Virtual Locations vs. Real Locations Should Be Reducing Budgets, Yes?

The following article makes a case for why many movie budgets are (way!) out of control.

If more green screen work can be done in virtual locations that should be saving a ton of money over visiting physical locations to shoot.

“You don’t need to hop from exotic location to exotic location for a day or two of work,” he added.  “You can plan out your sequence where you don’t have to do that. You can take advantage of the digital backlot and you can basically replicate what you can get on location. It doesn’t take long to master it, if you understand how it works, how to control it, what every set up is, how to light it, and how to color correct it.”

The Mandalorian’s Real-Time Virtual Production Saves Hollywood | IndieWire

I keep hammering on movie budgets at this blog because I believe fiscal irresponsibility contribute to less creative movies being made. Instead of getting more movies on modest to low budgets, we get fewer big budget movies where stupid cost overruns happen and studios become gunshy about “taking chances” on more creative films, simply because they are worried about the budgets.

This leads to us — movie fans — getting too much of the same, tired cycle of reboots, remakes and “known” projects. Lower budget studios and filmmakers enjoying financial success help break the cycle.

Overzealous directors can and probably are a big part of the problem here. Martin Scorsese is an amazing director, no argument there, but why can’t or won’t he make movies for lower budgets any more? See: Martin Scorsese – Great Director Struggling Staying Within Budget

James Cameron is filming four movies at one time, but still, one freaking billion dollars for four Avatar sequels? Sure, he’s one of the greatest directors ever with a proven track record but that’s an enormous amount of money budgeted to four films (see: $100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid). Will we see all four films? Perhaps not in the theater, but you can bet all four will hit Disney+ at some point in the future.

Another side effect of larger budgets is the potential for crooked hands in the cookie jar.

Sadleir opened a bank account for a fake company and transferred $25 million of BlackRock’s investment that he’d claimed would be used for advertising, Department of Justice authorities said. Instead, Sadleir used $14 million from the funds to buy a Beverly Hills home.

Former Hollywood movie CEO charged with $30M fraud

Smaller, tighter budgets, please.

Some studios are known for their fiscal frugality like Blumhouse. I may not like every movie Blumhouse does, but am digging that they are fiscally responsible with their movie budgets. For that reason alone, they are among my favorite studios.

Once we come back from the pandemic, and movie theaters and studios will definitely be back, then budgets will likely be even further scrutinized.

How can we as movie fans make a difference? Keep supporting good low budget movies.

4 thoughts on “Virtual Locations vs. Real Locations Should Be Reducing Budgets, Yes?

    1. Well, in that case, he’s at least putting out additional content. Like 2+ more hours of film, if the reports are true. An extra $20-30 million does seem like a lot to do that, but for comic book movies, that’s not as crazy expensive as it sounds these days. VFX are overpriced too, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I find the background effect on the Mandalorian to be pretty flawless (I didn’t even think about it until I started reading articles on its use) so I hope more productions take advantage. Not just would it save on budget but I think it could help spoilers to that get out more easily on locations shots.

    And I had to laugh when I heard the production cost of Avatar. I think it’s unbelievable but I’m thinking for that amount Disney is just going to tie people into seats at the theaters oh you thought you were buying tickets to something else huh, nope! It’s all Avatar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t wait for more of The Mandalorian!

      Yeah, a billion dollars is crazy money, especially for four movies being shot simultaneously. Avatar is going to have a steep mountain to climb to get into the black. I won’t bet against James Cameron in the director chair, though. Would bet against him if he was producing lol.


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