Avatar Will Make A Profit, $500 Million Budget A Joke, Says Fox

With an ever-ballooning hypothetical budget, it almost feels as if some are waiting to pull a "toldja!" if Avatar ends up being a massive flop for Fox. But apparently, they're not too worried. According to Reuters, Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos says the $500 million budget predictions are "ridiculous", and he has "no doubt" that the film will ultimately turn a profit.

That's a ridiculous number. It has actually no relationship to the actual cost of the movie. People keep repeating a number, which was as if you added the cost of building the studio 80 years ago to the cost of Avatar.

The movie was quite expensive, there is no question about that. But viewed now, from the perspective of its completion and having seen it, it's a formidable work and money well spent.

As for profit, he points to the film's 8,000 3D screens and 16,000 2D screens worldwide, and is quick to mention that audiences will be paying a premium for the 3D experience. And let's not forget that Fox isn't going into this film alone, they received help with the budget from private equity firms Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Media. As we reported previously, the New York Times believes that they could be covering 60% of the film's cost.

While Gianopulos may be confident about theater returns, he concedes that DVD and Blu-ray sales have dropped about 13%. This isn't a catastrophic scenario as some have predicted, but it will certainly factor into their calculations for the film's returns.

Quite honestly, he could be bluffing about the budget to manageĀ  the severity of Avatar's failure if it does flop. (And I don't think we'll ever see the true numbers for the film if it does.) At this point, I'm less concerned about Avatar's box office potential and more so with the quality of the film. After waiting such a long time for another action epic from Cameron, I'd be far more disappointed if he delivered a crappy film that performed well at the box office, instead of one that was legitimately good but tanked with moviegoers.