Fox Chairman Has 'No Doubt' That Avatar Will Make a Profit
I already know that this artucke is going to spark some heated debate, so let's just get on with it. Despite claims that James Cameron's Avatar will cost upwards of $500 million total including marketing costs (via New York Times, two weeks ago), Fox says they can still make a profit. Reuters (via SlashFilm) ran an article yesterday with a few select quotes from Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos, who first says that the $500 million estimated cost is "ridiculous." He also adds that that number "has actually no relationship to the actual cost of the movie" and goes on to talk about how they will make a profit on it.
"People keep repeating a number, which was as if you added the cost of building the studio 80 years ago to the cost of Avatar." Sounds like the public's obsession with how much Avatar costs has really started to get under the skin of these Fox execs. Gianopulos wouldn't give them an accurate number, obviously, but said that it's "some way away from the reported figure." So if it's not $500 million, is it $200 million or what?
"The movie was quite expensive, there is no question about that. But viewed now, from the perspective of its completion and having seen it, it's a formidable work and money well spent," said Gianopulos, who chairs Fox's movie and television production together with Tom Rothman.
When asked if it would make a profit, Gianopulos said, "I have no doubt about that." Considering this interview was conducted in Greece, let's not forget that he's thinking about this from a global perspective. Most box office gurus debate over the US box office total alone, often times forgetting that movies can make more than double at the worldwide box office. And maybe, just maybe, Avatar could do well enough around the world to bring back at least $500 million. Fox is pretty good with international marketing. They did turn Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs into the 3rd biggest overseas box office earner just this year, remember?
I'm not sure how to respond to this yet because I'm not a box office addict and I don't go around debating how much one movie will make or if it'll fail, so I don't want to get into that discussion too much. But these are very interesting statements, especially because I know that they'll bring about plenty of controversy and debate in the comments, for better or worse. Gianopulos says he expects audiences to pay premium prices to see Avatar on some 8,000 3D screens worldwide. Plus, there's the two other outside companies (Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Media) that supposedly pitched in more than 60% of the production budget.
Devindra Hardawar from SlashFilm thinks he's just saying this to distract people from worrying about the cost of Avatar. He says: "Quite honestly, he could be bluffing about the budget to manage the severity of Avatar's failure if it does flop." But, appropriately, he reiterates the most important concern. "At this point, I’m less concerned about Avatar's box office potential and more so with the quality of the film." I'm not as concerned as he is about the quality, but he's dead on with that. Only time will tell what happens to Avatar.