Marvel Studios is looking to either go big or go home with Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel, as a report has just come in stating that the two films are easily going to be the most expensive in history with a collective production budget of a billion dollars. (Yes, you read that correctly)
Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Dan Cathy – co-owner of Pinewood Atlanta Studios and CEO of Chick-fil-A – has claimed that Pinewood is hosting a film project that’s insanely expensive. His official statement is as follows:
“We now have on the lot down there now the largest film production ever with a $1 billion budget.”
Cathy didn’t specify what this “mystery” movie was, and studio agreements more or less kept him from spilling the beans that it was Avengers: Infinity War. It’s not hard to put two and two together here, since nothing else of that scale is being filmed at Pinewood right now. From the beginning, it was clear that Infinity War was going to be the most ambitious superhero movies ever. But now, it’s sounding as though the duology of films will comprise the most ambitious film production in history. James Cameron’s Avatar, the previous movie to that could remotely be comparable in terms of scope and scale, had an estimated (though not officially reported) production budget of $425 million. Let that sink in for a moment – the next two Avengers movies will individually cost more than the movie that Twentieth Century Fox investors were initially worried was so expensive that it could have tanked their company.
Surprisingly enough, this is not actually the first time that we’ve heard this rumor. Bleeding Cool previously broke this story all the way back in October 2015 – and if their report is indeed indicative of how the massive budget is still being spent, then $400 million of that total is going to the screenwriters, producers, directors, and cast of the two movies. Of the portion of that budget reserved for the cast, Robert Downey Junior will get half. In all likelihood, Marvel Studios will likely find a way to write-off tens – or possibly hundreds – of millions of dollars through tax incentives. It’s also not hard to imagine that the licensing will help manage this titanic budget, as it’s likely the movies will have an absurd level of licensed tie-in goods that we haven’t truly seen since the days of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, to the point where the movie may actually break even (or even profit a little) before a single seat has been filled in the theater.
As it stands, Marvel currently has a strong enough track record that betting against them would be unwise – even if these two movies somehow manage to lose money when all is said and done, the continued success of their other brands will allow them to cover for potential losses. But really, who are we kidding here? It’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe – it’s going to pay for itself at this point.