On her Thompson on Hollywood blog, Anne Thompson of Variety recently noted that Spider-Man 3 may have set new records for budget: possibly as much as $350 million, although Sony execs are denying those numbers. She points out that it's difficult if not impossible to gauge exactly how much money a "tentpole" film costs, and that we should be skeptical of the numbers being thrown around. However, she also observed, "The whole idea of a tentpole is to pay your other bills with its profits -- not to barely break even." Bear in mind that even if Avatar never exceeds its production budget of $195 million, Fox will still have to pay distribution and marketing costs, and it's expensive to release a movie both in 2-D and 3-D formats. Does Fox truly believe that Avatar will do so well worldwide that it will bring in lavish profits over and above its costs? No pressure there, Mr. Cameron ...
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