Blomkamp on a budget

Posted by · 12:37 pm · August 19th, 2009

(from left) Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley on the set of District 9Speaking of “District 9,” which doesn’t look to go away any time soon, Chris Lee at Hero Complex has just posted a great interview with director Neill Blomkamp, coming at things from the angle of the film’s low price tag of $30 million.  It dovetails nicely with this Film Junk piece, titled “What Hollywood Can Learn From ‘Disctrict 9,'” which makes it a point of mentioning, in case you weren’t aware, that blockbuster budgets are bloated.

Getting back to Lee’s piece, he goes through a pretty decent laundry list of reasons the budget came in so low on the film, from the ease of implementing CGI with the film’s cinema verite approach, to eschewing a high-salary star in favor of newcomer Sharlto Copley, to hiring locals as extras in order to boost the local economy.  “These were seriously impoverished people,” Blomkamp tells Lee. “Destitute people. The township alone had 70,000 people. But if you hire different groups each day, you get that money into the community.”

The biggest expense of the production came with the rental of military equipment, Lee says, all of which was borrowed from the United Nations.  I really like the closing quote Lee picks from LA Weekly critic Scott Foundas: “I can’t wait to see what Blomkamp does next and I very much hope he gets even less money to do it.”

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3 responses so far

  • 1 8-19-2009 at 1:18 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    This coincides with that interview Jeff Wells ran the other day about Matthew Weiner (creator of “Mad Men”) where he says budgeting leads to artistic creativity and enhancement.

    I don’t know why a studio would green-light a $200+ million dollar project unless it was Nolan’s third Batman, a Harry Potter movie or Transformers 3.

    No wonder Paramount started chopping off heads a few months before “G.I. Joe” came out — even though it isn’t doing bad business right now.

  • 2 8-19-2009 at 2:30 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    Ha give this man 200 million and lets see what he can do!!! I have no problem with huge budgets, doesnt effect me. But what he did for 30 million just blows my mind.

  • 3 8-19-2009 at 5:01 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    But see, that’s the point Requiem.

    If “District 9” had a $200m budget, it wouldn’t have been as creatively marketed, it’s seamless visual effects may have been upgraded to excessive and it would have starred, I don’t know, Mark Whalberg, Leonardo DiCaprio or Christian Bale with a South African accent.

    That’s the appeal of a low-budget movie. I also think “District 9” heavily (and I mean HEAVILY) benefitted from being a late-August dumpoff sleeper, therefore driving up the curiosity factor which goes back to the creative marketing.

    So is bigger (monetarily speaking) better? I don’t think so.