This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Jerry Bruckheimer broke Hollywood.

Jerry Bruckheimer broke Hollywood. (photo)

Posted by on

Okay, that’s an overstatement. Bruckheimer’s films make money and lots of it. They’ve provided hours of guilty entertainment, not to mention the sight of Steve Buscemi as a dangerous convict in “Con Air.” An artistic philanthropist he’s not, but he generally gives the people what they want.

Nonetheless, it’s funny to read about his current budgetary woes regarding the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie — which will cost more than $200 million, sure, but still at least a third less than the budget of the last film. There are more cost-cutting measures, like shooting more on land than water to cut down on aquatic expenses and, most painfully, the loss of an “ice fair” of jugglers and carnies on the River Thames. There will be less effects as well, but as Bruckheimer says, “the audience will never miss it.” I believe him: there’ll be more than enough random other stuff thrown at the screen.

Everyone’s budgets are suffering, in part because of recessionary difficulties, but also because budgets have hypertrophied in the last decade, in ways that don’t always make sense. (Example: even if Judd Apatow made it and it stars both Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, why in the world did “Funny People” cost $75 million? Why is the proposed budget for “Anchorman 2” $70 million? What’s wrong with people?) And one of the people we can blame for this is… Bruckheimer.

05052010_armageddon.jpgWhen “Armageddon” came out, it wasn’t the most expensive movie made to date, but it was the most expensively budgeted in advance — “Titanic” ran way over budget, but “Armageddon” was planned from the start to be, by the standards of the time, insanely expensive. Its $140 million budget — run through a quick inflation calculator — would be about $183 million now.

Even 1991’s $102 million budget for “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” — one of the other most expensive planned films of the ’90s — comes out to be about $158 million now, so “Armageddon” beat even that. On a Wikipedia chart, it still comes in ranked pretty high.

And it worked, though Bruckheimer retreated to slightly smaller budgets for a while, and gambled and lost on the pricey “Pearl Harbor.” New Line’s “Lord of the Rings” would validate the hyper-expensive blockbuster later that year, and two years after that Bruckheimer was back in it with the first “Pirates of the Caribbean.” And, moreover, he continued to apply big budgets to movies that didn’t make any sense: “G-Force” — last summer’s movie about specially trained talking FBI animals — cost $82.5 million for a high concept that would’ve worked just as well as some low-budget CGI.

Bruckheimer wasn’t alone in driving budgets sky-high, but he’s as responsible as anyone for the idea that spiraling budgets were the norm of doing summer business rather than the carefully planned exception. The much-lamented death of the mid-budget drama can be attributed in part to the ever-widening gap he and so many others created. So fine, only four to six days to shoot a carriage chase instead of 12? Forget hiring Rob Marshall: hire an old Hong Kong workhorse and get it done. They know how to work fast and cheap.

[Photos: “Con Air,” Touchstone, 1997; “Armageddon,” Touchstone, 1998]

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More