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April 26, 2011

Your Friend Who Works in Special Effects Probably Needs a Hug Right Now

After our little run on the Harry Potter action, definitely hugs needed all around... :(

We can't remember who said it -- maybe Bruce Campbell? -- but a Hollywood actor defined the difference between studio movies and independent films like this: If you know what your movie's release date is before you even start shooting it, you're in a studio movie. That's become even truer over the years: Nowadays, a movie will have a release date before it even has a script. As you can imagine, that makes life incredibly stressful for all those involved with an upcoming tentpole, and today Variety gave us a little glimpse into one such group of individuals: the people at special effects houses.

The Variety article is behind their paywall, but The Playlist gets the gist of it, which is that Warner Bros. was forced to shell out an additional $9 million to pay for extra FX companies to help complete the effects for "Green Lantern," which comes out June 17. But the people Variety talked to at Warner Bros. insist it's not to fix any effects -- just to get them all done in time:

"There is no problem on 'Green Lantern,'" Chris de Faria, Warner's exec VP of digital production, animation and visual effects told the trade. "We try to add things to make the movie better until the 11th hour. That doesn't mean we're risking the movie up to the 11th hour."

This is something studios always want to emphasize when news gets out that a tentpole is rushing to make it to the finish line: "Everything is fine, nothing is wrong, we all know what we're doing, the shareholders have no reason to panic, would you like more cupcakes?" Besides, Warner Bros. are hardly the only ones rushing to hit a deadline: Variety says that one effects house working on Paramount's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" "has gone to seven-day weeks, 12 hours a day, and canceled the Easter Sunday holiday for its [special-effects] artists."

The Variety article blames all this on the way studios now set up their big movies, valuing the release date over considerations for whether or not it's all that feasible. "So you are always chasing your tail," said Marvel exec VP of visual effects Victoria Alonso, who has "Captain America" to worry about. "You work backwards from that release date, then you add production not being ready to shoot or location complications and you shave the weeks you push from post."

We have friends who work in post-production, and we know that when they get assigned to a big movie that we won't see them for a few months before its release: Their lives are absolutely hellish as they kill themselves getting the movie done. Of late, no tentpole has missed its release, as long as you don't count the last-minute decision not to put out "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" in 3D as was initially planned. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that big-budget summer movies often aren't very good: The studios are probably just thrilled they got the damn thing out in time. (by Tim Grierson, blog.yahoo.movies.com)

$9 Million Added To Budget, More VFX Houses Hired To Finish 'Green Lantern' In Time For Release Date [The Playlist]
FX shops work around-the-clock for blockbusters [Showblitz/Variety]


Posted by dschnee at April 26, 2011 6:16 PM