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Low Budget Vs. Billions

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by The_Jinx, Jun 11, 2002.

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  1. The_Jinx

    The_Jinx Jedi Youngling

    May 13, 2002
    So which is better? Low Budget or Big Picture??

    I myself LOVE low budget. Because they don't have blow away effects, they send so much more time developing plot and characters. Plus, they're usually more original because teh directors are more willing to take risks with ideas b/c it won't cost them.

    So...pennies for movies, or the benjamins???
  2. Son of the Suns

    Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 6, 1999
    It's not the budget that makes the difference, it's the artists behind it. A good film is a good film, regardless of what the cost is.
  3. The_Jinx

    The_Jinx Jedi Youngling

    May 13, 2002

    thats not what im saying. I mean, some perfectly good directors get spoiled when they are just making the movie for teh big bucks.

  4. Son of the Suns

    Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    May 6, 1999
    No, you're generalizing, which is what my post was about. A budget does not dictate how good a movie will be in the end. There are deep, well-made big-budget films and there are also shallow, sloppily-made low-budget films, and vice versa.
  5. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    I agree with Sots.

    It's like anything that can be managed. If the people involved do a good job, the film will be good. If not, a billion dollars won't make a good film out of it.
  6. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999
    First of all, no film to my knowledge has ever cost even a fifth of a billion dollars. That said, the quality of a movie certainly depends on the moviemakers' skills, not so much the budget.

    Most low budget films suck, and never reach the public eye. The reason they get such a good rap is because of the few that do. El Mariachi, the 7000 dollar movie that was good, or Evil Dead, the cheap horror film that worked.

    And the problem with big-budget movies is not with the budget. All of the budgetly things -- actors, special effects -- in Attack of the Clones or, say, Pearl Harbor were there. The problem is either incompetent writing and direction in the case of the former example, or screwed-up storytelling priorities in the case of the latter.
  7. MushroomHead

    MushroomHead Jedi Youngling star 3

    May 28, 2002
    I would have to agree that the budget isn't important, but I think I know what you mean.
    Lots of films seem to be made with the thought that if enough money is thrown at it, it will be a success. However I believe it is not really the money that is thrown into production but that is thrown into the marketing that leads to this strain of thought.

    Talking of low budget has anyone seen Pi?
  8. Qui-Gon Zero

    Qui-Gon Zero Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 26, 1999
    There are plenty of good low budget movies out there. Just because you haven't heard of them, doesn't mean that they don't exist.

    High budgets and low budgets are both capable of producing crap or brilliance. It all comes down to the story and the characters. No amount of money can save a terrible story and cardboard characters.
  9. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    Exactly what everyone else has been saying. There are high and low budget clunkers and high and low budget greats. It all depends on who's doing it and why.
  10. darkraven

    darkraven Jedi Youngling

    Jun 13, 2002
    I think that, Star Wars speaking, Lucas had it better when he had the old model kits. Don't get me wrong, Episode II looked great, but the only thing that I felt computers beat out with the old models was that the Rancor in Episode VI could have been better. But that's my take on it.
  11. Radiohead

    Radiohead Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 31, 2002
    Like most people here, I tend to think that there is no correlation between the budget of a movie and its quality. Just because a movie doesn't cost a lot of money, doesn't mean it tends to character or plot development better than a big-budget movie. The opposite is also true.
  12. Porkins in a Speedo

    Porkins in a Speedo Jedi Knight star 5

    May 6, 1999

    someone give Radiohead a cookie! ;)

    great movie/low budget: Clerks (budget: $30,000)
    great movie/high budget: The Rock
  13. TheFallen

    TheFallen Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 27, 2001
    I like both. I tend to like student films, or Indy films, because when directors are just starting out, they really want to get it as good as it possibly can because whether or not that one film makes it could decide their entire career.
  14. Kadue

    Kadue Jedi Knight star 5

    Jun 20, 2000
    Okay guys, actually start discussing the effect that the different budget sizes has and why each has its benefits and drawbacks, or I'll have to lock this thread.
  15. MoldyBread

    MoldyBread Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 10, 2000
    Low budget means that you probably are not gogint o get the 'A' list actors,a nd you will have to survive with lesser known people. That might also affect box-office - lesser knowns draw lesser crowds. Most of the time.
  16. Iwishiwasajedi

    Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 24, 2002
    Yes, A lower-budget film isn't going to get as much attention as say Star Wars. Now the reason with SW is Special Efects. More people would rather see the film with FX because they want to see how real the FX are or compared to other movies how good the FX are.

    And if it opened on a weekend with a film like Ocean's Eleven, OE is going to easily win because of stars. More money, more stars. More stars, More money. an Independent film isn't going to have Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts in it.

    Last off, A LB movie isn't going to make a lot of money no matter what because it'll only be in the big cities, and only in special theaters.
  17. AmadeusExMachina

    AmadeusExMachina Jedi Youngling star 3

    May 19, 2002
    Well, first off, things have changed.

    Low budget films of yore could have great actors in them, because the difference between a big budget and a small budget wasn't such a stretch in the old days of Hollywood, and besides, most of the old Hollywood stars started out in low budget films before moving up to the top tier pictures. So in those days, it was entirely up to the artists as to how good the picture was, no matter what the budget. In fact, in the older era of Hollywood, I'd say that the lower budget films were better most of the time, because they were given more attention by their creators, and had less studio interference. Of course, there were exceptions like Gone with the Wind and whatnot, but mostly, smaller, more independant films tended to be better.

    On the foreign front, budget doesn't seem to matter, since all are relatively small. Foreign films depend entirely on the skill of the directors for the most part, or at least they used to. Unfortunately, Hollywood has crept into other film markets to an extreme degree, and the odds of having another Kurosawa, Herzog, or Bergman seem quite poor.

    Now, on to the ACTUAL topic, which is how budgets effect the quality of films in this day and age.

    Well, here's the unfortunate truth. The entire thing is a horrible Catch-22 (ironically a large budget film itself).

    You see, a film made today with a low budget will have full creative control and likely a fervor and life and creativity that is almost unique to filmmakers just struggling to start their careers, but also poor technical quality (which can be overcome) and atrocious and painfully amateurish acting (which cannot be overcome).

    However, a big budget film will have the very best technology available in filmmaking, the most experienced directors, and the best, most accomplished actors. The problem? Studio interference and the desire to bring back the budget by appealing to as many demographics as possible water down the creativity and vitality of most big budget pictures......that's if they had good scripts in the first place. Big budget movies also tend to place too much emphasis on the technical side, so that the screenplay and the acting and the thematic aspects of the film are largely ignored in many cases. Example? Go watch Pearl Harbor, Bad Company, or anything else.

    Rambling is fun.
  18. Sticks

    Sticks Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 27, 2001
    For once, I'm going to take a slightly more positive stand on this issue.

    I'd like to illustrate my opininon by comparing two of my all-time favorite films. One is the 1997 low-budget sleeper sci-fi film Gattaca, written and directed by Andrew Niccol. The other is last month's highly-publicized extravaganza Minority Report, written by the late Philip K. Dick, and directed by Steven Spielberg.

    Both of these examples were blessed with an exceptional screenplay, a talented cast (Gattaca even included an at-that-time unknown Jude Law), and a driven director. Both contained underlying themes and hidden symbols that contribute greatly to the appeal of the film as a whole. Both had science-fiction elements and a message of human ingenuity triumphing over a corrupt and oppressive system. Both were critically acclaimed and lauded as groundbreaking cinema. Yet Gattaca remains largely unknown and considered a cult film, while Minority Report will go down in history as one of the most expensive and popular movies of all time. What's the difference?


    Gattaca had a budget of $36 million. Minority Report cost nearly three times that-- $102 million. While Gattaca made do with a relatively small amount of special effects-- relying on character and story to carry the film-- Minority Report, while still largely character-driven, was saturated with Industrial Light & Magic's computer-generated effects. There was some amount of CG in almost every shot, from intense action sequences to Dr. Hineman's attack plants to simple backgrounds in most outside shots.

    The storylines in Gattaca and Minority Report could have taken place in the same year, but due to its budget, Gattaca centered on a much smaller story that didn't demand many special effects. Perhaps if Jude Law's character, the paraplegic Jerome, had been equipped with a hovering wheelchair instead of a conventional one, Gattaca would have had a wider appeal. Perhaps if there had been some explosion-filled action scenes, the film would have grossed as much as Minority Report. If Andrew Niccol had expanded his budget to accommodate the kind of things modern audiences seek in films, Gattaca might be as popular as Minority Report. Likewise, if Minority Report had scrapped most of its CG and depended solely on Tom Cruise's acting and Steven Spielberg's directing, it might never have had the buzz it has now. (And it certainly wouldn't if it didn?t have Cruise and Spielberg in the credits.)

    But as bitter as all this might sound, I'm not complaining. Gattaca and Minority Report are separate entities, each a masterpiece in it's own right. It?s obvious that the directors of both films put quite a lot of energy into the production, and it shows, regardless of budget. However, although it?s nearly impossible for me to choose a favorite of the two, the general populace has obviously made it clear which film appeals to them, and I believe that in the end, it all comes back to the budget. Not only is that somewhat depressing, it?s also not the way movies should be. Unfortunately, it?s the way they are, and it?s a true shame that films like Gattaca must suffer for it.
  19. weezer

    weezer Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 16, 2001
    AmadeusExMachina hit the nail on the head. Big budget does equal poor movie sometimes because of the studio interference.

    You can see it in the way that they promote movies now. They used to promote to the target audience and thats about it. You've got a teeny-booper get the star on TRL. Kiddy flick? Run something on Nick. Twenty-something flick make sure the star gets on one of the late shows.

    Now it seems like everyone has to be on everything. You see star after star running from GM to the View to TRL to AH to ET...

    The studio wouldn't pay for all of these junkets if they didn't think that they had the script properly tailored for every demographic. [face_mischief]
  20. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999
    Well, another thing is, how well a movie sells depends very much on its marketing, and a movie won't get the marketing unless it has the stars. A decent-budget movie simply won't get greenlit unless a big name or two have agreed to do it (with the exception of special effects films, in which case it's the effects themselves that are the seller). So to have a movie that will make money, you have to pour a ton of money into the stars, so that the studio will in turn pour the money into the marketing. Independent films, no matter how good they are, will not in their original theatrical run get the marketing, and will therefore not get the big public attention most of the time.
  21. Qui-Gon Zero

    Qui-Gon Zero Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 26, 1999
    A well known cast doesn't always equal large box office numbers. American Beauty and The Blair Witch Project, among others, were able to pull off large box office numbers without any "A-list" actors. I think that large box offive numbers come from stories and characters that many people can identify with. Marketing does have a lot to do with how much a movie may make, but it doesn't always mean that the maketing campaigne is successful. Movies like Blair Witch and American Beauty had icredible marketing campaignes, but I feel that something as simple as "word of mouth", made those movies huge. Word of mouth can make or break a movie in most instances, which is probably why so many test screenings exist. Of course, this is just my opinion, but there have certainly been many movies that I was 50/50 on, that I didn't end up watching because opinions that I value have told me that they were terrible. In certain cases, I'd go anyway, but money doesn't grow on tress either.
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