Eleven million dollars. That’s roughly how much Star Wars cost, in 1977.
That’s not chump change, of course. Odds are that none of you reading this could suddenly conjure up that sum if you needed to. It’s only when you adjust the amount for inflation, and compare it to every budget of every major movie released between 2011 and 2015, as Matt Singer at ScreenCrush recently did, that you see just how much bang for the buck George Lucas used to get back when he had to find more creative solutions to problems than fixing them in post-production.
The Change-Up, that movie in which Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds switch bodies while urinating in a fountain, cost $52 million — more than the $43 million or so that Star Wars‘ $11 million figure is approximately worth today in buying power. Grown-Ups 2, a film with no noticeable special effects, almost doubles that at $80 million. It’s not so surprising that a CG-effects extravaganza like After Earth would cost more, but even Dredd, a genre flick considered “low-budget” (especially when compared to the Sylvester Stallone take on the tale) came in at $50 million (it made just over $13 million domestically, and $22 million foreign — that’s why you won’t be getting a sequel, alas). Robert Downey Jr. alone commanded a minimum of $40 million (plus bonuses) for Captain America: Civil War, although to be fair, he is arguably more crucial to the success of Marvel movies than any one actor is to Star Wars.
It does make one wonder how much the Special Edition changes cost by comparison. In 1997 dollars, I’m thinking it’s “more wealth than you can imagine!” Though Lucasfilm probably made it back in sales of “Han Shot First” T-shirts alone.
Check out the full list of recent films more costly than Star Wars in adjusted dollars, and be amazed.
Have filmmakers lost their creative edge? Or does the age of being able to do anything onscreen for any price make things better? Sound off below, and tell us what you’d greenlight if it were your call.