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Production Budgets for DC Universe Animated Original Movies

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by Otaku-sempai, May 27, 2013.

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  1. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

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    Warner Bros. Animation insiders have estimated the average production budgets for the DC Universe Animated Movies at $3.5 million (US). At least one poster here (who shall remain nameless) has insisted that the DTV movies in this series that were produced by TMS had much higher budgets--about $78 million in the case of Green Lantern: First Flight.

    I asked Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew via e-mail about this. He replied:

    I hope that this settles the issue.
     
  2. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

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    There's likely a large amount of confusion/misunderstanding on the part of any individual who would think any DTV animated movie that WB put out was ever $78 million to release. That's theatrical-grade production costs right there and even then that budget would be way over allocation and heads would likely be rolling due to cost overruns, especially if it didn't at least make $200 million.
     
  3. mrbean1500

    mrbean1500 Member

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    I remember hearing in the Superman Unbound commentary (I believe James Tucker stated this) them saying that it's essentially 3 animated tv show episodes stitched together and that's how the budget works. And considering a full season of Young Justice costs 10mil, that 78mil budget for a single DTV sounds quite outlandish.
     
    #3 mrbean1500, May 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2013
  4. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    To put it into perspective, that's a bigger production budget than Shrek or Coraline, which cost about $60 million each to make. That's more than a third of the budget of the live action film.
     
  5. I_Spyral

    I_Spyral Moonrider

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    Yeah that sounds way too high.
     
  6. Pc-Famicom64

    Pc-Famicom64 Active Member

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    I will not trust a Ex-Spumco said member that had nothing to do with said production as far as I can toss him, also a few other things.

    1.I did asked TMS through E-Mail about the budget and Kazuhide Tomonaga reply back to my E-Mail and said to me.

    Tomonaga was one of the TMS directors on First Flight so he knows how it went.

    2. LilPri ( Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri (TV) - Anime News Network ) was only made because of all of the money TMS lost on it, if the DTV did not cost cost $78 million & was ditched off to some Korean studio, then LilPri will have never been made.

    3. To compare to other TMS productions, the average Lupin III special is only $1 million, the only specials that cost more were the ones done by Telecom (the unit that dose TMS' western stuff) which are Elusiveness of the Fog (cost $2.5 million) & Blood Seal - Eternal Mermaid (cost $9.8 million), for non TMS productions, Ghibli movies since Ponyo & Mamoro Hosoda's movies since The Girl Who Leapt Through Time are around $30 million each, extra money is needed for the pre sync audio & celebrity voices, the budget will be smaller if they just use real voice actors like Jim Cummings & Maurice Lamarche rather then hiring celebrities that cost a arm & a leg.
     
  7. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

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    You are in some serious denial, Pc. There is no way that any of these DTV animated movies have been produced on a theatrical budget. The production values are barely above those for an animated television program and even the celebrity voice-actors are not getting A-list money for participating in these films. You can boost the budget numbers by adding in the promotion budget, but even that isn't likely to get you above $5 million. I don't care what someone who claims to have worked for TMS told you. The person was either lying or having a go at you.
     
  8. Pc-Famicom64

    Pc-Famicom64 Active Member

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    I'm not in denial, TMS is one of Japan's A list studios and Japan's A list is not cheap, I can understand that with Doom & Elite because of bad outsourcing (one thing I can say about Doom's budget is the the money Kyoto Animation got from TMS to outsource for Doom was pocketed and Kyoto Animation spent the money on Tamako Market, that is one of a number of reasons why $2-3.5 million is not what TMS gets) TMS made sure that First Flight came out on top, also, Kazuhide Tomonaga has been at TMS since 1978, he knows what he is doing & he dose not lie about stuff like this, TMS pays their staff alot of money (when other studios are lucky to pay their directors $900 dollars a mouth) so TMS is not cheap.

    Also to repeat my self, the average Lupin III special is only $1 million to make, when the only specials that cost more to make were the ones done by Telecom (the unit that dose TMS' western stuff such as First Flight, Doom & Elite) which are Elusiveness of the Fog (cost $2.5 million) & Blood Seal - Eternal Mermaid (cost $9.8 million), for non TMS productions, Ghibli movies since Ponyo & Mamoro Hosoda's movies since The Girl Who Leapt Through Time are around $30 million each, extra money is needed for the pre sync audio & celebrity voices, the budget will be smaller if they just use real voice actors like Jim Cummings & Maurice Lamarche rather then hiring celebrities that cost a arm & a leg.

    Sure, some celebrities are cheaper then others, but that money is better spent on the animation, or at least make it cheaper to make; Why wast money on people who have no reason to do voice acting when you can get Billy West & Jim Cummings for alot less?
     
  9. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

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    Look, your proof is non-existent and your assumptions are just that. The bits of properly documented info out there says otherwise and these numbers you're pulling out of the air don't make sense for anyone involved. TMS may be "top-notch" but no way is WB paying that much money for such a small production. A lot of this celebrity voice talent may get paid more, but they're not raking in the multi-millions for these. The cost of 3 typical episodes of a WB-produced series is likely more in-line with the actual cost of the production with some more added in for the additional costs of the talent and to just make things look a bit nicer than normal episodic television budget constraints would allow.
     
  10. GWOtaku

    GWOtaku Moderator
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    Thanks Otaku-sempai, this was informative. I was getting curious about the approximate cost myself.

    Famicom, just to add further context in addition to what Shawn said - it is confirmed that Toei's Space Pirate Captain Harlock film, a very polished movie animated in 3D CG, cost approx. $30 million to make, and this is an unprecedented budget for that studio. Since 1997 most Miyazaki films (the very definition of A-list anime movies) have had budgets of between $20 and $25 million (Ponyo cost more, as you know). It is highly unlikely that any production TMS is affiliated with surpasses such numbers. Even Akira was made on $11 million.

    A point of disagreement here, if I understand things right, seems to be this assertion that the cost of hiring the celebrity voice actors that they do is just that awfully expensive, on top of the cost of actually animating the films. I don't think any animator would really be in a position to know this however, and it is something we cannot confirm for sure. But the bottom line is this: if these names truly did cost that much, the DCU movie line would be hemorrhaging money. The sales would not begin to cover the expense, and it is inconceivable Warner Bros would continue to make these movies for so long under such circumstances.
     
  11. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu That's 'Cause I ATE IT!!!
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    I think there's a perception that "celebrities" get more money to do VO roles than regular working voice actors, and I don't think that's always true. For a headliner in a DreamWorks or Pixar movie, maybe, but I suspect most VO talent in these movies is not paid much more than the scale + 10% that a standard VO commands, regardless of who they are. I'd be REALLY surprised to learn anyone in these DTVs earned anywhere close to the "million dollars" that Chris Rock famously quipped about at the Oscars.
     
  12. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Yeah, I always figured that Chris Rock thing only worked for Chris Rock and a few other huge stars in theatrical features. People whose names you can put on a poster.

    The star of Green Lantern: First Flight, on the other hand, is the guy who played Stabler on Law and Order SVU. Not a nobody, but not a huge star, either.
     
  13. reflection01

    reflection01 Well-Known Member

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    I think as a whole most working actors outside the A list don't make as much as we think they do.
     
  14. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

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    Short of Bruce Timm poking his nose into the forums and responding to this thread on his own, I'm not expecting any fully informed experts to show up here. I have sent a couple of other inquiries out on the subject to folks in the animation industry and am still wainting for responses. I will report on any that I receive.
     
  15. Pc-Famicom64

    Pc-Famicom64 Active Member

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    I have done the same thing as you & got the same thing as what Tomonaga said, plus if First Flight did not cost $78 million and it got ditched to a Korean studio, then LilPri will have never been made as the only reason why TMS did that show was because of all of the money TMS lost on it.

    1988 money is a moot point here (you got to put inflation into account), $11 million back in 1988 will be over $21 million today, plus Little Nemo's budget (another film that was called out for being called barely looking better then TV animation when it came out) was $35 million to make, but that was 1989 money, $35 million back in 1989 will be $63.8 million today, plus the Yen to Dollar rates were different back then too.
     
  16. Hordesman

    Hordesman slashor

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    Little Nemo had staff brought in from the US but their contributions didn't really show outside of development art.
     
  17. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

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    You don't seem to realize just how insane your assertion sounds. You are stating that TMS and Warner Bros. spent more than 20 times what any other studio would have (and what WB was spending on the other movies in this series) on a made-for-home-video animated movie. And did so without showing any signifucant improvement of production values. It just doesn't make any sense no matter what excuse you give for it.

    And you wonder why nobody believes you.
     
    #17 Otaku-sempai, May 29, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2013
  18. Philmister978

    Philmister978 Alvight, you vin

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    You know, I always figured the movies were made under $5 million. I mean most DTV animated films are, so PC's accusations are damned incorrect.

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news PC, but I'm more than certain the person who sent you that information was trolling you. And you fell directly into his/her/its trap.
     
  19. tenderheartbear

    tenderheartbear Active Member

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    Sorry if I misread this thread, but is Pc-Famicom suggesting that Green Lantern: First Flight had a production cost of $78 million (US)?

    That would be crazy money for any straight to DVD animated title. If all other DC related titles have been mooted in the $3 million region (both before and after GL:FF) then something would have to have gone terribly wrong during production and any WB executive would have pulled the plug long before it got into double (ie: $10 million) figures. They would have cut their losses at $5 million, especially seeing as how the Green Lantern movie was going out of control.


    No amount of animation issues or stunt casting would have made the figure go that high. Even assuming the actors WB gets for these movies don't work for scale (which they probably do more or less), you can't tell me that Nathan Fillon charges as much as Peter Weller, James Woods or even Kevin 'the voice of Batman' Conroy. Something doesn't make sense.
     
  20. Philmister978

    Philmister978 Alvight, you vin

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    Yes, yes he is.

    Aren't most DTV movies nowadays under $10 million? I mean, judging from how "Emerald Knights" was only made for $3.5 mil. It's obvious that any of these films will never make it above the $5 million mark, production wise.

    Let's look at it this way, shall we? The actors aren't "A-Listers" and the animation is largely shipped out to Moi in South Korea (and to Japan at times), so that's probably a good indicator right there that the budgets won't be too high.
     
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