We all have seen the blockbuster budgets that seem like an unimaginable amount of money. Just a few years ago we saw the release of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ which had an estimated budget of $378,500,000. This massive figure is absurd. No amount of effects, talent, or marketing could ever possibly justify spending so much money. Of course, this monumental budget was not a huge surprise as each installment of the franchise was getting more expensive (‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End’ costing an estimated $300,000,000.) The studio took a major step back with the most recent installment costing a still outrageous $230,000,000.
Is that much money necessary? Absolutely not. There have been many films with grand spectacles and major set designs that look fantastic while still maintaining a reasonable budget. Just last year we saw Moonlight, which had an estimated $1,500,000 budget, became the least expensive film to ever win best picture. It had beautiful scenery, incredible talent, and a powerful story that captured the hearts of the audience. Why is it so difficult for Hollywood to see that a great movie can be made without an outrageous budget?
Many people suggest that studios should be able to do whatever they want if they are willing to pay for it, but these people fail to see that it has a direct effect on ticket prices. The average domestic ticket price is $8.58. Every year the average goes up more and continues to break the record high set from the year before. This is a direct result from film makers being careless with money. The ‘Transformers’ franchise has made several huge movies that continue to bring mindless action to the big screen. While there are many fans of the franchise, the collective production budget of the entire series totals around $980,000,000. Of course, Michael Bay can put on an incredible showing of explosions and fight scenes, but there is no reason to spend nearly one billion dollars on these films.
We as film fans should not have to stop at the bank before every visit to the movie theater. Hollywood has proven time and again that they can create outstanding films on the smallest of budgets. It is my true hope that they will stop focusing on grand explosions and move their attention to the powerful storytelling that has always drawn us to the theaters.