Blockbuster Movie Budgets: Where Does All the Money Go?

Find out why big movies cost seriously big bucks.

Cinema. The audience in 3D glasses watching a movie. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. DR-images / Shutterstock

Hollywood blockbusters are like long, amazing thrill rides that can leave even the most jaded film fans in awe. The budgets of these mega-movies can be breathtaking, too!

This summer's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom reportedly cost around $175 million to make. Solo: A Star Wars Story had a $250 million price tag, and Avengers: Infinity War cost a spectacular $320 million.

How does that kind of money get spent? Grab some popcorn and some Milk Duds, and find yourself a seat, because we'd like to show you.

1. Developing the idea

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A movie starts with an idea.

Before production begins, a film is just a thought. A studio or producers may have an idea in mind, or they may be approached by a filmmaker who's had a brainstorm and wants to get a project started.

The initial production budget is aimed at developing this concept into a rough storyboard or draft.

The money involved at this stage is pretty minimal, with some bare-bones draft treatments costing only $35,000 or so — but that’s just the beginning.

2. Putting it all down

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The screenplay is relatively low-cost compared to some of the other expenses of filmmaking.

Screenwriters are often relatively low-paid, compared to other people in film production. The Writer's Guild of America mandates that a screenwriter receive at least $72,662 for an original work.

But top screenwriters like Michael Arndt (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Sherlock Holmes) command up to $400,000 a week for rewrites.

And this is still just the development phase.