These days most superhero films that we see get made have massive budgets that rocket beyond $100 million dollars. For the most part, these films have turned out to be great and entertaining polished films that fans enjoy. However, not every comic book film adaptation has to be that way. I think there's still room to make low-budget gritty comic book films that fans would flock to.
Deadpool was moderately budgeted at $57 million dollars. That was considered to be a low budget for a Superhero film when it was made. If we want to talk about a very low budget superhero-type film, there's Chronicle that was made for $12 million, and that turned out to be pretty good!
This brings us to the upcoming Spawn movie, which is being written and directed by creator Todd McFarlane. That movie only has a $10 million dollar budget, and producer Jason Blum recently talked about the film, saying it's a very different kind of superhero movie and that the thought doing a super low-budget movie is cool. Here's what he told CinemaBlend:
"This Spawn movie is a kind of superhero movie, but a very different kind of feeling superhero movie. I like the idea of low-budget superhero movies. It's cool."
I noticed a lot of fans have been giving Blum crap for this statement. It seems like a lot of fans think that if the film budget isn't high, the movie is going to suck. I completely disagree with that. I think a low budget like this forces the talent that are developing the film to be more creative. I think that kind of guerrilla film-making is what's missing in Hollywood right now. Hell, even a lot of the independent films being made right now have bigger budgets than $10 million.
Judging from the details that McFarlane has shared about the project so far, it doesn't even sound like it would need a big budget unless he is really looking to land Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of Twitch. It's said that the film will mostly revolve around this character. When previously talking about the story he said:
"There's two big roles in the script. There's obviously sort of Spawn himself, although in a weird way it's not the biggest role, and then there's the cop. The cop is this character Twitch who's been there since issue #1. Twitch is the role in this one, and I sort of refer to him as my sheriff Brody, who is the sheriff in the Jaws movie. Although it was called Jaws, Jaws didn't really talk a lot in his movie, right? He just kind of showed up at the opportune time to make the movie worthwhile."
He goes on to elaborate on how his Spawn movie compares to Jaws, saying:
"It was sheriff Brody, the humans talking, chasing the fantastical thing that sort of made the movie, and to me, there's that element. Everything else is normal in this story other than (gesture) the shadow moves, and at times even when it moves, the cop just sort of thinks he's losing his mind so he doesn't even trust that the shadow's moving. If you're a bad guy, then this thing is going to come and it's going to get you."
The other big thing about the low budget is the fact that the studio isn't going to give McFarlane a ton of money to make the movie because he has never directed a film before. He's untested, and they don't want to take a huge risk. With the budget set at $10 million, they are definitely going to make a profit.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out because I think it could open the door for more low-budget comic book films. There are a ton of obscure characters in the Marvel and DC universes that don't need big budget films, but it would be cool to see some of them get their own movies. Doing them with a low-budget seems like it would open the opportunity and be a good direction for them.
Like I said, low budgets help push creativity, and these types of films could end up having better stories and character development than the big-budget movies that we're seeing. It would also offer the filmmaker more creative freedom, as with such a low budget the studio wouldn't feel like they need to be breathing down the filmmaker's neck during the production. One thing is for sure, the new Spawn movie can't end up any worse than the original!
What do you think? Do you think every superhero film needs a massive budget to be good, or do you think there is a place for low-budget comic book movies?