POPCORN'S STILL TOO MUCH (VINTAGE COLUMN) - Blogs
POPCORN'S STILL TOO MUCH (VINTAGE COLUMN)
For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, June 26, 2015
EDITOR’S NOTE: In an era when the average Hollywood studio film costs $60 million to $100 million to make, and potential blockbusters cost a couple hundred million-plus without blinking an eye, this ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column from the May 19, 1985, Deseret News — headlined ‘Wanna know why popcorn costs so much?’ — seems downright quaint. Thirty years ago the average studio movie budget was $12 million, and we thought it was outrageous.
The major studios claim they are cutting back, tightening their belts, and have otherwise sworn to bring movies in on time and under budget.
Sounds wonderful. But don’t hold your breath.
Movies may not necessarily be better than ever, but they are certainly more expensive.
And for every $1½ million film that becomes an astounding success, like “Blood Simple,” there are several that cost much more and never really got off the ground.
The average Hollywood movie these days costs $11½ to $12 million, according to industry trade papers. But Variety reports a bunch of 1985 pictures that cost well over that — and some have already become box office busts. (The biggest moneymaking film of all time, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” cost $11 million.)
The most expensive 1985 movie on the boards is the pending Christmas release “Santa Clause – The Movie,” from the makers of the “Superman” films, which reportedly is budgeted at $50 million.
Now that is a bit excessive, don’t you think?
Then there’s the new James Bond movie that opens Friday, “A View to a Kill,” and the upcoming sci-fi thriller “Legend,” each costing a mere $30 million. Gasp.
Roman Polanski’s “Pirates” with Walter Matthau as the chief sleazy swashbuckler cost $29 million, and “Rambo: First Blood II,” which opens Wednesday, cost $28 million.
Other big-budget 1985 flicks include:
“Enemy Mine,” sci-fi with Lou Gosset as an alien, $26 million
“The Black Cauldron,” animated Disney, $25 million
“Return to Oz,” Disney fantasy, $25 million
“Lifeforce,” sci-fi adventure, $25 million
“Out of Africa,” Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, $25 million
“Rocky IV,” Stallone back in the ring, $25 million
“Explorers,” kids in a junkyard spaceship, $24 million
“A Chorus Line,” the Broadway musical, $24 million
“Silverado,” Lawrence Kasdan western $22 million
“Cocoon,” Ron Howard’s sci-fi epic, $17 ½ million
“Perfect,” John Travolta as a reporter, $17 million
“National Lampoon’s Vacation in Europe,” $17 million
“The Clan of the Cave Bear,” Daryl Hannah, $16 million
“Prizzi’s Honor,” Jack Nicholson, $16 million
“Brewster’s Millions,” Richard Pryor, $15 million
Of the five megabucks pictures that have already opened this year, only one has been moderately successful — “Ladyhawke,” which cost $21 million.
The bombs were “Stick,” $22 million; “Baby,” $18 million; “King David,” $17 million; and “Turk 182,” $15 million.
The motion picture industry is always wailing about the inroads TV and video have made on theatrical profits, but maybe if those profits didn’t have to be so high just to break even. …
And you wonder why the popcorn costs so much.