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Voting at the Movies

“Hollywood makes shitty movies.” -Ron Meyer, NBC Universal Studios COO

Avatar made $2,782,275,172 in international ticket sales. Its budget was about $237 million. I’d be happy to give you a minute to let that settle in.

Welcome back. Movies are BIG business.

Studios produce different tiers of movies, which they have different expectations for. The tiers are defined by the budget they allocate to the making of different films. Let’s take the last couple Oscar-winners for Best Picture. The King’s Speech‘s budget was $15 million. Care to guess what The Artist had a budget of? $15 million.

Anomaly? Fine, we’ll go back another year. In 2010 The Hurt Locker won Best Picture. Its budget? $11 million. We all knew The Hurt Locker was shot on a small budget though.The year before was Slumdog Millionaire. Its budget? $15 million. You have to go back to 2007 before the budget of the Best Picture winning film takes a jump; and No Country for Old Men only had a budget of $25 million.

The purpose of these stats is to say that the little guys make damn good movies too. Hollywood today works a lot like our government. Things that are projected to help the bottom line get the most funding. And people love to bitch about how this means Hollywood continues to pump out more garbage. Well you know what? Hollywood is a business and if you quit going to shitty movies, they’ll quit making them.

In 2007, Norbit unfortunately came out. Norbit had a budget of $60 million (that’s about the same as No Country for Old Men+Slumdog Millionaire+The Hurt Locker for those of you keeping score at home). How in the world they used up $60 million to make it is beyond me. But you know what? It brought in $95 million in box office sales and then you can tack on DVD sales and royalties and all that mess. In the end DreamWorks doubled their investment.

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