Why buy avocado toast at brunch when you could save up for your very own dinosaur!
Long have films included money, whether someone is stealing it, someone is buying something with it, or someone is stealing something to sell to make lots of money. But one film in particular has us wondering just how movie economies work, and how long we'll have to save for our favorite franchise items. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (you can check out our review here), the newest, genetically engineered dino (and not just genetics of a dino and a frog, but dino and dino and dino and dino DNA) sells for $43 million (just above half the cost of the budget for the original Jurassic Park, which was $63 million). Honestly, that doesn't seem so bad. But let's look at spending in terms of films to see just how reasonable (or unreasonable) some of these prices really are.
Since we brought up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we should follow through on this. I'll be honest, I don't work in the science field, so my numbers I'm having to grab from budgets for specific scientific organizations and companies. Fandango's Movieclips suggests in their video that a realistic dinosaur park would cost about $23 billion dollars. So... $43 million for a single dinosaur hardly seems like a return on profit. Compare that to the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) budget which was increased to $37 billion, with each research department having about a $300-500 million budget.
As further comparison, Hans Gruber (god rest his soul) could have bought every single dinosaur at the auction. Had John McClane not stopped him, he would have made off with $640 million dollars. Maybe that was his intention. He was a terrorist. These dinos were designed for warfare (that's another issue. Dinosaurs? For warfare? Really??)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is another place where money is free-flowing. Tony Stark is a self-proclaimed genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist. And boy, does he make that clear, throwing money around left and right. Gizmodo estimated that the Iron-Man suit would cost about $100 million to make. Again, designed for the same work, but by an individual who was able to do all of the work himself, from his home (and the original from a cave). That would cut down on a budget that a lab corporation like InGen would be unable to avoid. And in the most recent film of the universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp, where the unscrupulous baddie-businessman, Sonny Burch, suggests that Pym's lab could be sold with a starting bid of $1 billion. That might not be quite accurate given that they are creating a portal to another realm (kind of), and it cost $9 billion to build the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which has the potential to do the same. But at least he suggested it would be in the billions. At least a scientific laboratory to another dimension is outside of Hans Gruber's price range.
So what are we saying? Quite literally nothing. Just that film writers should maybe sit down for a few seconds and contemplate how much actual science costs, before they try to put a price-tag on their fake science.