Written by: Samuel K. Sloan (SoSF Producer and Managing
Studios are crunching the numbers in the wake of ever increasing production costs. In the space of 3-months two major Jim Carrey projects have been placed on indefinite hold due to soaring costs before the films have even left the pre-production phase. Ben Stiller’s “Used Guys” which was to star Carrey and Stiller together and Tim Burton’s “Ripley’s Belive It Or Not” have both been given rain checks.
Used Guys, a scifi comedy was already at $112 million in costs while Burton’s film starring Carrey as Ripley has soared to a whopping $150 million before main shooting has even begun. Paramount exec Brad Weston claims that they still intend on making the Ripley flick but it could be delayed for up to a year or more and they simply don’t wish to pour anymore money into the project at this time.
Carrey, the highest paid male actor in the entertainment industry garners not only a huge salary in the multi-millions per pic, but generally shares in the profits, special amenities and a host of other treatments.
The big studios appear to be sending a message to all actors indicating that if someone as big as Carrey can have his films placed on hiatus to curtail out-of-control spending then they all need to understand that with today’s technologies the studio no longer needs to necessarily rely on a big name for the big draw.
In an age when studios are relying more on CGI for effect and storyline for substance the new Hollywood field of play is falling more to the writer and technician than to the on-screen talent.
As they say,”the proof is in the pudding.” Animated films can cost little in relative terms and reap big rewards for a studio. Smaller and better written indie films such as Michael Rappaport’s “Special” or James Kerwin’s “Yesterday Was A Lie” can capture major talent for less money and come in at a production cost of under $1 to $2 million, while at the same time capturing the imagination of its audience with a beautifully written screenplay.
Of course we haven’t seen the end of major multi-million dollar productions such as “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,” but after a long string of over-bloated budgeted films that have done so poorly at the box office and in DVD sales, in the future they will be the exception rather than the rule.
So I have a word for the Jim Carreys’ and the Julia Roberts’ of Hollywood – ask for a little less up front and more work that comes your way will not have to stop production prematurely and everyone, including yourselves, your fans and the studio will benefit.