What would Spielberg, Cameron or Scott do with $25 mil?

Earlier my partner and I were chatting about movies as we often do. In fact, our lives are on big movie conversation interrupted by tedious things like sleeping. The conversation came around to the great action sci fi's of the 70's and 80's. Their was a crop of young directors who all started making films in this time; Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, James Cameron and George Lucas.

Since then, these men have become some of the most powerful forces in Hollywood. Basically, any movie they want to make, they fill in as many zeros on the check as they want and rest easy that they'll make the money back and then some. I think though that their best work was done when they had more limits. Not to say that none of them have made a great movie since the 80's; some of them, at least certainly have, but their is much to be said for constraints producing great art.

Advertisement

My plan, my pie in the sky, it'll never happen but wouldn't it be wonderful if it did is, to bring the constraint back. Give each of them $25 mil, one year and send each of them off to make a film. An original, non franchise, sequel or spinoff in the sci fi, action and/or horror genres.They would have to shop for scripts around Hollywood, preferably by new upcoming writers. They would need to find cinematographers, editors, actors etc., all willing to work for them within their budget. To be clear, they would be modern films, not pastiches of their past works, with modern sensibilities and effects, just with the kind of budgets they started out with. It could be a friendly competition, winner being measured by a combination of box office and critical regard. The studios would finance them no problem, the movies would be guarantied to make money. It would be fucking amazing! Could they do it? Who knows, but it would be amazing to see them try.

Now, there is a reason George Lucas isn't in my headline. Of the four, I think he would be the least likely to do it and isn't really a director anymore, but I felt to excludes him would be silly, given his place in Hollywood.

I came to the number of $25 mil based on the average cost of each one of their early movies adjusted for inflation. The movies I picked and how much they made are:

The Terminator (1984), budget $6.4 million - around $14 mil today

Alien (1979) budget $11 mil - around $ 34 mil today

Jaws (1975), budget $7 mil - around $ 30 mil today

Star Wars (1977), $11 mil - around $41 mil today

(budgets from Box Office Mojo)

I then proceeded to pull $25 mil out of my arse as a number that seemed fair. The number itself isn't that important as long as it's well below their usual budgets. 25 just has a nice feel to it. Go on guys take some time away from the big leagues and challenge yourselves.

Advertisement

So! What do you think? Who would be most likely to do it? Who'd cheat? Is there anyone else you'd like to set this challenge to?

Share This Story