Monday, December 03, 2007


My head has pretty much been buried in my work lately. However, a few days ago I came up to breathe and spoke with a friend. We somehow got on the subject of budgets and he hit me over the head with something I found pretty insane.

He told me that DreamWorks Bee Movie was close to $300 million when all said and done. I've yet to talk to anyone else about this to confirm or deny. However, if true, wow, just wow.

Three hundred million. We are getting into Final Fantasy numbers here. Let's pretend that prints and advertising were part of that number. Still, that is a considerable chunk of change. I've seen the movie. It shouldn't of been anywhere near that high. While a visually decent looking film, that cost didn't show up on the screen.

Just to give you an idea of what can be considered norm: DWA's previous films are generally sub $100, around $80-$90. Although that figure is debatable when you take into consideration the high cost of voicing some of these films, especially the Shrek franchise. Blue Sky over in New York is in the same neighborhood to slightly lower in the $65-$80 range. Disney and Pixar spend more money, with budgets exceeding $100 and often getting to $150. And even the Disney numbers are debatable because of the often re-working of stories late in the process. The last of the big 5 is Sony, and their films are about the same range as Blue Sky.

If the rumor is true, what led to this seemingly high budget? Good question. I wish I had an answer. I'm not familiar with the production of this film and what they went through in re-writes and re-takes. Whatever the case, it is just a shame that it went this high.

Personally, I think the sweet spot for an animated film is $45-$60. There is enough money to do a decent visual job, yet it isn't so expensive that it can make a good profit with decent returns. The problem is that a lot of these projects are so mismanaged that the money goes quickly and for all the wrong reasons. Resulting in a $70 million film looking like a $25 million one.


Anonymous said...

Jim Hill reported that Ratatouille cost $180 million for marketing, which I find hard to believe. But even if partly true, that movie's promotion was actually miniscule compared to Bee's promotional overkill. I couldn't go anywhere without finding Seinfeld and his antennae taking over the joint. I wondered just how much all that hoopla cost. With the film's reported $150 million production budget, $300 million overall would seem on the low side.

p.s. Could you do me a favor? Could you not use "of" in place of "have," as in "shouldn't of?" It makes you seem like a teenage blogger instead of the animation professional that you are.

Staloren said...

Sorry. No favors. :)

Seriously though. I don't mind sounding like a teenage blogger. Makes me feel young again.

Staloren said...

BTW. When talking with my friend, he thought the $300 was before P&A.

Anonymous said...

Wow. First of all, who believes a word of anything jim hill says?

Secondly, I would never have guessed Bee movie cost more than $20 million. It didn't look as if it cost even that much.

Anonymous said...

While I'm at it, jim hill's "writing" is so piss poor he wouldn't pass as a teenager. Hell, he wouldn't pass as spilled seed.

Anonymous said...

Ah, to be a teenager again - the pimples, the routine, the insecurity, the cliques...

But back to the subject, Bee Movie is tracking pretty low for a Dreamworks CGI animation - lower than Over the Hedge ($155 million) and even Disney's Chicken Little ($135 million). Only Flushed Away and Antz will keep it from being Dreamworks' lowest of that genre. I don't know how happy DW can be about it.

Tobias Schwarz said...