An article in the Observer (via UK film-makers ‘frittering away millions’ | Business | The Observer) discusses the budget and ego problem in the UK film industry. Actors who are so feckless they need to be picked up in the morning and taken home again (I know some students who need that service), expectations of first class travel, etc., all inflating the budgets of films which come nowhere near to recouping their costs at the box office.
This is significant because the imaginary budget for the imaginary film some of you will make a trailer for is £5 million. But how much of the £5 million ends up on the screen? Not much – the same film could probably be made for a tenth of the budget, if people were realistic about ancillary costs like travel and catering.
“For every cinema ticket sold, 75% goes to the cinema, so what goes back to the film-makers is usually a quarter of the box-office figure,” said Jones. “If you’re running a business, making multimillion-pound productions, you cannot afford routinely to lose money.”
He added that the British film industry could not continue to spend millions of pounds making films that, with the latest technology, should no longer cost more than £500,000. “In 2010 there’s been a tidal wave of new technology – particularly the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a camera that costs £1,500 and yields images like 35mm film [used in cinemas]. The digital equivalent would have cost £100,000 only a year ago. You don’t need expensive cameras any more.”
Monsters, a film about aliens, looks like a big-budget movie, but it was shot on a small budget – believed to be less than $100,000 – with a team of five rather than hundreds. The producer of Monsters, Allan Niblo, said: “People are not inventive enough.”