Ways TV and Film Productions Saved Money
One of the most memorable scenes from the first season of game of thrones — and perhaps the show as a whole — unfolded as an emotional conversation between Cersei and her husband, King Robert Baratheon. The dialogue conveyed their mutual disdain and the ruinous state of their marriage, while containing surprising moments of humor and understanding.
According to a Q&A with showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss posted by Deadline in 2013, this scene and others like it came about because their episodes were short and they had to add more scenes – about a hour and a half throughout the season – without going over budget. Benioff explained, “Because we were out of money, it had to be inexpensive scenes, like two actors in a play. We definitely couldn’t add in fight stuff.”
But he said the scenes created as a result of those limitations “ended up being some of our favorites of the season.” He gave the example of the Cersei and Robert scene and said that previously the couple had not shared screen time alone together, despite their status as (extremely dysfunctional) married couples.
Benioff said, “The show would have been much weaker without that and other ‘Hail Mary’ scenes that we started at the time because we were out of money.”
Between her legendary superhero name and her deadpan resistance to all of Deadpool’s antics, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) seems like a natural addition to the dead Pool the cast of the franchise, but according to a trailer director Tim Miller did for Empire in 2015, she was a last-minute replacement for another mutant whose powers required special effects beyond those that production could afford.
Miller explained, “We had Garrison Kane in there for a while, but during the last round of budget cuts, we had to take him out because he was a pretty expensive dude. He’s got these bionic arms that change of form; he would have been a visual effect for much of the film. And ultimately, a visual effect too far. While looking for a replacement on a “list of Marvel characters”, Miller discovered Negasonic Teenage Warhead. the screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, agreed that she was the right choice to take the place of Garrison Kane.
And with what dead PoolThe “taking a hammer to the fourth wall” approach to superhero filmmaking, it’s only natural that Deadpool himself would reference the film’s budget constraints.
Speaking of dead Poolscreenwriter Rhett Reese told io9 that just before they started filming, 20th Century Fox told them they had to cut “$7-8 million from the budget in a 48-hour window,” which was about nine screenplay pages.
Their solution? Compress three characters – Sluggo, Wire, and the previously mentioned Garrison Kane – into one (Angel Dust, played by Gina Carano), cut a motorcycle chase between Deadpool and Ajax, and perhaps most famously of all, make forgetting Deadpool’s big bag of guns in a cab during the film’s third act.
Reese reflected, “It was that last lean, nasty chop that got us to a place where Fox was willing to do it. The script was very effective and not too long. It was a budget function more than anything, but I think it paced the movie really well.”
Back to the future screenwriter Bob Gale told Collider that in the original version of the script, “The idea [was] that the DeLorean was nuclear powered, [and] literally, they needed to harness nuclear energy to send the time machine back. The finale took place in a model city built to test a nuclear bomb explosion, with Marty nestled inside a time-traveling refrigerator, ready to absorb the energy of the explosion.
But when the studio asked them to cut a million from the budget before they started filming, they decided they didn’t need to build the ill-fated town after all. Instead, they used a set on a backlot that was already available to them. Gale recalled, “For one weekend, we spent time walking around the backlot back and forth to our offices, and we imagined the whole clock tower sequence.” Apparently, a thunderbolt is much cheaper than a mushroom cloud.
And if you recognize the whole gamble of surviving a nuclear explosion in a refrigerator, Gale says it’s because Stephen Spielberg was “inspired by the original ending of Back to the future” while doing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skullwhich begins with Indy pulling off the fridge trick in a nuclear test town.
In the same interview, Gale said the film’s opening, which reveals all the quirky gadgets in Doc Brown’s lab, was another cheap substitution for a more elaborate and expensive sequence.
Gale recalled that originally, “We had this whole thing where Marty is stuck in detention and he sets off the fire sprinklers in the classroom to get out of detention and escape to get to his audition. , and we realized that it was a lot of filming, a lot of logistics, and we didn’t need all that.” The set they needed wasn’t finished, so they decided to scrap the idea and use an off-the-shelf set: Doc Brown’s Lab.
Gale said, “Of course it turned out to be much better than what we had in the script.”
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and his friends accidentally meet Neville’s parents while visiting Mr. Weasley at the magical hospital in Saint Mongoose. They are horrified when informed by Neville’s grandmother that his parents have been tortured to insanity by Voldemort’s followers, leaving them permanently incapacitated. Although Harry already knows this story by the time he sees Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, it’s a heartbreaking moment, and one that fans were disappointed to see cut from the film adaptation.
In a 2007 interview, screenwriter Michael Goldenberg told Salon that while the creative team wanted to keep the stage, they just didn’t have the money they needed to build a whole new set. Goldenberg said, “And whatever people think of Harry Potter films, there are no unlimited budgets, and we didn’t really need them to tell the story, so that was cut. But it was something we all clung to until the very end, and I would have liked to see it. So, although the story of Neville’s parents is still included in the film, it has been significantly altered: Neville only told Harry, and their conversation took place in the Room of Requirement, rather than ‘to the hospital.
According to an interview with Austin Powers director Jay Roach published by the Directors Guild of America Quarterly, a joke in Austin Powers: The International Mystery Man was born because they had to substitute a more expensive version for what Myers apparently called “moneyless fun”.
In the film, Dr. Evil throws a tantrum when the sharks with lasers he requested are replaced with moody mutant sea bass, apparently because the environmental shields placed on the sharks are too burdensome to navigate. Much like Dr. Evil, the creative team hoped for laser sharks, but had to settle for the much more reasonably priced rubber bar.
However, they managed to catch these sharks by Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third film in the series. The results are… disturbing.
One of the most recognizable jokes in Monty Python’s illustrious history is found in Monty Python and the Holy Grailwhere King Arthur’s squire, Patsy, knocks coconut shells together to replicate the sound of a horse’s hooves, without all the hassle of, you know, real horses.
In an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, John Cleese said budget restrictions were the reason “Michael Palin, bless him, came up with the idea for coconuts”. He continued, “Necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes when you don’t have much and you have to improvise, sometimes that’s when the best ideas come along.”
Speaking of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the ‘broken equals better’ rule: According to Variety, Michael Palin’s private archives, which he donated to the British Library, revealed that the film’s original ending involved a battle between the English, the French and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.
But that turned out to be too much of an expense, so instead the battle is cut short when King Arthur is arrested by decidedly non-medieval British cops.
In Rockythe promising and titular boxer takes his love, Adrian, to an empty ice rink for a little after-hours skating.
According to the AFI catalog entry for the film, the closed rink was an economical solution to the cost of paying for extras, many of which would be required in the original version of the scene. The resulting solution is cheaper, not to mention more romantic.
And finally: In a 2010 interview with the AV Club, screenwriter and star Leigh Whannell and director James Wan described how their 2004 horror film Seen was born out of their mutual lack of funds after graduating from film school.
Whannell said: “James and I didn’t even think about Seen until a few years after film school, because at the end of film school, we had this existential problem that all film school graduates face. Namely poverty. So we were like, ‘How are we going to make a movie when you have all these great ideas? Great ideas cost money.'”
A movie about two people stuck in a room together turned out to be the right approach to their budget issues. Wan said, “If we had made this movie with a bigger studio with studio funding behind it, I think the movie would have a very different feel and look. … The movie I ended up with was more grainy and rough around the edges, due to the lack of time and money we had to shoot the film with.”