It’s been estimated that The Call of The Wild, a man-befriends-dog-in-the-Alaskan-wilderness movie which cost $125 million to produce, will lose roughly $50 million when all is said and done.
I don’t know how costly the CG work was but we can assume it accounted for a sizable chunk of that $125M. (Probably a similar percentage for the CG work on The Irishman.) Not to mention the $15M or $20M plus points that Harrison “paycheck” Ford scooped up.
Are you telling me that The Call of the Wild would’ve stiffed if the producers had cast, say, Kurt Russell or Tommy Lee Jones or even Clint Eastwood instead of Ford? The family audience would have only required some grizzled old gus with a certain name-brand value. How much would one of those guys cost? Probably under $10 million…right?
And the common consensus is that The Call of the Wild would have been a more emotionally engaging film if it had been shot organically a la Randall Kleiser‘s White Fang (’91), which cost $14 million to shoot (or $27 million in 2020 dollars). Or in the vein of Jean Jacques Annaud‘s The Bear (’88). Or even Disney’s Perri, a real-life squirrel movie produced by Disney in ’57.