Paradise Lost lost?
According to early rumours Alex Proyas' epic sounding film Paradise Lost could well have been halted altogether by Legendary. Already on hold the project had been paused in order to revise budgets and bring the cost down from the apparent US $120 million it was already expected to break.
The most frightening news is just how much money has been spent on the project already. The reason for the failure was apparently the required effects budget to make the heavenly war real on screen.
Paradise Lost is the adaptation of John Milton's poem Paradise Lost and was set to visually depict a war between angels in heaven; something that you can already see would be stretching effects teams, or would it?
I wonder just how much the effects are really squeezing production because this doesn't sound like something that would stretch a film effects team these days, well not to the point of breaking budgets and cutting edge anyway. Sure it would mean a lot of work and the film would be effects heavy, but we see those types of films all the time.
Perhaps the reason was that most films we see have some grounding in reality and this film would be entirely about the angels and their battles depicting heaven and hell and not breaking the effects heavy scenes with more practical or straight green screen shots.
I'm not sure as the rumour that comes through Deadline doesn't have that sort of detail, but it does say that they were sure it was about the effects and the film was halted originally to try and find a way to pull back that budget and tone it down a little, pulling it back from the "10% or 15%" that the film was already expected to go over $120 million.
The article also says that the production has already spent something around the low eight figure mark so far but that since the film was never green lit it should not have to pay for the cast or any "pay or play" deals.
This is becoming a little bit of a trend here, we've seen a number of big budget and big name productions being reigned in of late from Akira to Lone Ranger and even Arthur & Lancelot cancelled. Can we simply blame the current economic pressures? Are the big studios starting to realise that their budgets are out of control and need to be heavily reigned in?
If that is the case then they need to start looking elsewhere from the immediate production and look to the entire cost, stars salaries included. I mean if people are having a go at bankers about the amount they gain in bonuses each year just look at how much an actor can earn on a major production, and how many they can star in a year, and if I hear another major actor say "I have to pay the mortgage" they can go and jump.
Perhaps it's time to look at the entirety of a film budget and think carefully about what really makes a film return profits across its entire life, otherwise films are going to keep pushing the budget boundaries and studios are going to keep pushing back in almost every department, and often on films that audiences want to see. After all Paradise Lost, Akira, Arthur & Lancelot, these are films with the potential for a big audience.