The new, ultragritty Ridley Scott–directed Robin Hood, starring the Greatest Actor in the World, Russell Crowe, will have its glitzy premiere at Cannes tomorrow and open in theaters on Friday, at which point, in all likelihood, it will officially start losing money for Universal. (Making it a lot like Green Zone and Wolf Man, two other recent, big-budget movies that lost money for the studio.) Executives on Robin Hood have long said the Hood’s budget was $155 million — the Wrap has turned up the actual budget and it’s $237 million, which comes to $200 after tax credits.
Looking closely at the numbers, nothing seems out of wack — the entire cast, including Crowe and Cate Blanchett, got paid $36 million. $237 million might just be what it costs to make a sword-fighting epic with Russell Crowe that needed to be rewritten a couple dozen times. That said, this budget does not include marketing costs — the money spent on posters, TV spots, and other promotional materials — which can often run to a third of a film’s budget. Furthermore, that’s maybe not the kind of money you want to be spending on a film that, dark and gritty and accurate as it claims to be, has the exact same color palette as and a much more muddled story than Kevin Costner’s Prince of Thieves. Universal is now in the position of having to cross its fingers and hope millions of people still dig the perennially charming Russell Crowe and/or really, really want to see what two decades of special effects know-how have done to the arrow POV shot.