Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Do Longer Movie Credits Correlate to the Increase in Movie Costs?

Do your eyes glaze over when you see words like "second assistant accountant, first assistant accountant, aerial ground coordinator, head carpenter, draftsperson, set decoration buyer, stand-by props, supervising painter, cashier, visual consultant, safety advisor: additional photography, U.S., local gang boss, assistant production coordinator, assistant location manager, key tailor, utility stand-in, key craft service, craft service assistant, tailoring, assistant to director, advertising publicity supervisor" on and on running across the screen?

Movie etiquette requires we remain seated for all screen credits and, I must confess, I was thrilled to get a credit on Star Wars in 1977, but I tend to think credits are way to long.

That said, I wish more non movie products provided better credits.  For example, I'm curious at times who the producers of especially great commercials are.  And, now that I've been in book publishing awhile, I know the name on a book cover doesn't always reflect who wrote it.  Some writers are good about crediting where credit is due but just as often the truth, such as 'my wife really wrote this book,' or 'you wouldn't believe what this read like before my editor got hold of it,' or 'this just has my name on it but I didn't write a word,' remains a mystery only a few people know the answer to.

It does seem as if the steady rise in movie production costs has been accompanied by ever lengthening credits, which may partly explain why the costs have gone up so much.  In 1977, my "assistant to director" credit was among 17 "other cast" names - while in 2009, the "other cast" credits for X-Men Origins: Wolverine totaled over 100 names - a 6 fold increase.  Maybe that's one explanation for why Star Wars cost $46.2 million (in 2008 adjusted dollars) while X-Men Origins: Wolverine cost $150 million.

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