Fallout from the Sony Hack continues, and this time it’s the new Bond movie, Spectre, caught in the crosshairs. Emails between the president of MGM, Jonathan Glickman, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, and Sony executives, including co-chief Amy Pascal—is anyone having a worse week than Amy Pascal?—reveal that the new Bond movie is already way over budget, even though it just started filming on Monday. Glickman’s emails say that the budget “sits in the mid $300Ms” and they need to find ways to cut $100 million from the production costs. We’re not even talking marketing yet—this is $300+ million just to make the movie.
Glickman’s suggestions include not filming in the rain, using three train cars for an action sequence instead of four, using London as a stand-in for Rome, and to show the “modern aspects” of Mexico in order to maximize a filming incentive there. Broccoli, however, refused to cut the number of train cars or substitute London for Rome. And Pascal gets involved, saying, “You know with no script this movie is gonna go over budget.” Other tidbits reveal that Andrew “Best Moriarty” Scott was cast because he’s $1 million cheaper than Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Studios underreport budgets all the time—it’s the easiest way to make box office look better. Recent underreporting culprits include Man of Steel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and World War Z. If the producers of Spectre are unable to reduce the production budget, it will be one of the most expensive movies ever made. But whether they do or don’t trim the budget doesn’t matter. Now, because we all know about the budget excess, they have to say they managed to lower it, whether they actually do or not. Shareholders will demand better numbers, especially given MGM’s bankruptcy woes a few years ago. Sony’s problems have just opened up a world of scrutiny on MGM. Where will this end?