George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have already cautioned about an industry "implosion" that may occur as projects get more expensive and thus riskier, while Steven Soderbergh has also sounded the alarm on filmmaking driven purely by profit margin. But if you need any more evidence about how important the almighty dollar is becoming when it comes to movie-making, here's a little morsel to contemplate this weekend.
Even though it's still two months away from hitting theaters, money is already being counted for the mega-sequel "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." Alan Gould of investment group Evercore has peered into his crystal ball and predicted a massive $950 million haul for 'Catching Fire,' with the movie projected to make $375 million domestically (which would actually be less than what the first "The Hunger Games" did) with $575 million more coming worldwide (clearly, they're banking on business abroad). Should his guesstimates come true, this would certainly be a leap in profits for the franchise. In short, it would mark a roughly 35% jump in ticket sales between the first and second movie, and of course, nip at the heels of a being a billion-earner.
But if it doesn't make $950 million... will 'Catching Fire' be perceived as a failure? A silly question, certainly, but that's the territory we're in these days. Studios and the banks who help finance their pictures are increasingly looking for bigger ROI, while countless licensers, book publishers and more also all have stakes in keeping a tentpole as huge as possible. Of course, there is something a bit twisted about already wondering how many zeroes a movie will have months before it even opens.
We'll see if Alan Gould has some explaining to do when "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" arrives on November 22nd. But do you think any of "The Hunger Games" sequels will reach the billion dollar peak?