It's easy to look up at the screen during the latest over-hyped blockbuster and ask yourself, "They spent $200 million on this?" Every summer is filled with effects-driven bonanzas that arrive with enormous price tags -- Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War both cost over $250 million -- but that doesn't mean all that money was tossed in the trunk of Ben Affleck's Batmobile as he laughed all the way to the bank. Accounting is complicated.
While the way money is distributed varies from project to project, there are commonalities. For example, if you're name appears at the top of the credits, you can afford a nicer beach house. The above video from Vanity Fair does an effective job of breaking down who gets how much on a hypothetical blockbuster, using union rates and assistance from a cost consultant to help determine the amount paid for each job. It's pretty eye-opening.
The world of film budgets -- even for an independent feature -- can be a confusing, occasionally shady place. Audiences constantly hear about the large paydays that movie stars receive, but, as films become less reliant on celebrity performers and more dependent on complicated effects work accomplished by giant teams of artists, videos like this provide some much needed perspective. Deep into the credits, visual effects artists are pulling down $70K for their hard-work on a project. Even if some of these numbers are off-base, when you look at how many names and numbers there are, that $200 million budget begins to make sense.