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Many action movies show super cars (i.e. $200k+) being completely totaled during action. I can imagine that some scenes are not CGI because they look overly natural. I also understand that with a movie budget of let's say $60M they can well afford crashing a few lambo's.

So, are they really crashing those super cars in action movies or do they use some sort of dummy cars and add on sounds to them?

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wsj.com/articles/… – user7812 Mar 20 at 19:04
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Short answer, they tend to use VFX (CGI, plastic shells, replicas, etc) to make it look like they've trashed them where the cars are really expensive, but films like F&F positively revel in trashing expensive cars since it's good publicity for the film. – user7812 Mar 20 at 19:05
    
I wasn't the one to vote to close, but I was very tempted. At present your question is asking about every action film ever made that has a car scene, potentially hundreds of films and thousands of crashes. – user7812 Mar 20 at 22:09
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I recall from the DVD extras on the 1987 film "The Hidden" that they used real cars in its chase sequences and crashes, and the director credits this for the fact that they are much more tense and vivid than was normal for the period. – Michael Stern Mar 20 at 22:48
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@Richard Apropos of your F&F comment, I thought of refuting it with regard to the Lykan in Furious 7. I was thinking "no way would they wreck the real thing for a movie!". But I googled it, and I have to concede the point. While they didn't actually wreck an honest-to-goodness one of the seven extremely-limited production run models (that dubious honour will go to some rich knob somewhere in the world, or a very unlucky valet), they did actually buy an exact lookalike made by W motors (the makers of the Lykan). So even though it's mind-boggling and jaw-dropping, they did wreck a Lykan! – Deepak Mar 21 at 0:46
up vote 25 down vote accepted

It's very broad to say yes or no. But no, they dont. They use shells, stripped down frames, with standard engines, but with the appropriate paneling to make it look like the real thing. The inside shots are done either with rentals or cgi, but the crashes are the dummies as you put it. All for budget reasons. A replica is only a fraction of the real thing.

Note, the real thing doesn't have truss framing in it: enter image description here enter image description here

At least, that's how it was done for the Need For Speed movie. See chapter two here.

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Anecdotally - I once walked past the open doors of the workshop where they were making the Fast & Furious cars [idk which episode] with no idea they were there until I looked in. What a sight to behold, rows of supercars, all identical; some finished, some being worked on. I didn't have time to go in & ask about them, so it was just a glimpse through open doors, but quite a sight to see. – Tetsujin Mar 21 at 8:32

For Casino Royale, yes and no:

At the time of filming, Aston Martin were still in the final phases of designing the DBS. The scene involving the car crash was devised using an Aston Martin DB9 that was especially modified to look like Bond's Aston Martin DBS V12 and reinforced to withstand the impact.

Instead of wrecking an incredibly rare $300,000 DBS, they wrecked a more common $200,000 DB9.

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The money saving politics are really horrible these days ... – Sebb Mar 21 at 23:20
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The modern (awful) remake of the Dukes of Hazard wrecked 75 original 1970 Dodge Chargers, an absolute travesty for any classic car fan. – SnakeDoc Mar 22 at 14:57
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@eYe Gladly. mentalfloss.com/article/30999/… – SnakeDoc Mar 22 at 16:01
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@eYe I may have been a little off. That 75 is from the original show (which is still insane), but the remake in 2005 did destroy a few, but mostly cars made to look like a charger. – SnakeDoc Mar 22 at 16:05
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I heard tell that in the original DoH they pretty much had a shop constantly (re)building the Chargers – Wayne Werner Mar 22 at 17:39

Here's a good link regarding the filming for Need for Speed. In Need for Speed at least, they used real cars. Besides Need for Speed, they'll frequently use replicas of the shells of cars to crash. They have a special feature in The Bourne Supremacy that talks about this. In Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, the main characters Mustang had 5 or 6 replicas with only one of them having the real engine in it.

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From your link: "The ones we wrecked aren’t real, obviously". Need for Speed used real exotic cars for most of the shots, but destroyed replicas. – Jordan Bentley Mar 20 at 22:49

Others have answered about the specifics of cars being wrecked. But in general, when you are talking about big budget films where the potential box office returns will be in the millions and billions, $200,000 is chump change. It has nothing to do with publicity or some elaborate scheme; it’s simply how the world of film/TV works.

For example, the budget to film/produce The Fast and the Furious series was in total $759 million dollars (0.7B). The world wide box office returns for those films totaled $3,900 million dollars (3.9B). Go ahead and wreck a pile of $200,000 cars because at the end of the day, the film will be vomiting more cash than the studios/producers know what to do with.

When a movie/TV show comes along and builds elaborate sets and trash them in the end, that is an equal “waste.” And heck, look at the world of computers where people drop test iPhones. To you and me, a $399 iPhone is a costly object. To a website/magazine that will get revenue from the article on the topic, that is just an expense of the piece.

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I have similar thoughts in terms of cars' value relative to how much cash a movie can produce. However, I have yet another edge to this issue, the non-financial aspect. Consider many of these cars are hand assembled and fitted, which makes them exclusive. So one may well say crashing them for "fun" is just inhumane. – eYe Mar 22 at 4:40
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4 trillion dollars? That aside, spending the money before revenue is in is a bad idea. What if the movie tanks? They didn't know F&F would make that much. It was the first in the series. And the iPhone thing, considering they are testing the real world capability... A movie doesn't need to test crash a real car. A government safety test would. – cde Mar 22 at 5:26
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That was the total for all seven films, not just one! In contrast the first film's budget was only $38 million, so $200k per car would have a much bigger impact. – curiousdannii Mar 22 at 7:50
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@curiousdannii Your own edit pretty much invalidated your comment. – cst1992 Mar 22 at 11:41
    
@cde: 4 billion. Or 3.9*10^9. – Martin Schröder Mar 26 at 0:02

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