Variety is reporting that the estimated cost of the new Superman epic, Superman Returns, has ballooned to $250 million. Principal photography for the film, which began shooting in Australia last spring, was supposed to be over by now, but the production took a five-week hiatus in September for script revisions. Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) returned to Australia in mid-October and began a final four weeks of shooting. In spite of the extended shooting schedule, Warner Bros. is still confident that the film will meet its scheduled premiere date of June 30th, 2006.
With an estimated cost of a quarter of a billion dollars Superman Returns will easily be the most expensive comic book-based film ever made. Imagine what it would have cost if it had any big name stars? Well, actually the primary engine driving up the cost of Hollywood blockbusters today is not the star power of Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts, it's the cost of the elaborate special effects necessary to create those 'gee whiz' moments by adding what Hollywood calls the 'wow' factor. Fully 40% of Superman Returns' budget ($100 million) is the result of the film's special effects. The cast of Peter Jackson's new King Kong (Jack Black, Adrian Brody, Naomi Watts) doesn't include any A-list stars either, but King Kong will end up costing Universal $207 million (a figure which like the $250 million for Superman Returns doesn't include marketing costs).