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  #1  
Old 02-16-2017, 02:47 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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What could a billion-dollar budget do for a movie?

It appears that the most expensive movies ever made were in the $300 million+ budget range.

For fun's sake - in 2017 dollars - what could a billion-dollar budget do for a movie, and at what point does the budget hit the point of no-additional-return-on-investment?

ISTM that there are really only three areas such a budget could be spent on:


1) Hiring more extras instead of using CGI people in the background, paying all of your staff and cast more - essentially, human-resources spending.

2) Going all-out on special effects. One can also do more expensive filming - for instance, actual filming at certain sites rather than using stock footage, etc. Maybe rent or reserve entire locales for filming.

3) Going all-out on marketing, promotion and advertising. One can buy up a lot more TV ad space, put more promo banners everywhere, etc.
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2017, 02:53 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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If you've spent a billion dollars on a movie production, I think you would need very little in terms of advertising and promotion, since many people will want to see it just to see what all that money bought you.
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  #3  
Old 02-16-2017, 02:56 PM
Sir T-Cups Sir T-Cups is online now
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Make one GIANT movie into 2 movies

I know that it's not really happening, but essentially that's what you can do with it.
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  #4  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:00 PM
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
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It could make the greatest movie of all time: John Wick 3.
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:25 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is online now
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Real dinosaurs.
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:36 PM
drewder drewder is offline
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A very rich set of producers.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:41 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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You could truly have an ALL STAR CAST, provided you were willing to deal with egos. In fact, as I typed that, it occurred to me that no amount of money could compensate for having to deal with who gets what billing, who gets what trailer, who gets all green M&M in the dressing room.

So I'd have to go with locations and special effects, and maybe a famous orchestra to play the soundtrack.
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:42 PM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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More top-notch dead actors in starring roles. Including the voices.

Also along those lines, digital recasting. Buy the rights to a film with one or more generally recognized "bad" casting choices (or just ones you, personally, didn't like—you're the one writing the checks), and painstakingly remove and replace the character with someone you like better.

Or, back along the effects line, pay Kim Jong-Un to let you film an actual nuclear detonation for a battle scene.
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2017, 04:33 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Bankrupt two studios, maybe more.

Lose more money than has ever been lost before.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2017, 04:50 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Serious answer - do my idea.

Five movies, all interlinked.

Take an idea like, say, Independence Day. But don't do just one movie. That's trying to cram too much. An event of that magnitude would have a million stories.

So, make 5 movies in five styles. Action, romance, comedy, drama.

One is the straight-up actioner telling the main story - ID4, for example
One is a personal drama of one family dealing with the alien attack on a local level - Signs would be the model, or maybe War of the Worlds
One is a "close in" movie about two lost lovers rekindling their romance while the war rages - modeled after Casablanca
One is a special mission, focusing on a small group - like Guns of Navarone
And the last is a broad comedy - think Airplane! level of humor.

Each movie MUST have all the main characters from the other four appear in it at some point, and the scenes must organically flow. And those scenes must be in BOTH movies, unaltered (though you can change perspective and camera angles). So a lead actor in one movie becomes a walk-on part in the others.

Like, the special forces guys in Guns of Navarone stop in Rick's Cafe, they are seen in the background of troops at the end of ID4, etc. Rick and Ilsa are watching the war on TV, and you can see the President on TV. Things like that.

The hardest part would be integrating the serious movies with the Airplane! movie, but with clever writing, that could be fun. In the Airplane! movie, the dialog is gut-bustingly funny, but in the serious movie, the dialog is exactly the same but isn't funny. It's all context. Or you lampshade it. In the serious movie, after the Airplane! actors exit, the other movie characters say "what the heck was that about?"

I've been rolling this idea around since ID4 came out. I think it would be great, but you need a lot of resources. You have to film five movies at the same time, and balance all those actors going from one to another. Do your prima donna stars demand payment for EACH movie? A lot of details would need to be ironed out.

But I think the result would be awesome!

PS for a novelty - make one of the movies animated....

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 02-16-2017 at 04:53 PM..
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  #11  
Old 02-16-2017, 04:50 PM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Accounting irregularities.

ACCOUNTING IRREGULARITIES FOR ALL!
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  #12  
Old 02-16-2017, 04:57 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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A 16-hour Titanic?
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  #13  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:32 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
Serious answer - do my idea.

Five movies, all interlinked.

Take an idea like, say, Independence Day. But don't do just one movie. That's trying to cram too much. An event of that magnitude would have a million stories.

So, make 5 movies in five styles. Action, romance, comedy, drama.

One is the straight-up actioner telling the main story - ID4, for example
One is a personal drama of one family dealing with the alien attack on a local level - Signs would be the model, or maybe War of the Worlds
One is a "close in" movie about two lost lovers rekindling their romance while the war rages - modeled after Casablanca
One is a special mission, focusing on a small group - like Guns of Navarone
And the last is a broad comedy - think Airplane! level of humor.

Each movie MUST have all the main characters from the other four appear in it at some point, and the scenes must organically flow. And those scenes must be in BOTH movies, unaltered (though you can change perspective and camera angles). So a lead actor in one movie becomes a walk-on part in the others.

Like, the special forces guys in Guns of Navarone stop in Rick's Cafe, they are seen in the background of troops at the end of ID4, etc. Rick and Ilsa are watching the war on TV, and you can see the President on TV. Things like that.

The hardest part would be integrating the serious movies with the Airplane! movie, but with clever writing, that could be fun. In the Airplane! movie, the dialog is gut-bustingly funny, but in the serious movie, the dialog is exactly the same but isn't funny. It's all context. Or you lampshade it. In the serious movie, after the Airplane! actors exit, the other movie characters say "what the heck was that about?"

I've been rolling this idea around since ID4 came out. I think it would be great, but you need a lot of resources. You have to film five movies at the same time, and balance all those actors going from one to another. Do your prima donna stars demand payment for EACH movie? A lot of details would need to be ironed out.

But I think the result would be awesome!

PS for a novelty - make one of the movies animated....
I like this idea. Oh, and use some of the money to have MST3K do every single one.

Last edited by Dendarii Dame; 02-16-2017 at 05:33 PM..
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  #14  
Old 02-16-2017, 06:18 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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I don't think it'd be too hard to fit in the farce. See, it's an all-out war, and the military can't afford to turn away anyone... but some folks are just such horrendous screw-ups that there's nothing productive you can do with them. So you take one ship (infantry unit, whatever), and pack it full of all of the incompetents, and do everything you can to keep them away from wherever the action is, so they can't screw everything up. But they somehow just keep blundering into the wrong place at the wrong time. At the climactic battle, the enemy have figured out about the screw-ups ship, and target their offensive at some critical point where their ship is the only one in range to respond. The screw-ups do their best, and through a series of zany mishaps, manage to stall the enemy long enough for the real fighting forces to arrive. In the farce movie, this is played as dark comedy, like the end of Dr. Strangelove, with a fade to black as they all die while singing "Always Look on the Sunny Side of Life", but in the serious movie, they're treated as heroes, with the fact that they were screw-ups being glossed over for propaganda purposes.
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  #15  
Old 02-16-2017, 06:37 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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You could make 2 Blood Oceans.

Or 1 Blood Ocean and half a billion in cocaine.
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  #16  
Old 02-16-2017, 07:14 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I don't think it'd be too hard to fit in the farce. See, it's an all-out war, and the military can't afford to turn away anyone... but some folks are just such horrendous screw-ups that there's nothing productive you can do with them. So you take one ship (infantry unit, whatever), and pack it full of all of the incompetents, and do everything you can to keep them away from wherever the action is, so they can't screw everything up. But they somehow just keep blundering into the wrong place at the wrong time. At the climactic battle, the enemy have figured out about the screw-ups ship, and target their offensive at some critical point where their ship is the only one in range to respond. The screw-ups do their best, and through a series of zany mishaps, manage to stall the enemy long enough for the real fighting forces to arrive. In the farce movie, this is played as dark comedy, like the end of Dr. Strangelove, with a fade to black as they all die while singing "Always Look on the Sunny Side of Life", but in the serious movie, they're treated as heroes, with the fact that they were screw-ups being glossed over for propaganda purposes.
Nice!

It fits! It SINGS!
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  #17  
Old 02-16-2017, 10:03 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
A 16-hour Titanic?
Or a Hindenburg movie with full size replica of the LZ 129 that really flies.

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Real dinosaurs.
Now that's pushing it.
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  #18  
Old 02-16-2017, 10:43 PM
Eddie The Horrible Eddie The Horrible is offline
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What could a billion-dollar budget do for a movie?

This, easy: and with Robert Loggia!
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  #19  
Old 02-16-2017, 11:06 PM
astro astro is offline
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Same thing that usually happens when you dump an excessive load of cash on systems, people and situations that are not equipped to need or use that torrent of cash efficiently. It will be squandered.

Is one billion dollars vs 100 million dollars going to buy you a better script?
Better acting? A better director? A better story? A more entertaining film? It might get you some better quality special effects but they are not going to carry a film.
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  #20  
Old 02-16-2017, 11:06 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Heaven's Gate II, accounting for inflation?
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  #21  
Old 02-16-2017, 11:24 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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If $500 million won't buy you the movie you want, then dumping another $500 million on the pile and lighting it on fire isn't going to help any.
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  #22  
Old 02-16-2017, 11:26 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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If $500 million won't buy you the movie you want, then dumping another $500 million on the pile and lighting it on fire isn't going to help any.
Putting it up the nose of all the cast and crew might.
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  #23  
Old 02-17-2017, 01:17 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I would go for a remake of Gone With the Wind with no CGI. Go all out but make it 6 hours long this time instead of 4. Instead of screening 10,000 actresses to find your Scarlet O'Hara, make it 30,000.

The battle references need to be more comprehensive and realistic as well. You are going to have to recreate Gettysburg, Antietam and Shiloh among many others in perfect period detail with tens of thousands of extras even if their contributions are brief.

Buy up a bunch of property in Atlanta, recreate it in period form and then burn it down. Hell, you could recreate large parts of Sherman's march before that by buying up historical properties and then destroying them on screen with tons of gratuitous rape and pillaging thrown in for shock value.

The ending could be a Lady Gaga style musical production as performed by Scarlet O'Hara.

That is a moneymaker if I ever saw one.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 02-17-2017 at 01:19 AM..
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  #24  
Old 02-17-2017, 05:18 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Make Airworld, Fireworld and Earthworld.
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  #25  
Old 02-17-2017, 06:47 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is online now
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It could get it a lot of naming rights. "The Godfather Part 7 Super Bowl".
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  #26  
Old 02-17-2017, 06:59 AM
campp campp is offline
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Film a real life Metalocalypse story arc.

Last edited by campp; 02-17-2017 at 06:59 AM..
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  #27  
Old 02-17-2017, 07:51 AM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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You can't spend a billion dollars on a movie. There's no movie you could make that would cost you one billion dollars, unless you cheat by paying everyone on the set twenty times their real salary or, deliberately make an entire movie, throw it away, and then make another, etc. If you apply reasonable Brewster's Million rules - you can't give the money away or pay more for something than its true cost - you will have your movie made long before you spend a billion dollars.
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  #28  
Old 02-17-2017, 08:52 AM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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Only 28 films have made more than a billion dollars, and that's combining domestic and international. I can't see a film studio budgeting that on a regular basis. Plus, it proves you don't have to have a billion dollar budget to gross a billion dollars.
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  #29  
Old 02-17-2017, 09:09 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Y'know, it occurs to me that JAQ's idea is awfully close to what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is doing: Make a whole bunch of movies, mostly separate but interconnected, with a bunch of different styles and themes.
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  #30  
Old 02-17-2017, 09:30 AM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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A few more thoughts:

1) Having a budget of this sort could enable the producers to make very detailed, expensive sets - for instance, if China won't let you film in China, but you really want to film Tienanmen Square, you could construct a Tienanmen-Square like set.

2) Same for props. You could build an honest-to-goodness fighter jet cockpit, or lease an actual Boeing 747 for scenes, or even film scenes in Earth orbit, that are actual video footage from the ISS, etc.

3) This thread is hypothetical; so while obviously no studio in their right mind would spend a billion dollars on a movie, we could just hand-wave that away and say some generous billionaire steps in and writes a billion-dollar check prior to the beginning of production.
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  #31  
Old 02-17-2017, 10:34 AM
MaxTheVool MaxTheVool is offline
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A few possibilities I thought of:
(1) Find out how much the city of Paris, France will charge to completely shut down the Eiffel Tower for weeks on end so you can film a lengthy and exciting action sequence there. Repeat at the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal, etc.

(2) Decide that you want to make a movie about two cruise ships crashing into each other and sinking. Buy two cruise ships. Crash them into each other.

(3) Actually film in outer space. Or, as a fallback, film the whole thing in zero gravity inside airplanes making parabolic flights, 20 seconds at a time, but with dozens or hundreds of sets all built to fit into the airplane

(4) The film is meant to represent the worldview of someone with a fractured personality, so while there is always a "main" view of what's going on in the center of the screen, there are dozens of smaller images around the outside representing his mood and imagination. Increase the production values and star power of the actors in the smaller images until the budget reaches $1B
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  #32  
Old 02-17-2017, 10:35 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Free popcorn upgrade experience!!!!
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  #33  
Old 02-17-2017, 10:40 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I'd make a thousand movies.
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  #34  
Old 02-17-2017, 10:44 AM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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You could film a porno "erotic thriller" in space—at about, what, $50 million per passenger, going with the Russians? Or $100 mil per seat, for a circumlunar mission? Another company, like SpaceX, might be cheaper, once they get going with manned missions.—and spend most of the rest of the budget bribing the MPAA/BBFC/etc. to give it a mild rating, under the rationale that it's "art" or a "scientific and historical record."
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  #35  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:04 AM
drewder drewder is offline
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Make a film without sin.

Last edited by drewder; 02-17-2017 at 11:06 AM..
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  #36  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:06 AM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Thanks for the response everyone - but, as far as possible, I am not referring to frivolous or wasteful uses of money. I mean things that would be a productive use of money that could be applied to a movie - perhaps things that most Hollywood directors would like to do, but can't, due to budgetary constraints.
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  #37  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:12 AM
Eddie The Horrible Eddie The Horrible is offline
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I'd like to see M. Night Shyamalan somehow use up a billion dollars for a film - see how many multiple twist endings he can throw in.
Or maybe Roland Emmerich can make something with lots of White Houses and Capitol Buildings in it.

Ishtar 2?
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  #38  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:17 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
You can't spend a billion dollars on a movie. There's no movie you could make that would cost you one billion dollars, unless you cheat by paying everyone on the set twenty times their real salary or, deliberately make an entire movie, throw it away, and then make another, etc. If you apply reasonable Brewster's Million rules - you can't give the money away or pay more for something than its true cost - you will have your movie made long before you spend a billion dollars.
Oh yes you could. I already volunteered to be the director that highlights the American Civil War in live action with high production musical interludes. That isn't going to be cheap. I am not going to pull some hack job like James Cameron did when he only built half a Titanic clone to make a semi-historical movie. We are getting this one right down to the smallest detail.

I have another winner planned too. I don't have the final script written yet but the opening sequence involves not 2 but 3! planes colliding in mid-air - a 747, an Airbus-380 and a B-2 bomber. Epic! I haven't written what happens next but I promise you it will be great. Come to think of it, $1 billion isn't going to cut it for this masterpiece. I am going to have to do some more fundraising.
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  #39  
Old 02-17-2017, 11:26 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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You would have to make the movie as appealing to a mass market as possible, meaning nothing too deep or complex, and with as much violence and nudity as you can get away with without getting a R rating or a banning in China, because your audience will be teens, China, and teens in China.
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  #40  
Old 02-18-2017, 08:53 AM
Eddie The Horrible Eddie The Horrible is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Come to think of it, $1 billion isn't going to cut it for this masterpiece. I am going to have to do some more fundraising.
Here - to get you started:

https://www.gofundme.com/creative-fundraising

Script doctoring suggestion: Can we get the Spruce Goose and a Concorde or two added to the mix?
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