Audiences constantly crave a larger sense of scale and spectacle from their big budget blockbusters, forcing the studios to keep raising both the stakes and the price tag when it comes to delivering populist entertainment precision engineered to sell the most tickets and generate the maximum box office income. After all, 30 years ago, many people couldn’t believe that James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day was going to cost $100 million to produce, but these days, there are more expensive rom-coms being made.
Netflix recently signalled their intention to develop franchises of their own that could rival Harry Potter and Star Wars, which certainly won’t come cheap. And while it remains to be seen what, exactly, they have in mind, the streaming service’s two costliest original movies to date couldn’t be more different on the surface, even though Michael Bay’s 6 Underground and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman came armed with budgets of at least $150 million each. Dwayne Johnson’s upcoming Red Notice, meanwhile, will occupy a similar ballpark, and the Russo brothers’ The Gray Man will be Netflix’s most expensive project ever at $200 million.
However, insider Daniel Richtman now claims that the company want to test their accountants even further by creating $300 million epics, which is a bizarre business strategy to say the least. For one thing, budgets are decided after the script has been approved and the creative team collaborates with the money men to hammer out exactly how much things are going to cost. A number is rarely plucked out of thin air to then have a movie built around it.
Also, only six films in history have cost at least $300 million to produce and five of them hail from the Disney-owned Pirates of the Caribbean or Avengers franchises, with Justice League the outlier. Netflix might appear to have a bottomless pit of cash when it comes to churning out high profile originals, but just because they theoretically could deliver $300 million blockbusters on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean they should. Unless the material is strong enough to justify the outlay, of course.