What’s It Worth?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011 @ 6:24 pm | Headline, News, Other

We often boast that The Asylum has never lost money on a movie (although we’ve certainly come close ).

As I’ve talked about (ad nauseum), this is partly because we never make a movie without knowing where we’re going to sell it. But it’s also because we try never to make a movie that costs more than it’s worth.

When I first started working at The Asylum, I quickly became aware of Two Truths: The First, that if we spent more money on our films, they might be better movies, and; The Second, that if we spent more money on our films, we’d probably never get it back.

Genre films have a certain value in the marketplace, and just because you spend more money on them doesn’t necessarily make them any more valuable.

As we’ve moved more into television, our budgets have certainly increased (VFX sharks and ’80′s TV actors aren’t free, you know…), and our biggest challenge has been making sure we don’t spend more than we can bring in.

Our two biggest budget films cost around $2 million. MEGAFAULT worked out because disaster movies sell everywhere in the world. But we’re probably only going to break even with MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID, because giant creature movies only work in certain territories. 

Interestingly, 100 MILLION BC, MEGA PIRANHA, and BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES also premiered on Syfy with comparable ratings… and these films cost less than a quarter of the budget of the other two. 

In other words, more expensive doesn’t always mean better.

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    17 Responses to “What’s It Worth?”

    1. Mike Says:

      Amen to that!
      HEAVEN’S GATE, INCHON, HELLO DOLLY!, and just recently, The GREEN HORNET and MARS NEEDS MOMS.

      Critically acclaimed movies don’t equate to box-office boffo either.

      So, KEEP CRANKIN’ ‘EM OUT, and get critically condemned
      …all the way to the bank!

    2. Slushie Man Says:

      Wanna back Mike up here. I’ve loved what you guys have been doing, so don’t ever change :)

    3. LRobHubbard Says:

      Well, the money certainly ain’t going to the writing and scripts, that’s for sure… at least throw the writer an extra $50 to have the script make SOME sense.

    4. Rick Says:

      Well to be honest Mike: Heaven’s Gate and Inchon were eviscerated by critics up on their releases :P But at least ‘Gate’ has achieved some positive critical growth after the heat cooled off.

      If anything when it comes to budgets, I’m surprised at times the amount of production value Asylum is able to cull from under a million bucks. Especially with ‘Merlin’ and ‘Holmes’.

    5. Chris aka Guestar Says:

      Hey,Im spending somewhere around $6K to make my Doves vs Pigeons flick and I have a star from ’80s Kids Tv Show !!! Hope I break even :)

    6. Maarten Says:

      I like your story above and I completely agree with it, but I have one comment:

      Although I liked Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, I think it could have been better if there were more actionscenes with the two creatures. I don’t really care about whether the VFX is bad – that’s part of the fun – , but when I’m going to see a cheap monstermovie, I want to see cheap monsters. And in this movie (and although I haven’t seen many of your other films) it was too much talk and too few monsterscenes.

    7. Alex Fishman Says:

      I’ve always known your budgets were microscopic and always thought you guys had a knack for making the most of every single penny. People who gripe about the SFX fail to realize you got a $10M look out of a helluva lot less. That’s a talent, no matter how under appreciated it might be.

    8. Matthew Mosley Says:

      Spider-Man is right around the corner. There’s still time to pull it off and a definate audience :-D (I would have thought SUNDAY SCHOOL MUSICAL would have been a hit…… then again i neverr saw a copy on shelves)

    9. Linda Drake Says:

      I would imagine that a low budget version of comic-book “characters”, like Spider-man, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, would bring out the studio lawyers because these are highly protected properties. However, ideas cannot be copyrighted. Robots, aliens, giant creatures and PD stories like War of the Worlds and Jules Verne stories are fair game to become Asylum gems!

    10. len Says:

      Love ur movies! keep doing it. I love the fact that u guys make the most of ur money. What i love most is that your highly entertaining and somewhat low budget movies are made by people that really love what they do, probably paid peanuts (a quess), but just love making movies and It Comes across! Hell with the snobs i love ‘em! Always fun and entertaining and always a joy!

    11. Rent. « Tacos and Beer Says:

      [...] Actual budget numbers from the Asylum. (via [...]

    12. Tysto Says:

      A little more TLC put in the screenplay would go farther than money in the vFX budget, in my opinion. But I’m also with Maarten that a monster movie needs good monster moments… not MORE monster moments, just solid ones.

    13. MUCHA MONEY Says:

      The problem with this bullshit is, there are plenty of movies made cheap but actually don’t seem to look down on the audience or filled with filler. It’s like you guys literally don’t care about the garbage you make, or if it’s even entertaining. Decent dialogue doesn’t cost more money than shitty dialogue. Your movies are just boring. I mean, Monster is just an absolute insult to anyone who watches it. NOTHING happens in that movie. Corman was cheap but his movies were fun. You guys just don’t give a fuck, and I don’t get it, why don’t you sell insurance or cars or something, you’d probably make more money.

    14. Zombi Says:

      Mucha if their movies are crap then why bother posting on here? Obviously its a love it or hate it situation but either way they are making money. Thats the point to this post. Maybe you need to just open your mind a little and appreciate them for what they are instead of what they arent. My point is that it is mindless fun, just a goofy good time, maybe they arent supposed to make sense. Ever watched a troma movie? Look at their fan following. Nothing they make makes sense. So smoke a joint and f’n enjoy life. Dont be so damn negative. If you think you know so much about making movies go make your own!

    15. Craig from the UK Says:

      Any film that features the famous ‘Asylum T Rex’ always gets my vote, where is he? I want him back. Lets have T Rex vs. Big Lobster Monster!!

    16. Arthur Brown Says:

      I love this company keep them movies coming

    17. PJCNET Says:

      You don’t need amazing special effects and a massive budget to create something amazing, look at the TV series Blake’s 7 for instance that was done a shoe string budget, it’s incredible SCI-FI that still has a big cult following, now why is that? The reason is it has a very good script, an excellent cast and most of all powerful characters that you won’t ever forget. Asylum really needs to work on the characters in their movies and also to improve the script dramatically.

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