Brad Grey‘s Paramount will live or die in the next 15 months,” David Poland wrote earlier today in a riff about the completion of the Dreamworks/Reliance deal, and its aftermath.
“But do keep in mind what Par is trying to ride to success. From their press release: “Star Trek by JJ Abrams, G.I. Joe by Stephen Sommers, Transformers 2 by Michael Bay, David Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man 2.”
Star Trek — No Star Trek film has ever cracked $150 million worldwide. There is a good chance that this new, JJ Abrams, fun and gun Trek will break that number. But the film reportedly has gone past the $150 million budget mark, meaning that $300 million worldwide is about the lowest worldwide gross the film can do and get to profit. Double the best ever for the franchise. But hey, Batman did it.
GI Joe – A franchise that has not had the cultural significance of Transformers in recent decades, yet greenlit at $170 million.
Transformers 2 – $200 million-plus budget, co-owned by DreamWorks (without investment) and big dollar one gross points to exec producer Steven Spielberg.
“The Curious Tale Of Benjamin Button — It may win best Picture, but with a $150 million-plus production budget and WB taking foreign, it will need Troy or Mr. & Mrs. Smith or Ocean‘s domestic numbers for Par to get close to it being a money maker.
Iron Man 2 – Not owned by Paramount. Once again, a distribution fee only. But this too will be insanely expensive.
“Get the picture? With marketing, you’re looking at an investment of over a billion dollars on four movies next year (not including Marvel’s Iron Man 2, a 2010 title). And there are 5 other Par-only pics on the sched for next year.
“But counting the films that the studios didn’t make profit-on-production with this year (Iron Man/Indiana Jones IV/Kung-Fu Panda/Madagascar 2), their best grossing year ever, the studio might get to $1.6 billion domestic and about $1.5 billion overseas.
“If they can match this year’s numbers with next year’s movies (starting with Ben Button), they will have some profit. But let’s give Transformers 2 its $700 million again. Can any of the other movies match that? Top that?
“Taking post-theatricals into account, theatrical numbers to make breakeven on the four pictures is somewhere between $1.7 billion worldwide and $2.1 billion worldwide, depending on how big a chunk the points players take.”