Movie budgets are getting out of hand. Recently, auteurs such as Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese have railed against Marvel films making it impossible for smaller films to compete. A large part of the problem comes down to the financing committed to key franchises. Studios, at the end of the day, are concerned with making money, and the hefty billion-dollar return that special effects-laden movies fetch makes the $300 million budget they boast a decent deal. In the eyes of most studios, what's the point of wasting scratch on a smaller flick that will barely break even?
Next month, James Cameron's Avatar franchise returns with a long-awaited sequel. The film has a lot to live up to, as the first movie became the highest-grossing film of all time. Apparently, the budget for Avatar: The Way of Water is so laughably high that the film will have to become the "third or fourth highest-grossing movie" of all-time to break even.
When it comes to blockbuster directors few are bigger than James Cameron, whose films have grossed more than $6 billion at the worldwide box office.
With the difficulties that come along with creating his films come massive budgets. The first "Avatar" cost nearly $250 million to produce, and Cameron says that in order for the second film to turn a profit it would "have to be the third or fourth highest grossing film in history. That's your threshold. That's your break even."