'Men in Black 3' cost $375 million, was hard to make
On Memorial Day weekend, Hollywood execs will unleash Men in Black 3, a sequel to a movie that came out 15 years ago. The L.A. Times is reporting that it was a troubled shoot from the start, requiring delays for multiple rewrites for a story with no middle and the pacification of allegedly irritable star Will Smith. Oh, and they casually throw in there it has become one of the most expensive movies ever made.
Never mind the fact the second movie came out 10 years ago; the real shocker here is the movie required a three-month shutdown to rework scenes set in the past, when Smith's Agent J time travels to 1969 to meet up with a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K, played by Josh Brolin. The two-week break scheduled for the holidays was extended to February, then again to March because writers needed time to redo scenes Smith didn't like.
"Obviously, going into production without a finished script was not ideal," Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures told the Times. "But we had a huge degree of confidence based on the fact that it's a sequel and the creative elements involved … were not going to wait forever."
Instead of striking the shoot, which started in 2010 to take advantage of tax breaks in New York City that were set to expire, the crew stayed on, and were paid for each day they waited. The final tally -- even with franchise director Barry Sonnenfeld getting $10 million, less than half what he was paid for MiB2 -- approached $250 million, plus millions more for marketing and distribution, bringing the total to somewhere in the neighborhood of $375 million. That puts it in the company of megabucks neighbors like Spider-Man 3 and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The difference is, The Juice* wouldn't bet on Men in Black 3 making back even half that total.