Thursday, 12 December 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1099: We Have Another Question!

An anonymous reader who shall now be known as Dirty Dingus McGee asked a question…
I do have a tangental question in regards to the above mentioned movie (Disney/Pixar's Frozen).. why does it cost $150 MILLION to make a Computer Generated Cartoon?! $150 MILLION DOLLARS for an animation that w/ the assistance of computers 80% shown was done without the hand of man! Where the flub is all that dough going into?
Because computer generated cartoons depend heavily on the hands of humans.

Let's look at just some of the costs that went into making the movie.

Script development.

Music development. (Original songs, background score, etc.)


Cast salaries.

Recording time. (including engineer and technician salaries).

Art direction (character design, set and prop design).

Programming the characters, props & settings into the computers.

Tech research & development (Pixar developed new technology to animate realistic snow & ice).

Production staff salaries. (Paperwork must be done.)

Animation staff salaries. (Remember every pixel of every frame has to be put there by someone, probably multiple times as takes are changed and redone during production, this requires dozens, if not hundreds of people and they don't make minimum wage.)

Musician salaries.

Computer hardware & facilities that outstrips the entire computing power used by NASA in the 1990s.

Maintaining & repairing computer hardware.

And about a million other things that all cost money, and...

Many of these costs can stretch out over a period of several YEARS. Because the chief thing a budget buys a production is TIME, and animation, even computer animation takes a lot of time, and therefore money, to do on the scale and quality that Disney/Pixar is known for.

So while I can understand your shock, by Hollywood standards $150,000,000 is the new normal.

(Correction: I've been alerted that Pixar was not involved in this production. They were too busy making another sequel to Cars.)


  1. all righty; I'll call myself: Dirty McDingus for this follow-up.
    Since the first complete CG movie done being 'Toy Story' in 1995, Pixar has been producing & researching ways of making better everything and anything. So I just can't wrap my head around that bloated cost for any CG Movie today... Remember 'Toy Story' cost an adjust $80 million to make w/ tons of songs and scripts and sounds and "production" and snow aint nothing new for them (Monster Inc.) & also, Pixar didn't work on that flick. It was made by Walt Disney Animation Studios.
    Perhaps I mis-wrote here for it was made by the Mouse & being soo bloated like a dead beached whale the Mouse does tend to throw money around like VD in a whorehouse~~~
    Damn them for buying Lucas for the beginnings of an awesome independent CG company out of ILM got Crushed as Everything they where working on was wiped out of existence.. Farewell Rango 2... Farewell 1313...

  2. Vader taking a selfie like Obama at a funeral probably wasn't a great move.

    Rainforest Giant

  3. While Disney and Pixar are pretty much interchangeable these days, Pixar never really went overbudget like Disney did. $260 million for Tangled? Wowzers.

    ...Speaking of Disney relying too much on tentpoles, have you read this, D?

  4. Dirty McDingus- Hmmm… When I saw Disney, in my cold-addled sleep deprived state I just assumed Pixar was involved. I guess when I assume I make an "ass" out of "u" and "me."

    Sorry about that. I'll correct it.

    They do seem to spend like a poet on payday which was one of the things that almost sunk the company during Walt's last days. Their research and development did include taking all the animators (and there are DOZENS of them) to places like an ice hotel in Quebec and tours of Scandinavia so they could learn about snow. That costs a hell of a lot.

    Rainforest Giant- At least he didn't twerk.

    ILDC- I'll look into that article.

  5. If Obama had been twerking I think Michelle would have done more than make him change his seat. If you mean Vader he's going to be twerking with Jar Jar. Bet on it.

    Rainforest Giant

  6. Despicable Me budget = 70 mill
    gross 500 mill

    Despicable Me 2 budget = 76 mill
    total gross = 900 mill

    Both of these will beat out Frozen in the return on investment parameter.

    Of course, they were animated mostly outside the US.