Sunday, July 23, 2017

Bumblebee Movie Budget, New Castmember

Deadline is reporting that Pamela Adlon (Better Things, Californication) has joined the cast of the Bumblebee movie. She was just nominated for Best Comedy Series Actress Emmy. She will play the mom to Hailee Steinfeld's character.

As for the budget of the Bumblebee movie, it has been known that Paramount was going for a much cheaper film then the ~$200 average of the Bay movies. I and others assumed that meant in the $100 million area. Turns out its even cheaper with a budget of $70 million according to The Hollywood Reporter. In general reported budgets do not include any tax credits and the like so do not think this includes the $22 million tax credit the movie is getting from California. Basically everything would have to go horribly wrong for this movie to not be considered profitable so that should extend the film life of the movie franchise.

As for how to achieve this cost reduction, keep in mind that Bay films had a lot of up front costs such as his director's fee (my guess is in the ~$20M+ range) and cost of the cast (Walhberg was probably around ~$10M, Tucci and others probably didn't come cheap either) so lets just yank out $40M+ right there. Add to that is a much larger robot cost. Basically every minute of Transformers robot mode is probably at least $1 million in cost, a transformation sequence probably is in the $5 million range (and I am probably on very low end) which is why Bay just started cheating it in the last few films with them transforming off-screen, behind smoke, in the distance, or showing last panel or two sliding in place. More robots on the screen, the more that goes up. The longer, more complex the transformation sequence, the more that goes up.

There will be a significant savings by reducing the robot cast, limiting or greatly simplifying the transformation sequence and using existing CGI elements that ILM has already created for the Bay films. The last bit of savings is the lack of Bayhem. Few directors can do action quite like Bay. I do not see director Travis Knight even bothering to try. Between the robots and the Bayhem that is probably another $100M+ in savings and that is how you go from ~$210 budget for TF5 to $70M for Bumblebee. Net result for fans is expect a much smaller scaled film with few Transformers, few transformations and probably a whole lot of Hailee and the cast talking to 'Bee the car mode and not 'Bee the robot mode. As always, story and characters will impact whether any of this matters or not to the audience.

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