HOLLYWOOD’S BIGGEST LIE (“The Budget Is? What it Costs to Make a Movie.”)


Let’s talk budgets. Movie Budgets to be specific… and how they so clearly demonstrate that “Hollywood Lies”.

The Million Dollar Feature Film? The $2-3M, $5-7M, $7-10M, $10-12M, $12-15M Feature? The $15-20 Million Budget? The $50-70 Million Studio Feature? The $200 Million Mega-Budget Franchise.

The budget. Why is everyone so obsessed with the budget.

Everybody wants to know “What’s the budget of your movie” and on the other side of the coin everyone wants to say “My budget is…. 

When in actuality whatever the budget of your movie truly is “is Nobodies Business”… That’s just business common sense.


 (“What our movie costs is none of your fr*ckin’ business”)

So why does Hollywood keep announcing the budget and then doing it within a range of numbers like $2-3M, $3-5M, $7-10M, etc…. at least if they’re going to announce their budget don’t you think they should know the exact number?

Further, have you noticed that “Hollywood” (aka: Distributors, Producers & Agents) is the only industry in-the-world that actually tells consumers what their product costs to make before they sell it to them.

Hmm? Very interesting. Think about that.

Can you name another industry where the manufacturer tells consumers what it costs to make their product?

Go ahead name one… just one.

I can actually come up with one other industry, “Vegas/Hotels/Casinos”, also an industry dependent upon marketing and creating an image, that actually announces the cost/room when they’ve built another Mega-Casino, for $3 Billion, with 200 rooms, at the cost of $1,500,000/room….

Yuk. Yuk. Yuk… I know what it costs to build and decorate a 300-500 sft room… it’s expensive but it ain’t in the millions

Other than Vegas-Casinos and Mega-Hotels… Hollywood is pretty much the only industry in-the-world where manufacturers (distributors-producers-directors) actually tell you, the-consumer, what it costs to make their product.


The budget for “Titanic” or “Avatar” is……

The budget for Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts next movie is…………

The budget for “Hangover VI-The 3D Musical” is…….

Then you here ridiculous numbers (dollar amounts) like $200 Million, $100 Million, $20-$30 Million, $15-$20 Million, $12-$15 Million, $10-$12 Million, $7-$10 Million, $5-$7 Million, $3-$5 Million, $2-$3 Million, etc.


“Hollywood is Bull Sh*ttin’ when a distributor or network states the budget.”

POINT OF INFO: Do you actually believe these numbers (dollar amounts) are actually real. And if you answer “Yes” then you are kind-of dumb!

HERE’S THE BOTTOM-LINE: From a distributors Point of View, the money spent (aka: budget) to make the film (taught in film school as the “negative cost”), is NONE OF YOUR FRICKIN’ BUSINESS. However, since you are rude enough to ask and naïve enough to think the answer you are about to get is actually the truth then distributors learned to manipulate you and give you a number that is inflated 600-800%.

Duh! Bottom-line is “They are marketing”.

“AVATAR” was expensive but $200-$400 Million.

Give-me-a-break. No way Jose. Who was in it? And don’t dazzle me with this crap about how expensive special effects are. Have you ever hired a “geek”? How much do you want to pay a “geek”?

$1,000/week? Wanna pay $2,000/week?

Now hire 50 of them. Do the math. Compute what these 50 “geeks”, who are very talented at their crafts, are grand total getting paid/year. Add on management. Add on cloud costs. Add on. Add on.

And with all the “Add ons”, plus Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam Worthington, Laz Alonso & Zoe Saldana salaries added on, this will still not come close to the reported “TITANIC” or “AVATAR” budget of $200,000,000.

Hollywood lies and Lie # 1 is “The Budget is…”

Always remember that whatever budget is is nothing but marketing…


Always remember “Hollywood is a marketing industry not a filmmaking industry”. Hollywood creates events every week. And Hollywood realizes that the higher the budget you think-it-is the more incentive-you-have to leave your house and give them $12-$15 at the theater.

So they inflate, inflate, inflate… they market and some people call marketing…lying.

Welcome to Hollywood


 “Hello Hollywood. I’m from the IRS (Independent Revenue Studio) and I’m calling to see what you really paid to rent a camera, or hire a grip or a buy a prop.”

My general rule for discovering the real budget (aka: the negative cost) for any Hollywood movie is to take the number (dollar amount) they give…. Then (A) move the decimal point one place to the left… Then (B) cut that number in half and you now have not the inflated marketing budget but the actual negative cost.


You are now learning how to be a Hollywood marketing genius.

Happy Filmmaking

Dov Simens

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