Yes, superhero movies are the most clear example of the bourgoise excesses of American capitalism. Comparing to the GDP of Latin American nations, a Marvel Cinematic Universe project will move enough money around to appear like a New York hedge fund. The budget for the original Avengers film, the one that capped out Phase I of the Marvel Studios world-building, was $250 million, making it one of the most expensive movies in history. The second Avengers movie maintained that price tag, but it may have seemed justified when each film raked in well over a billion dollars each. This on top of home video, on demand, merchandising, toys, and, of course, comic sales, this is a franchise that is basically printing its own currency.
This may have seemed like a vast empire, well it was until Marvel Studios announced that the next Avengers project, Infinity War, will have a full $1 billion budget. This will make it the most expensive film of all time by a pretty large margin, shaming previous holders of that award like Titanic and Avatar. It should be noted, however, that the film will be broken into two parts, but at $500 million each it still breaks all records.
So where is this movie going exactly? Well the studio has listed that a full $400 million of this will go to the “above the line” crew like the screenwriters, director, and various producers. This is important because we all know that Hollywood directors and producers are massively underpaid. Of the actor’s budget, a full half will go to Robert Downy Junior, an award that seems insulting to the other cast members at best.
It should be pointed out that this budget has already been awarded without a script having even been written yet. This is going to bring together Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, really hinging the entire project. This is also the first two-parter for the studio, so their fingers are permanently crossed.
We certainly hope this isn’t a trend that is going to continue, but as studio budgets get larger, indie budgets shrink, and we get fewer and fewer new film properties, this is likely to be the new standard.