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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Phenomenal piece about movie budgets


The LA Times ran a great story package Sunday on how movie budgets balloon out of control, using 'Sahara' as a case study. Glenn Bunting writes:

    Movie budgets are one of the last remaining secrets in the entertainment business, typically known to only high-level executives, senior producers and accountants.

    "The studios guard that information very, very carefully," said Phil Hacker, a senior partner in a Century City accounting firm that audits motion pictures. "It is a gossip industry. Everyone wants to know what everyone else is getting paid."

    The records offer insights into the economics of modern-day moviemaking and industry practices that seldom are disclosed.

'Sahara' was directed by Breck Eisner, son of Michael Eisner. It didn't do too badly at the box office, but was still one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history. Bunting continues:

    Unlike most financial failures, "Sahara" performed reasonably well, ranking No. 1 after its opening weekend and generating $122 million in gross box-office sales. But the movie was saddled with exorbitant costs, including a $160-million production and $81.1 million in distribution expenses.

Don't miss the graphics and charts accompanying the piece.

(I missed this when it came out -- but will add it to my Netflix list since I'm a big Steve Zahn fan.)

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