How much does it cost to make a "Green Lantern" light? Apparently $300 million (including marketing). That's the number being tossed around in a New York Times profile on the film and it's a pretty staggering figure.
As has been well documented by now, the film has had a very rough ride on its way to theaters this Friday. When the first trailer dropped last fall, fanboys were not impressed and the special effects looked dire. Warner Bros. (much) later owned up getting the film out of the marketing gate too early, with the studio's marketing president Sue Kroll now saying, “We went out a little too early. For me it was a very important lesson. We had a great opportunity with ‘Harry Potter,’ but we didn’t have enough of the movie finished.” She also said, “Once we did have some great moments to show, the feedback was unbelievable. I think people are now engaged and primed.”
But are they $300 million primed and engaged? That's the big question. According to the NY Times, the film is tracking to open at $50 million or roughly the same business 'First Class' did (on a smaller budget, with much better pre-release buzz). Can the film leg out to $300 million and break even? Is Ryan Reynolds enough of an international star to make that happen? And moreover, will the film quiet the doubters who still view the film as green cheese? With the movie screening for critics this week the final word will soon be forthcoming about the studio says they're very happy with the movie but really, what else are they going to say at this point?
“It’s not a comic book movie as much as an epic adventure with huge scope and scale, a space opera in the vein of ‘Star Wars’ with an Earthbound ‘Top Gun’ vibe,” said Greg Berlanti, a producer and one of the writers on the film. If it can actually nail those comparison points, it could be truly something special. But that's a pretty big "if" right now.
As for what lies in the future for the franchise, it will all depend on this weekend. And while sequel talk has been around almost from the moment the first one started filming, director Martin Campell says he's not signed to do anymore and that's likely to pull back do something smaller next. He told SuperHeroHype, "I'm going to do a little film next. I don't know what I'm going to do, having just finished this one." Unlike the Marvel task of signing talent to multiple film contracts, Campbell and Warner Bros both likely took a wait-and-see approach before committing to any further movies, though undoubtedly, Reynolds and other key folks have options for more.
See for yourself how it all turns out and if that $300 million was well spent when "Green Lantern" opens this Friday.