Should a film be labled a BLOCKBUSTER now at 200M?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Les Samuel, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. Les Samuel

    Les Samuel Stunt Coordinator

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    There is an interesting article in today's USA Today about defining what a Blockbuster is these days. 200M for a BLOCKBUSTER. Take a gander at it and let me know what you think. I believe it's time to make a change.
     
  2. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I think there cannot be a single standard for labeling a film as a "blockbuster." Each film comes with its own expectations and it can gross mega-millions yet still be considered a disappointment, if not outright failure.

    Star Wars II: AOTC is considered by some a disappointment after grossing $315M. Why? Because it's Star Wars.

    The Matrix Reloaded was seen by some as a disappointment because it only grossed $275M. Expectations were for the biggest film of the year, not the lower rungs of the Top 5. The Matrix Revolutions is pretty much a failure at only $137M.

    Hulk was a disappointment at $136M. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a blockbuster at $125M.

    Expectations.
     
  3. David Rogers

    David Rogers Supporting Actor

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    US$200mil should be the new mark required to be called a blockbuster. Been about five years coming really.
     
  4. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I agree with the article that the film's gross should be relative to its cost. Just because a film earns $200 million domestically doesn't make it a blockbuster, especially if it cost close to that to produce and market as some films do these days. Sure, it will make money overseas and on DVD, but that makes it profitable, not a blockbuster. For me, for it to be a blockbuster it has to earn plenty of money in the theater, and then anything else (foreign, video, TV) is just added gravy.

    A $200 million domestic gross for 'Pearl Harbor' which cost as much to produce and market is far from blockbuster status.
     
  5. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    I also agree that a movie's box office performance should be relative to it's cost in terms of it being labeled a blockbuster. Any movie that costs over $100 million should only be able to get "blockbuster" consideration if it earns over $200 million domestically.

    In 1998, "Armageddon" cost more than $200 million in combined production and marketing costs. It went on to earn a little over $200 million domestically. Should it be deemed a blockbuster? No.

    That same year saw "Saving Private Ryan" earn $216 million, yet it cost "only" $100 million in combined production ($70 million) and marketing costs ($30 million), now THAT is a blockbuster. Steven Spielberg remains one of the few mega-directors who has never helmed a movie with a $100 million or more production budget.
     
  6. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    --
    H
     
  7. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    I just checked boxofficemojo.com and they report a $102 million budget for Minority Report. He came close with a $90 million budget for A.I.
     
  8. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I'm not sure you'll find anyone at Universal Pictures willing to call Hulk a "blockbuster".
     
  9. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    If CTHD wasn't sub titled, I'm sure if would have made tons more money. While I wouldn't have gone to see it, a lot of my friends would have.

    I think a Blockbuster really depends on the film itself. Sticking with CTHD, it having made as much as it did and being subbed, makes it a Blockbuster in my mind. So what if it didn't make 200 Million.
     
  10. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    I could've sworn that DreamWorks and Fox reported that "Minority Report" was under $100 million when they released it in 2002, oh well. Still, out of all the movies he's directed, I still find it amazing that only one of them had a production budget of more than $100 million.
     
  11. Jeremy_Watson

    Jeremy_Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    Of the thread topic, but I don't find it at all amazing that Spielberg has directed only one $100M production movie -- he hasn't made any huge movies recently. Does anyone honestly doubt that if he were to do something like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, ET, etc, that it wouldn't cost $100M to produce today. Not only is there inflation, but studios are much more willing to green-light movies with budgets like that.
     
  12. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    I don't think Indiana Jones movies would cost anywhere near $100 million today. While by no means a low-budget movie Raiders wasn't all that expensive even for the time. Speilberg was still smarting from the 1941 fiasco and had also gone grossly overbudget on Jaws and Close Encounters. He was determined to do Raiders on the quick and not waste his buddy George's money. Since then I think he has been one of the most cost-concious directors in the biz. Minority Report and AI were visual extravaganzas that, coming from any other director, would likely cost in the mid-100s.

    Some of this "thriftiness" comes from the fact that when he signs on he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it and doesn't spend a lot of excess time shooting. He's also really business savvy. He defers his fee to the backend and I think had Tom Cruise,Tom Hanks and DiCaprio do the same to help defray costs. Then of course other actors have no problems cutting fees for the opportunity to work with Spielberg.

    It will be very interesting to see what kind of budget Indy 4 has. I recall that Frank Marshall mentioned that they wanted to do it with a minimum of CGI. Considering the mileage Lucas was able to get out of the visuals for each of the prequel films for just over $100 million, I imagine a less visually ambitious Indy 4 will cost less than $100 million.

    Oh yeah- ET was actually relatively low-budget and, I believe, cost less to make than Raiders.
     
  13. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    interesting thread. And it got me to thinking about the actual term: "Blockbuster"

    Where did that come from? Maybe started with Star Wars(?), where people were literally lined up 'Around-the-Block' trying to get in. it 'Busted the Block'

    In those terms, no movie is a 'Block'buster any more. Maybe should be called 'Phone Line Buster' or 'Internet Traffic Buster'
     
  14. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    Jim, read the USA Today link that started the thread. It mentions the origin of the word as well as the first movie blockbuster ("Jaws").
     
  15. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Considering current movie budgets, it's fun to look back at what used to be considered "grossly" overbudget. Didn't Jaws only cost $12 million to make? You can't even hire one decent actor for that these days. [​IMG]
     
  16. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    Kevin,

    Ah, interesting, thanks.
     
  17. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    and and I found a place that calculates today's value (well, up to 2000 anyway)

    12mil in 1976 is 38mil in 2000
     
  18. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    yes you can. in fact, ALL the decent actors cost well below this figure. good luck finding one that costs above $12 million a picture.

    also, i have no idea why movie sales are judged by box office gross. ticket sales is the only number that counts. guess the media needs a number that people can relate to when reporting the admissions. not everybody would know that 5 million tickets sold in the first week is a lot of tickets, but $50 million is something we can understand better. the problem is, as jim j said, $12 million in 1976 can more than triple in 24 years. $260 million is not that impressive now, but when jaws did it almost 30 years ago, it was very impressive. take a look at Box Office Reports, not many movies from the 80s or 90s in the top 25.

    CJ
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Which is why I think the all-time charts should either be kept by tickets sold or by adjusted grosses. Comparing actual grosses in 1975 dollars vs. 2002 dollars isn't really fair to those older films.

    $260M in 1975 dollars is a hell of a lot more today when adjusted for 30 years of inflation.
     
  20. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Jim,

    You should see the Seattle CINERAMA when a STAR WARS or LORD OF THE RINGS movie opens. [​IMG]
     

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