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Avatar's real cost

11.10.2009

James Cashron

As if expectations on James Cameron's AVATAR weren't high enough, now comes the ultimate question: what exactly will determine if the film is a success or a failure?

Although TF2 came out with some of the most scathing reviews this year, that one is still called successful in that it set out to rake in tons of cash - and it did, in spades. Then again, SUPERMAN RETURNS is often called a flop even though its international take put it more than $100M in the black.

Cameron, working out of an original -as in unfamiliar- story aimed to blow our minds visually. What if THAT fails? Even more pressure is being put on the director, by the New York Times who through some calculations only they know of came up with an approximation of what AVATAR will have cost its many financial backers once international marketing has been considered: over $500M.

If the visuals don't live up to Cameron's own hype, how high will the profit margin need to be for a seal of success to be stamped on AVATAR? Does Fox hope for something close to TITANIC's take?

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: How big a push would an insanely annoying Celine Dion theme song give the film?
Source: New York Times

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+2
11:54PM on 11/10/2009

500mil with R+D and Marketing

If you factor in all the stuff the article did, then its no more expensive than Spiderman 3 or PotC3. The article is factoring in R+D and marketing to get to 500mil... No other film is quoted with those extras added into the budget, so why does Avatar get this special treatment?
If it costs 500 mil all up then fine, but dont make it sound like an insane number when Spidey and Pirates would be in the same ballpark if you included thier production budget + marketing + R+D costs.
Get real or
If you factor in all the stuff the article did, then its no more expensive than Spiderman 3 or PotC3. The article is factoring in R+D and marketing to get to 500mil... No other film is quoted with those extras added into the budget, so why does Avatar get this special treatment?
If it costs 500 mil all up then fine, but dont make it sound like an insane number when Spidey and Pirates would be in the same ballpark if you included thier production budget + marketing + R+D costs.
Get real or STFU New York Times
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-3
11:39PM on 11/10/2009
The movie needs to break even at the box office, which means it will have to make something like 8 or 9 hundred million world wide. THEN... DVD sales will give it profit.
The movie needs to break even at the box office, which means it will have to make something like 8 or 9 hundred million world wide. THEN... DVD sales will give it profit.
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8:07PM on 11/10/2009

Okay

Okay. This is actually a big deal if the movie doesn't make enough money. I know it could be the future but it could always be looked at as an overpaid potential film.

I personally think it's going to be extremely groundbreaking. Besides the studio obviously believes that if Avatar is that huge that the price of these films will go down.
Okay. This is actually a big deal if the movie doesn't make enough money. I know it could be the future but it could always be looked at as an overpaid potential film.

I personally think it's going to be extremely groundbreaking. Besides the studio obviously believes that if Avatar is that huge that the price of these films will go down.
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7:37PM on 11/10/2009
$500 million is a shocking, yet realistic number considering the nature of this movie. i don't think it will make that back domestically, even if you counted home video sales. internationally though, i think this movie will kick ass.
$500 million is a shocking, yet realistic number considering the nature of this movie. i don't think it will make that back domestically, even if you counted home video sales. internationally though, i think this movie will kick ass.
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+0
6:30PM on 11/10/2009
I have a strong feeling Avatar is going to flop. HOWEVER, in my mind, Avatar is already a success. In other words, even if the box office ends up biting Cameron in the ass, I am going to love the movie, and add it to my movie collection with a great deal of admiration.
I have a strong feeling Avatar is going to flop. HOWEVER, in my mind, Avatar is already a success. In other words, even if the box office ends up biting Cameron in the ass, I am going to love the movie, and add it to my movie collection with a great deal of admiration.
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3:44PM on 11/10/2009

Going on Faith

I'm just going to see it because of Cameron's track record. Aliens, Terminator 1/2, and True Lies. Because of those films, I HAVE to see Avatar.
I'm just going to see it because of Cameron's track record. Aliens, Terminator 1/2, and True Lies. Because of those films, I HAVE to see Avatar.
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2:06PM on 11/10/2009
whered my comment go?
whered my comment go?
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2:05PM on 11/10/2009
whered my comment go?
whered my comment go?
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2:06PM on 11/10/2009
nvm. for some reason only 5 replys were showing up
nvm. for some reason only 5 replys were showing up
+0
1:25PM on 11/10/2009
It'll be successful. But HOW successful is the real question. Over time, it'll become a brand name, and it'll make it's money though slower and thru different avenues.
It'll be successful. But HOW successful is the real question. Over time, it'll become a brand name, and it'll make it's money though slower and thru different avenues.
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1:01PM on 11/10/2009

Poor theatre owners

It's amazing to me that most people think that a box office total goes to the studio, when in fact the split is generally no better than 60/40 on a huge movie. (This is why SR is considered a flop: budget+marketing was not covered by box office take.)

If Avatar's total cost is $500MM, it's gonna have to do at least $850MM worldwide to break even at the BO.
It's amazing to me that most people think that a box office total goes to the studio, when in fact the split is generally no better than 60/40 on a huge movie. (This is why SR is considered a flop: budget+marketing was not covered by box office take.)

If Avatar's total cost is $500MM, it's gonna have to do at least $850MM worldwide to break even at the BO.
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1:44PM on 11/10/2009
No, $500million IS the break even. $230million is the budget, $500million is the break even.
No, $500million IS the break even. $230million is the budget, $500million is the break even.
5:40PM on 11/10/2009
no, $500 million is the approximate cost of the movie according to this article - "Even more pressure is being put on the director, by the New York Times who through some calculations only they know of came up with an approximation of what AVATAR will have cost its many financial backers once international marketing has been considered: over $500M." not sure how you can deduce from that statement that the budget is only $230 million. clearly for the movie to break even it has to recoup its
no, $500 million is the approximate cost of the movie according to this article - "Even more pressure is being put on the director, by the New York Times who through some calculations only they know of came up with an approximation of what AVATAR will have cost its many financial backers once international marketing has been considered: over $500M." not sure how you can deduce from that statement that the budget is only $230 million. clearly for the movie to break even it has to recoup its marketing budget as well, which according to the article brings its cost to $500 million.
7:26PM on 11/10/2009
WTF?!? -

Movies do not factor in the extra costs that this article factors in. It is common knowledge that every film has to make around 3x its budget back to brake even. This is because the budget does not reflect the real cost.

This article factors in the 3x multiplier, and acts like Avatar is the only film to spend this much money. Every movie with a $200million budget has a real cost of around $500million+. 2 or 3 films with this kind of budget comes out every year.

Also, this
WTF?!? -

Movies do not factor in the extra costs that this article factors in. It is common knowledge that every film has to make around 3x its budget back to brake even. This is because the budget does not reflect the real cost.

This article factors in the 3x multiplier, and acts like Avatar is the only film to spend this much money. Every movie with a $200million budget has a real cost of around $500million+. 2 or 3 films with this kind of budget comes out every year.

Also, this article does point out that the quoted budget from Cameron & producers is $230million.
6:26PM on 11/11/2009
No, that's completely wrong. For big budget movies, the initial split is like 80/20-100/0 to the studios. After a couple weeks, the theater's take gradually rises to 60/40 or something. Since most of the money is made on opening weekend (which studios place high importance on,) the studios still get most of the money. This is also why theaters make most of their money on concessions.
No, that's completely wrong. For big budget movies, the initial split is like 80/20-100/0 to the studios. After a couple weeks, the theater's take gradually rises to 60/40 or something. Since most of the money is made on opening weekend (which studios place high importance on,) the studios still get most of the money. This is also why theaters make most of their money on concessions.
-1
12:49PM on 11/10/2009
this movie is going to be one of the biggest bombs of all time. unlike Star Wars or Transformers, which have 25-30 years of history and fan anticipation behind them, Avatar has nothing to propel it to such a massive level of success that it would require to be a hit. Concept plus fx can sell a movie and drive people to the theatres, liek Star Wars did and Transformers does, but this movie just has fx. the concept looks lame.
this movie is going to be one of the biggest bombs of all time. unlike Star Wars or Transformers, which have 25-30 years of history and fan anticipation behind them, Avatar has nothing to propel it to such a massive level of success that it would require to be a hit. Concept plus fx can sell a movie and drive people to the theatres, liek Star Wars did and Transformers does, but this movie just has fx. the concept looks lame.
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12:35PM on 11/10/2009

Um, this is normal for $200million budgeted movies.

Why do you think movies have to make back nearly 3x their budget? Because once you factor in everything then the real number is easily nearly 3x the said budget. This has ALWAYS been, and every $200million movie out there had a real number of around $500million give or take.

Terminator Salvation & Transformers 2 were both the in exact same ball park as Avatar. They each had to cross $500million internationally to be considered a success. That is why T4 is considered a failure despite making
Why do you think movies have to make back nearly 3x their budget? Because once you factor in everything then the real number is easily nearly 3x the said budget. This has ALWAYS been, and every $200million movie out there had a real number of around $500million give or take.

Terminator Salvation & Transformers 2 were both the in exact same ball park as Avatar. They each had to cross $500million internationally to be considered a success. That is why T4 is considered a failure despite making nearly $400million worldwide.

Hell, POTC: At World's End had a budget of $300million and a real number of over $700million.
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12:12PM on 11/10/2009
Fanboys & nerds are hyped and have huge boners for this. However, the general public looks puzzled as to whether this even looks like a good movie or a story that could be a sci-fi movie original. while watching football with people who arent movie buffs and just average joes, a couple of them said that the movie looks stupid. im seeing a profit, but not by much
Fanboys & nerds are hyped and have huge boners for this. However, the general public looks puzzled as to whether this even looks like a good movie or a story that could be a sci-fi movie original. while watching football with people who arent movie buffs and just average joes, a couple of them said that the movie looks stupid. im seeing a profit, but not by much
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12:31PM on 11/10/2009
A lot of people thought LOTR looked stupid, and still do, and it managed to make a lot of dough.
A lot of people thought LOTR looked stupid, and still do, and it managed to make a lot of dough.
11:42AM on 11/10/2009
this'll rake in the fanboys for a week or two and then tank.
this'll rake in the fanboys for a week or two and then tank.
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11:30AM on 11/10/2009
You can count me in with the people who aren't all that excited about it. I might see it if word of mouth is good but so far I can take it or leave it from what I have seen. It just doesn't look that interesting to me. Kind of "Battlefield Earthy"....
You can count me in with the people who aren't all that excited about it. I might see it if word of mouth is good but so far I can take it or leave it from what I have seen. It just doesn't look that interesting to me. Kind of "Battlefield Earthy"....
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10:53AM on 11/10/2009
I'm psyched for this movie, but as much as it pains me to say this...New Moon will make more. Just like King Kong and Superman Returns, Avatar will make back its budget in theaters and then profit a bit from DVD and Blu-Ray. But nothing close to TDK or Titanic...or even TF2.
I'm psyched for this movie, but as much as it pains me to say this...New Moon will make more. Just like King Kong and Superman Returns, Avatar will make back its budget in theaters and then profit a bit from DVD and Blu-Ray. But nothing close to TDK or Titanic...or even TF2.
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10:27AM on 11/10/2009

Well...

I guess I can respect the fact that he's aiming for TITANIC numbers again (swing for the fences Jim) but I don't think 14 year-old girls are going to be seeing the flick 7 times in a row. I think it will probably make a tidy profit (Blu-Ray will help), but nothing ginormous. Something tells me it will be big in Japan.
I guess I can respect the fact that he's aiming for TITANIC numbers again (swing for the fences Jim) but I don't think 14 year-old girls are going to be seeing the flick 7 times in a row. I think it will probably make a tidy profit (Blu-Ray will help), but nothing ginormous. Something tells me it will be big in Japan.
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10:25AM on 11/10/2009

Something to consider...

If the film is amazing, it could easily make $100 million in DVD and Blu-Ray sales when it releases next year which is great.

I swear though, that "New Moon" bullshit is going to make so much money because of the hype. I hope the same goes for this flick.

If "Transformers 2" can make $800 million worldwide and $100 million in DVD/Blu-Ray sales, "Avatar" will do just as good if not better.
If the film is amazing, it could easily make $100 million in DVD and Blu-Ray sales when it releases next year which is great.

I swear though, that "New Moon" bullshit is going to make so much money because of the hype. I hope the same goes for this flick.

If "Transformers 2" can make $800 million worldwide and $100 million in DVD/Blu-Ray sales, "Avatar" will do just as good if not better.
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9:38AM on 11/10/2009
It'll easily gross over $500M worldwide, so it'll get its money back. BUT, it'll need to gross twice that to be considered a success, that wont happen.
It'll easily gross over $500M worldwide, so it'll get its money back. BUT, it'll need to gross twice that to be considered a success, that wont happen.
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-2
9:37AM on 11/10/2009
i agree with: NJ Decepticon
this is the kind of movie i MIGHT see if i were bored and had nothing better to do. possibly a matinee, it's cheaper
i agree with: NJ Decepticon
this is the kind of movie i MIGHT see if i were bored and had nothing better to do. possibly a matinee, it's cheaper
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9:05AM on 11/10/2009

Ouch

Talk about a money pit.
Talk about a money pit.
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9:05AM on 11/10/2009
This movie does not interest me at all. I have a feeling there are too many others like myself, and this movie will not make anywhere near enough to be considered successful on any terms.
This movie does not interest me at all. I have a feeling there are too many others like myself, and this movie will not make anywhere near enough to be considered successful on any terms.
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+1
9:04AM on 11/10/2009

Interesting Thought

There's been talk going around the cinema circles about the death of movie theaters and it just dawned on me that the three (or four, can't remember) highest grossing films of all time have been in the last five years. It clearly means people are going to the theater. Just an interesting thought. As far as Avatar's success, I don't know but it doesn't look like a 300 million or 500 million dollar movie and let's me down. The animation looks like plastic and is letting me down on the
There's been talk going around the cinema circles about the death of movie theaters and it just dawned on me that the three (or four, can't remember) highest grossing films of all time have been in the last five years. It clearly means people are going to the theater. Just an interesting thought. As far as Avatar's success, I don't know but it doesn't look like a 300 million or 500 million dollar movie and let's me down. The animation looks like plastic and is letting me down on the "realism" I was promised by Cameron.

We'll see I guess.
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7:41AM on 11/10/2009
so this movie could make TDK bucks and still be pretty much a failure... camerons in trouble i think. this movie really doesnt interest the same number of people as TDK did or Titanic. had it been released in the summer its chances wouldve been better
so this movie could make TDK bucks and still be pretty much a failure... camerons in trouble i think. this movie really doesnt interest the same number of people as TDK did or Titanic. had it been released in the summer its chances wouldve been better
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7:27AM on 11/10/2009

Hey!!!

I liked Celine Dion's song!!! (But only the first 100 times of the 1.000.000 it has been played)
I liked Celine Dion's song!!! (But only the first 100 times of the 1.000.000 it has been played)
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+2
5:02AM on 11/10/2009
This movie will probably sell great as a bluray, later on.
This movie will probably sell great as a bluray, later on.
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4:55AM on 11/10/2009

Go JIM!

It'll make it back - this movie will be huge. Once the first group of people see this they'll tell everyone they know and everyone will see it and see it and see it. It looks like nothing out there at the moment and I guarantee this thing will kick ass.
It'll make it back - this movie will be huge. Once the first group of people see this they'll tell everyone they know and everyone will see it and see it and see it. It looks like nothing out there at the moment and I guarantee this thing will kick ass.
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+1
4:49AM on 11/10/2009
I still don't understand all the hype for this movie, either way I'm sure it will make enough money in the long run (almost every movie does).
I still don't understand all the hype for this movie, either way I'm sure it will make enough money in the long run (almost every movie does).
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+2
4:18AM on 11/10/2009

in time

I guess itīll make money in time... but not theatrical
I guess itīll make money in time... but not theatrical
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3:52AM on 11/10/2009
The visuals don't really mean shit in the long run. I've seen them in 3d and they look fantastic, but that's not what is going to determine what makes or breaks this film!

THE STORY WILL.
The visuals don't really mean shit in the long run. I've seen them in 3d and they look fantastic, but that's not what is going to determine what makes or breaks this film!

THE STORY WILL.
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