The LA Times is reporting that Evan Almighty, the Noah and the Ark-inspired sequel to the “What if Jim Carrey was God” existential nightmare of Bruce Almighty, is running a little over budget. By about 40 million dollars. And when all the marketing costs are factored in, it could end up being the most expensive comedy of all time, clocking in at a stunning 250 million dollars. The budget overruns aren’t exactly news, but the sheer extent of them is shocking.
The big question at this point is who will lose their job when this movie inevitably fails to be profitable? Maybe we’ll luck out and this will spell the end of Tom Shadyac’s career as a director.
Universal is putting on a brave face, according to the Times. "This movie is a great bet," said Universal Chairman Marc Shmuger. "It’s a spectacle fantasy and also a comedy. And a sequel to one of the most successful hits in the studio’s history."
Evan Almighty has three major strikes against it:
- Steve Carrell is not yet a star at the level that Carrey was for the first film. Maybe this movie will make him one, but in the meantime, he can’t be counted on to deliver an 80+ million dollar opening like Bruce had.
- Next summer, when this film is being released, is a fucking bloodbath. May is going to be unbelievable, with Spider-Man 3, Pirates 3 and Shrek 3 all opening, and then as they continue into June, Evan will have to deal with Fantastic Four 2 and Oceans Thirteen when it opens, and then defend itself against a new Pixar – Ratatouille – and Live Free or Die Hard the next week.
- Big budget special effects comedies almost always suck. Ghostbusters and the first Men in Black are really the only movies that break this mold. The more special effects a movie has, the less funny it is, almost every single time. And when your movie is clocking in at the GNP of Guam, you’re more likely to be upset and tense on set and trying to make your shots as opposed to finding the comedy in each scene. Also, Tom Shadyac is directing. Like I said, doomed.
Plus, as Jeff Wells notes at Hollywood Elsewhere, this article begins the media obsession with this film’s budget, which means that journalists are going to be more likely to give the movie a hard time. If you had a subscription to Variety during the making of Titanic you’ll remember what that’s like.