Monday, 3 May 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #500: A Couple of Quick Bits...

Welcome to the show folks...


Looks like Will Ferrell and his fave writer/director Adam McKay are trying to revive their flagging careers by doing a sequel to their first hit
Anchorman. However, Paramount is balking at the idea, saying that they will green-light it if the film can be made for under $40 million, but the writers won't even pick up a pencil unless the budget is at least $70 million.

Let's look at the pros and cons of their proposal.

PRO: Both Ferrell, McKay and the others involved in the film have much higher profiles than they did when they made the original.

CON: While Ferrell was then an unknown quantity in movies, yet a popular SNL performer, Ferrell now is best known for films that cost way too much for the genre and appeal. His most successful film in recent years, the comedy
Step Brothers, made about $100 million domestic at the box office, yet cost $65 million to make. Which means that it needed to have made at least $130+ to break even. That's not counting his bigger stink bombs like Semi-Pro, and Land of the Lost.

PRO: The original
Anchorman made a lot of money.

CON: The original
Anchorman made $85 domestic, and relatively very little internationally, but was considered a hit because it only cost $25 million to make. For a $70 million minimum Anchorman 2 to break even it would have to make at least $140 million, but more likely $150 million at the box office. That's just to break even. Plus, one gets the feeling that the original was one of those lightning in a bottle moments. It came out at the right time with the right subject matter, but that time is past, and the subject matter passe.

I can understand Paramount's point of view. Will Ferrell doesn't play as well overseas as other performers, and with the DVD market stagnant, and TV rights sales tepid, the film has to make a profit in theaters to make it seem worth their while.

Remember Funny People could have been a minor hit if it hadn't had such a relatively bloated budget. It's under-performance at its opening weekend, coupled with news of its $75 million budget gave it a stench of self-indulgent failure that clung to the film and probably hurt its chances of doing better.

I suspect that Paramount doesn't want to repeat Universal's mistake.


It's pilot season in Hollywood, where the major networks put their heads together to get new shows for their fall TV lineups.

And by new shows, I mean rehashing old ideas.

CW is hiring staffers for a potential run of spy thriller Nikita, which is a remake of a 1990s Canadian/French TV series, which itself was a remake of an 1980s French film.

NBC is picking up JJ Abrams new show Undercovers, which is another spy thriller, and is basically a remake of Abram's old show Alias, except with a sexy married couple at the center instead of a sexy single girl.


This video was made by a Vancouver Film School student on a budget similar to what the writers of Anchorman 2 spend on soy milk lattes. It's a mini-adaptation of part of Arthur C. Clarke's novel Rendezvous with Rama.

Makes you wonder where all the money goes when making a Hollywood movie.


  1. Ah Furious D you said a mouthful about movie budget money...where oh where does that green stuff go?Seriously though ,wasn't Ferrell paid something like 40 millions a few years back?Will Ferrell!!!!!! What were studio execs thinking?

  2. Hey D, how much did that RwR bit cost?

  3. Judy- That question is for a blog post all its own, which I might do tonight since I don't really have much news to discuss.

    Nate- I don't have any specific numbers on the Rendezvous with Rama short film budget. But I do know that it was a student film project, and done by a very small cast and crew. I don't expect it would cost more than a few thousand bucks at most.

  4. The original film was made by Aaron Ross at NYU film school in 2001 for under $5000. The space suits from Red Planet were rented from WB for $200 a week. This version from Vancouver film school used the visuals for a sound project. The original video is here: