Last year I posted about Digital Domain’s $17M investment to co-produce Ender’s Game where former CEO John Textor handicapped the numbers:
If the film does $60 million at the domestic box office, dare I say a number that low, that is beyond abject failure for a film anticipated like this, we would have total proceeds, that when combined with our initial outlay of $18 million, we’d lose about $6.8 million.
That was then and this is now:
After topping the box office last weekend, Ender’s Game plummeted 62 percent to $10.3 million this weekend. Through 10 days, the sci-fi flick has earned $44 million, which is a bit behind notorious 2013 bomb After Earth. With The Hunger Games: Catching Fire coming in two weeks, it’s likely that Ender’s Game continues its quick fade.
and the price for Digital Domain doesn’t end there:
Additionally, the company agreed to contribute visual-effects work at “cost,” without charging a markup for its services on the film. That had a value of about $10 million, which would be recouped by giving Digital Domain a share in box-office revenues, said Textor, the former CEO of Digital Domain Media Group.
I’m all for studios sharing the profits with VFX companies but this has set a dangerous precedent for the industry as VFX vendors are not only asked to offer a severe discount for their services, they are also obligated to offload the risky costs:
But if it’s any consolation, at least Lionsgate only financed around 20% of that total, leaving the majority of the burden with fellow financiers Oddlott Entertainment and Digital Domain.
There seems to be this idea that co-productions will make things better for VFX facilities but what did it do for Rhythm & Hues and CafeFX?
Now all attention turns to Prime Focus which has entered into a similar deal with the production of Sin City 2. PF has invested $19M to handle all 2300 shots of the film. PF has mostly done 3D conversions for films with a share of VFX shots on some films. They’ve never taken on this much work and for all the articles and people that have said India is ready for the big leagues, now is your chance to prove the rest of us wrong.