– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The past fifteen years or so has been an insane one for the movie blockbuster business. Back in 2001, Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor was made for $132.2 million, and had the highest budget of all time back then. Nowadays, we rarely get a blockbuster south of $150 million, and in 2009, James Cameron put out the $425 million juggernaut Avatar. Even as recently as last year, we saw Batman v Superman hit theaters — a film that had a budget of over $250 million. In short, we live in a world of inflated budgets, for better or worse, and while we are seeing a slow return of some mid-budget properties (see: John Wick and Deadpool), for the most part, tentpole films are high-budget affairs.

That trend doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon. If you thought that Marvel had somehow perfected the art of making films under $250 million, then we may be in for quite the awakening. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 — which are being shot back-to-back in Atlanta, Georgia — will have a combined budget of $1 billion. This statement was made by Chick-fil-A CEO and Pinewood Atlanta Studios Co-owner Dan Cathy. While he didn’t specify he was talking about the Avengers films, given that they were scheduled to shoot there, it seemed like a more than fair deduction.

We have to wonder if that $1 billion includes the cost of marketing, which as a general rule of thumb usually matches the production budget in cost. As such, there are a couple ways to take this.

One is that each Avengers film will have a budget of $500 million, and that there will be an additional $1 billion or so for marketing, making a grand total cost of around $2 billion for these two films. This means that each of the movies will have to make roughly $1.5 billion to turn a profit. Given that the first Avengers film is the only movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to break $1.5 billion, we think this scenario is unlikely.

More likely is that each film has a production budget of $250-$300 million, and that the marketing budget is set to take up the difference to $1 billion. This makes for a much realistic goal of around $700-800 million for each film to reach in order to turn a profit. Now, that being said, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that Marvel Studios will be shooting for the former plan…it just seems like an uncharacteristically large risk for them. However, as they have proven in the past: some risks are meant to be taken, and if you’re familiar with the plot of the Infinity Gauntlet, you know that the ideas aren’t cheap.

However, regardless of how this whole thing is split, there is no doubt that these films are a big deal. Right now, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron have had the largest budget of any Marvel film with $250 million, so in one fell swoop, Marvel Studios is matching their most expensive film with two more. Quite the impressive and ambitious deal, we must say.

What do you think of this announced budget? Do you believe Marvel Studios would actually have each film have a budget of $500 million per film, or does it seem more likely that the $1 billion consists of marketing costs as well? Let us know your thoughts down below!

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018.

Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019.

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SOURCE: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.