The Answer To The $200 Million Movie Question

from the there-is-no-$200-million-movie dept

Last month, at the CATO Institute conference on copyrights, someone from NBC Universal asked both Professor David Levine and me how NBC could keep making $200 million movies like King Kong without super strong copyright regulations. We each gave our answers that didn't satisfy some. However, as I noted in the recap to the event, the guy from NBC Universal was asking the wrong question. It's like going back to the early days of the PC and asking how IBM would keep making mainframes. The point is that $200 million movies may mostly be a thing of the past. The near immediate response from NBC Universal and other stronger copyright supporters is that this is a "loss" to society -- since we want these movies. However, that shows a misunderstanding of the answer. No one is saying to make worse movies -- but to recognize that it should no longer cost so much to make a movie. The same economics professor, David Levine, who was asked the question is now highlighting exactly this point on his blog. Last week there was a lot of publicity around a group of Finns who created a Star Trek spoof and are trying to help others make and promote inexpensive, high quality movies as well. Levine notes that the quality of the spoof movie is astounding -- not all that far off from what you'd expect from a huge blockbuster sci-fi picture, but was done with almost no budget at all. Given the advances in technology, the quality is only going to improve. So, again, it would appear that a big part of the answer to the $200 million movie question is simply that anyone spending $200 million on a movie these days is doing an awful job containing costs.

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  1. identicon
    Jenn, 22 Feb 2007 @ 7:04pm


    Take a look at Natalie Portman. I'm sure she got a big pay check to star in Star Wars. probably along the lines of 20 mil plus. And it's amazing how most of you say it's about big names that studios cast. She was not a big star when she did the professional. She was an unknown. So why did the studio allow an uknown fresh from nowhere to star in such a significant role? I think studios take their chances on unknowns but are wary when doing so. It's all about what an actor has to show. If an uknown can do the job as good as an A-lister they're gonna get work. And yes rightly so most actors deserve the high salaries and pay increases. They've established credibility and deserve to be paid what they're worth. But I don't think exceeding 25 mil is reasonable. But the majority of the big budget is actors and special effects. it's two key factors in how the movie is gonna work. Names or unknowns doesn't matter if the performance sucks. You can put Brad Pitt and an uknown together. The audience is gonna notice both. In fact it might bring the spotlight to the uknown. I think everyone should realize all these actors were once nobody. Studios took chances and that is the truth no matter what anyone says. And they take big risks with big budget. There's been big names that have made flops. poor writing or poor performances. Big names doesn't guarantee success. Also all you need is a name actor in a lead role. The other roles it doesn't matter. People care more about the main character and the antagonist.

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