How ‘The Creator’ Movie Budget Defied Blockbuster Economics and Delivered a Cinematic Marvel

The Creator Movie Budget

In the realm of high-stakes blockbuster cinema, a film like The Creator can easily be mistaken for a high-budget monster. Yet, as The Creator premiered on the big screen, director Gareth Edwards and his creative ensemble have shed light on how they brought this ambitious endeavor to life without breaking the bank.

Edwards, alongside his team, has been candid in recent interviews about the film’s budgetary constraints, highlighting their innovative approach to filmmaking. Despite the movie’s grand scale and impressive visuals, it was surprisingly executed within a modest budget, a figure that pales compared to the average costs of similar genre films.

‘The Creator’ Movie Budget

Speaking to Collider, Edwards talked about how they managed to pull off The Creator movie with a budget of $80 million. This revelation does come as a surprise, given that most, if not all, CGI-heavy movies, like large-scale blockbuster films, usually have sky-high budgets. It is even more surprising given that The Creator movie’s visual effects are on par with such blockbusters.

There’s also the fact that it was made during the pandemic with cameras that could be easily purchased. All in all, The Creator movie cost half of the budget of Godzilla and a third of Rogue One, both of which Edwards also directed.

Edwards explained that the key to making such a film at a lower cost was in building the story around the locations. The idea was to use actual landscapes and enhance the landscapes with special effects.

“So what happened was we talked about this process with Industrial Light & Magic, and obviously, everyone’s nodding but thinking, ‘Oh my god, what are we getting ourselves into?’ And so we did a little test, and we didn’t tell the studio, but they gave us some money to go on a location scout, so we went to Tokyo, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia…,” said Edwards.

“And I took a camera with me that had a 1970s anamorphic lens and shot a little teaser, short, nonsense thing, and then essentially basically tried to sort of prove this theory and do exactly what we do in the movie and give it to ILM. We didn’t have any tracking markers or dots or any data or any silver balls and all those things you see, we just gave it to them. All they had was the footage, and we went, ‘Can you figure this out?’”

The Creator
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

The VFX Process

For The Creator movie, Edwards explained that the result was more impressive than he thought. The director said ILM took the footage and tracked it to the computer with “stuff that would normally take, like a month to do, we were doing in a couple of days or so.”

Edwards explained that this was because the team did not need to map out an entire city. Instead, they projected the footage and added what was needed to make the shots look as good as possible. Edwards revealed that the studio, 20th Century, had a positive response.

“We showed that to the studio, and for the money we had done it for, they were like, ‘Oh, if you can make a movie like that, we’re in.’ and so we got greenlit basically,” said Edwards.

What ‘The Creator’ Movie Budget Means for Future Films

As The Creator movie made history with its filmmaking, the process behind may provide possibilities for future films. Major studios might start considering  greenlighting stories that aren’t too expensive while being worth the risk to show to audiences.

On the other hand, a smaller budget for a big movie could give more creative control to directors and screenwriters. This would result in less interference from the higher-ups compared to projects with sky-high budgets.

In the same interview with Collider, Edwards said he wanted to make The Creator without any budgetary issues. This led to developing a mantra of never saying they couldn’t do something because of budget limitations. Fortunately, it worked out for them.

The Budget Could’ve Been Lower

Separately, Edwards told Variety that they should’ve made The Creator for an even lower budget than the confirmed $80 million.

“I’m a bit embarrassed it was $80 million,” said Edwards. “We should’ve done it for less.”

“When you first make a movie, you have to kind of make it by hook or by crook,” said Edwards. “Typically, everyone’s first film is a kind of no-budget feature. And then if you’re very lucky like I was, you get teleported into an amazing situation where you get to do one of these big Hollywood films that you’ve always dreamt of being able to do. But I find that there’s advantages and disadvantages to both.”

For The Creator movie, Edwards reunited with cinematographer Greig Fraser after previously working on Rogue One together. Fraser revealed how intrigued he was by Edwards’ approach of doing ambitious projects with a relatively low budget.

“I wanted to meet Gareth because of Monsters,” said Fraser. “It was made with a lot of doggedness and a lot of determination.”

In making the film, Edwards and Fraser tested several camera equipment systems that could give the effect they wanted. 

The Creator
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Different From Franchise Films

The Creator, Edwards’ newest film, is an original story about the war between humanity and artificial intelligence. A former special forces agent is tasked with destroying a weapon designed to give AI an advantage. He discovers that his target is an AI-being in the form of a young child.

“We wanted to do it not in a traditional system and it was really important that we stuck with that. Because sometimes in filmmaking you make small compromises. And before you know it, your small compromises become big compromises,” said Fraser. “So we worked for a number of years just doing testing and talking and looking at the way we could actually achieve this.”

It’s already captured the attention of many because its trailers show off the otherworldly visuals shown in the movie. The Creator seems also on track to perform like a big blockbuster at the box office. It’s also set to rake in viewership numbers when it goes on the streaming platforms.

The Creator is already quite different from the last two movies Edwards helmed. It’s not connected to an existing franchise, but it certainly gives off the impression that it’s got a big-budget movie. 


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