struggle overseas and the international market has become more important than ever. Just look at the recent western True Grit. The film was a giant hit over here earning $170 million on an estimated budget of $38 million. But it only earned $80 million overseas, 32% of its gobal take. Compare that to the most recent Depp/Bruckheimer film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides which earned 77% of its $1 billion box office overseas.

Also consider the recent performance of the western/sci-fi mashup Cowboys & Aliens. The highly-anticipated film has grossed a mere $80 million in the U.S. so far on a budget of $163 million. It has yet to open wide overseas but it’s highly unlikely it will preform will enough abroad to turn the film into a big hit.

So from a purely dollar and cents point of view, it makes sense that Disney would want to rethink The Lone Ranger and its budget. A source says the film is still high priority within the studio and that the parties are getting together to figure out the next steps. But Disney is a big public company ($63 billion market cap) with millions of shareholders who want to see the film division return healthy profits. The studio needs to consider the value of every penny it spends.

Disney isn’t the only studio that has had second thoughts about what it spends on movies. Universal recently shut down an ambition project to turn Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series into three movies and two TV series.  Last year Sony pulled back the baseball movie Moneyball over budget concerns eventually slimming it down to a $47 million project despite the presence of Brad Pitt who can easily add $20 million to a film’s budget. (The actor reportedly took a pay cut to to play the role of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. The film hits theaters in September.) Like westerns, baseball movies have a limited life overseas where the sport isn’t popular so it makes sense to keep the budget on a movie like Moneyball as low as possible.

But while movie studios need to turn profits, they are not just accounting divisions of bigger companies, they are creative divisions. That means that they have to take risks.

Forbes reported

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