Jeremy Gardner, director of The Battery says that horror fans are more attracted to how the films affect them than seeing movie stars. This allows horror films to focus more on provoking a reaction than on expensive casting choices. Thriller films are also a popular choice for low-budget films, as they focus on narrative.
Plot devices like shooting as found footage can lower production costs, and scripts that rely on extended dialogue, such as Reservoir Dogs or Sex, Lies, and Videotape, can entertain audiences without many sets. A considerable number of low- and modest-budget films have been forgotten by their makers and fallen into the public domain.
The makers of the film do not know how well the film they release will be received. They may predict a film will do very well and pay back the cost of production, but only get a portion back. Or the opposite may happen where a project that few think will go far can bring in more profit than imaginable.
Clerks launched Smith’s career as a director and he has made several considerable higher budget films. Rocky was shot on a budget of $1 million and eventually grossed $225 million worldwide, making Sylvester Stallone a star. Halloween was produced on a budget of $325,000 and grossed $70 million worldwide.
How to Calculate a Production Budget
Many young or first time filmmakers shoot low-budget films to prove their talent before doing bigger productions. Most low-budget films that do not gain some form of attention or acclaim are never released in theatres and are often sent straight to retail because of their lack of marketability, look, story, or premise.
Some genres are more conducive to low-budget filmmaking than others. Horror films are a very popular genre for low-budget directorial debuts.
Frequently stars are brought on to a project to gain the film publicity and fame. This process can be profitable, but it is not a foolproof mechanism to successful funding. Well-known actors may join a low-budget film for a portion of the gross. Managers use the productionbudgetto estimate how many units they will need to produce in future periods based on the future estimated sales numbers. They also use this report as a planning tool for future production processes, machine times, and scheduling.
Though movie studios are reluctant to release the precise details of their movies’ budgets, it has occasionally been possible to obtain (clandestinely) details of the cost of films’ breakdowns. For an example of a budget for a $2 million independent feature, see Planning the Low-Budget Film by Robert Latham Brown. A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with little to no funding from a major film studio or private investor. Many independent films are made on low budgets, but films made on the mainstream circuit with inexperienced or unknown filmmakers can also have low budgets.
- Horror films are a very popular genre for low-budget directorial debuts.
- Some genres are more conducive to low-budget filmmaking than others.
How do you calculate production budget?
The production budget tells the business owner how many units of the product to produce to meet sales needs and ending inventory requirements. There are three parts to the production budget: direct materials purchases budget, direct labor budget, and overhead budget.
Additionally, some low-cost films that have had little (or modest) success upon their initial release have later been considered classics. The Last Man on Earth was the first adaptation of the novel I am Legend by Richard Matheson. Due to budgetary constraints, the vampires in the film were zombie-like creatures instead of fast and agile monsters portrayed in the novel. This approach (and film) was not considered a success at the time, but it inspired George A. Romero’s work in his film Night of the Living Dead.
They use this to gain acclaim and attention for their films, which often leads to a limited release in theatres. Slacker, a 1991 comedy-drama film written and directed by Richard Linklater, was produced for $23,000. Influenced by the success of Slacker, Clerks was written and directed by Kevin Smith for $27,575 in 1994 which he paid for on his credit card and grossed $3.2 million in theatres.
What is included in a production budget?
Production Budget Definition. The production budget calculates the number of units of products that must be manufactured, and is derived from a combination of the sales forecast and the planned amount of finished goods inventory to have on hand (usually as safety stock to cover for unexpected increases in demand).
Even though Sony’s out of pocket for the film was reduced because of the incentive, it does not negate the fact that the actual cost (amount spent during production to make the film) was still $129.6 million. Another example would be the 1977 cult film Eraserhead, which cost only $10,000 to produce. Director David Lynch had so much trouble securing funds that the film had to be made over a six-year period, whenever Lynch could afford to shoot scenes. In 2014, journalist Kyle Smith estimated the film has grossed over $7 million.
There is no precise number to define a low budget production, and it is relative to both genre and country. What might be a low-budget film in one country may be a big budget in another. Modern-day young filmmakers rely on film festivals for pre promotion.
Production managers have to estimate the future demands and plan out the workflow to make sure everything is produced timely and there aren’t long periods of wait time or down time. A production budget is an estimate that may change based upon changes outside the company.
For example, manufacturing requires the use of raw materials; an increase in the price of raw materials can increase the costs needed to produce a product. Also, the unavailability of a raw material or ingredient can require a business to source a new material to use in the manufacturing of the product. This might lead to increased costs, but it also could lead to cost savings if the company can obtain the new ingredient for less than the cost of the original. One of the consequences of the Sony hack was the release of budget information of many films or TV shows, including the 2015 Adam Sandler film Pixels.
One of the most successful low-budget films was 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. It had a budget of around US$60,000 but grossed almost $249 million worldwide. It spawned books, a trilogy of video games, and a less-popular sequel.
Calculation of Production Needs
Napoleon Dynamite cost less than $400,000 to make but its gross revenue was $46 million. Divisions of major film studios that specialize in such films, such as Fox Searchlight Pictures, Miramax, and New Line Cinema, have made the distribution of low budget films competitive. The money flow in filmmaking is a unique system because of the uncertainty of demand.
The direct materials budget calculates the materials that must be purchased, by time period, in order to fulfill the requirements of the production budget. It is typically presented in either a monthly or quarterly format in the annual budget. In a business that sells products, this budget may contain a majority of all costs incurred by the company, and so should be compiled with considerable care. Otherwise, the result may erroneously indicate excessively high or low cash requirements to fund materials purchases.