The spending to make a movie is often described as the "budget". For example, Star Wars: Rogue One is given out as having had a "budget" of $200 million.

In my company a budget is not what we spend. It is what we plan to spend the next year. What we actually end up spending is usually different than what we budgeted to spend.

In movie making parlance is the "budget" what the producers planned to spend on production costs before production started, or is it a figure that approximates what they actually spent on production?

(Note: I am not referring in any way to marketing, print, digital, or any other costs. I am talking only about PRODUCTION costs.)

  • I thought the title was a little ambiguous, so I edited it to something else. Feel free to revert it if you like. Jan 5, 2017 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


Budgets in movie speak are actually assumptions by critics based on public remarks made by production or insider information. Movie studios rarely release actual budgets or actual expenditures as public information. It is treated like trade secrets.

  • That is pretty interesting, so you are saying that the "budget" values I see on wikipedia and movie information sites are just rumors with no specific indication of whether they are budget numbers or actuals? Jan 5, 2017 at 2:27
  • @tylerdurden yes.
    – cde
    Jan 5, 2017 at 2:28
  • 1
    And because actual production spending is not definitively known (along with other non-production costs), we get Hollywood accounting. Return of the Jedi has ostensibly never made a profit, despite having earned over fourteen times more than its production cost. Jan 5, 2017 at 4:39
  • Interesting, so Rouge One probs cost 20 bucks to make :P
    – Daedric
    Jan 5, 2017 at 7:43

A movie or tv budget can include everything from actual production costs to salaries and insurance. So when you hear the latest Avengers movie costs (x) Billion to make and it sounds like an insane figure, you have to realise that a lot of that budget is for hiring AAA actors and actresses and insuring them (which is necessary in a franchise as the unfortunate deaths of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Carrie Fischer have proven).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .