Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful is out this Friday, in case you haven’t looked at a magazine or a television or the side of a bus recently, and while we know it’s a big-budget would-be Mouse blockbuster, attempting to replicate the astonishing (and frankly inexplicable) success of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland three years back, we still had to pick our jaws up off the floor when we got a look at its monster budget: $325 million in production and marketing costs. Yes, you read that right: 325. No extra numbers in there.
Look, there’s no question that creating flying CG monkeys and putting expressions on James Franco’s face are expensive propositions, but seriously: 325 million dollars. As big and bright and boisterous as the movie looks, that still seems way out of proportion with what anyone in their right mind should spend on a movie. But we’ve come a long way from the days when movie observers were shocked by the $44 million spent on Heaven’s Gate or $115 million on True Lies; big movies routinely cost in the hundreds of millions, by the time you pay stars, pony up for special effects, and stick ads for them on every vertical surface. But some movies cost so much, we’re not sure where the hell the money went. For example:
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Cost: $300 million
Oz’s $325 million price tag could end up making it the most expensive movie ever made. The previous record holder is this, the third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, released in 2007, and while we know it costs a few bucks to buy Johnny Depp’s eyeliner and animate some pirate ghosts, why did this thing cost $300 million? Don’t they just shoot these movies on the Pirates rides at DisneyWorld? (It’s been a while since I’ve seen any of them.) One thing we can be sure of: they didn’t spend all that money buying an airtight script.