J.J. Abrams has proven time and again that it’s possible to make a successful blockbuster without breaking the bank. He just wishes that other directors and studios would jump on the bandwagon.
“It is preposterous and embarrassing that movies cost what they do,” he said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.
We’ve been saying the same thing for years, but it’s very refreshing to hear the words come out of the mouth of one of Hollywood’s biggest directors. Abrams seems to try to practice what he preaches, reportedly being one of Paramount Pictures’ most frugal directors even though the budget on “Star Trek 2” ended up going up to $185 million. But he hasn’t blown $250 million on films like “The Dark Knight Rises” and “John Carter” did, and his movies almost always turn a profit.
Abrams has also proven that he’s just as capable with movies that don’t cost much as he is with films that do. “Cloverfield” and “Super 8” are two of his biggest success stories, and they cost $25 million and $50 million respectively. Abrams is still guilty of a bloated budget or three, but at least he’s always conscious of trying to keep the money down.
“Certainly on ‘Star Trek’ and the sequel and on ‘Mission: Impossible’ three and four, we had massive budget issues always,” he said. “Yet we always get it figured out before production starts and realize that the money you don’t get forces you to rethink something and challenges you to figure it out in a new way.”
This past year has proven more than any other that flashy expensive movies don’t always mean that success is guaranteed. But studios have been throwing more and more money into films in a go-big-or-go-home strategy, and it doesn’t always work out well in the long run. Abrams said he believes that the focus should be on trying to make quality films on reasonable budgets instead of having everything cost as much as “Avatar.”
“I am as interested in and obsessed with what can be done in the feature world for a price as anyone at any studio,” said Abrams. “I feel like it is incumbent upon filmmakers today to treat it like their own money.”