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Will "The Last Airbender" Make Back Its $280 Million Budget?

Posted: June 26th, 2010 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Will "The Last Airbender" Make Back Its $280 Million Budget?Submit Comment
LA Times is reporting that Viacom, Nickelodeon's parent company, gave director M Night Shyamalan a budget of $150 million to develop the network's "Avatar: The Last Airbender" show into a feature film. And on top of the massive budget, the company has also put up $130 million for marketing.

That's $280 million, which is more than twice as expensive as any of Shyamalan's previous eight films. And even though the director's last two movies, "The Happening" and "Lady in the Water" were box office disappointments, Viacom believes that "The Last Airbender" will be a huge success and will be first installment in a trilogy.

"The Last Airbender" doesn't have too many bankable stars, but Shyamalan has a few blockbusters under his belt. "Signs" earned $408 million in worldwide ticket sales (on a $72 million budget) and "The Sixth Sense" took in $672 million (on a $40 million budget).

And during a recent interview, Shyamalan addressed accusations that he's racist for casting white actors in Asian roles. "Well, you caught me. I'm the face of racism," he said. "I'm always surprised at the level of misunderstanding, the sensitivities that exist. As an Asian-American, it bothers me when people take all of their passion and rightful indignation about the subject and then misplace it."

Click here to read more about "The Last Airbender."

Source: LA Times, Sci-Fi Wire


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Displaying 62 comment(s) Profanity: Turn On
Monash writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:12:47 AM

I hope its successful just so we get to see the entire trilogy played out and introduce Toph plus the powers get far more imaginative as it goes along
Freudian_Nightmare writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:15:39 AM

Hopefully not.
Kid_A writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:40:40 AM

This movie will make at least half or quarter of its budget in 4 or 5 days. My friend who has never watched any of the Avatar episodes (neither have I!) asked about when the movie will be released... well, that means good marketing at least.
FpJGarcia writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:43:05 AM

For sure! That show is a huge hit and it's been around since about 05' so all the kids and even much older kids who don't even watch the show anymore, i think, will go see it. I think it'll make the money back...at least i hope it does.
BITCHHUNTER writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:49:31 AM

Not likely
kasleari writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:58:43 AM

hopefully. Such a great show. Will be such a great movie
nitishbhat writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:32:12 AM

it could make some decent money. the cartoon series is pretty solid with a large viewership.......who knows, might make a lot o profits. but the movie itself might only be above average at best(from what i see in the trailer).
@Monash.......u said it. m a big fan of the series and even i wana c the entire series on big screen.
agent_black writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:40:04 AM

M Night Shyamalan is hit and miss for me but at least he has the balls to try different things, I respect him for that.

I will wait for this film to hit Sky Movies however $280m is a hella lotta monies to recoup, I hope he makes the cash back.
velocityknown writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:49:02 AM

Funny that we're having another debate about an "Avatar" movie.

For this one I say HELL NO. It's like with Harry Potter and Twilight movies, they get a huge boom their first weekend because that's when all the fans go see it, but after that it's a huge drop off. Well there are a lot less fans in the 'Airbender' realm than in the 'HP' and 'Twilight' one so I'm predicting a domestic flop, but will make money overseas.
OneTime writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:49:34 AM

yeah it will..but it will take some time,...
velocityknown writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:52:05 AM

After a little research I've found the highest rating numbers the series has received is 5.6 million, the TV show "Firefly" averaged 4.48 million, developed a cult following and the movie continuation of that couldn't make back a 40 million dollar budget. Do the math and you can see where The Last Airbender might end up.

(By the way I love Firefly, but stats don't lie)
CCBlev writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:52:20 AM

not here in the states, but overseas it will
jdl107 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:52:54 AM

Yeah i have a strong feeling it's not, that kind of budget would probably work for it's sequel after it was a mega-hit. Buit since none of this happened, well I think they staright f*cked up. But we will see
frbe0101 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 8:55:24 AM

Considering that a significant percentage of the fans are actively boycotting the movie over racist casting, I don't think its fan base can be trusted to bring in the money.
wertibole writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 9:31:42 AM

Not in north america but over all i think it will. It will be close at least.
lost_addict writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 9:40:23 AM

NO
darkknight1985 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 10:08:57 AM

This movie will be a great hit overseas. I didn't know of the 280 mil price tag. But if it is that high the movie might be in trouble. All depends on the North American audiences, otherwise I fear that this will go the way Prince of Persia did.
trailertrash writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 10:14:07 AM

CC- Think your right , It's the sort movie that will do well around the rest of the world bit like 2012, Percy Jackson, clash of the titans all did better overseas.

velocity- It will end up in the bargin bin at blockbusters this Christmas !!
SpookyCupcakes writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 10:37:06 AM

Not a chance in hell.

Sorry M Night, you picked the WORST time to release a movie.
SACdaddy writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:02:49 AM

I'd like to say NO but I'm really not sure. I've heard the show is extremely popular with the kids and with a PG rating parents might see it as a good place to dump their brats for 2 hours during their summer break. 3D will also boost its profits. It will probably break even or make a small profit during its worldwide run.
p3rfect writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:05:22 AM

@SpookyCupcakes

Hey, spookuCupcakes. Whats that movie called. hmmm I can't remmember, but it made over 2 billion. Uhmmmmm, oh I know. AVATAR!!!!
Blank x2 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:09:18 AM

I know it's getting at least seven bucks from me. That will help a little.

thedotsays writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:41:04 AM

Well, it opens the Friday after Twilight opens (Wednesday) so I'm guessing no.
Shame, because I actually wouldn't mind seeing it be succesful. I'm dropping my daughter and her friends off to see Twilight and I will go check this out with my nephew while they watch Twilight.
I think it looks great and I hope they stay very close to the source material because the story is very very good.
I think this will be a good alternative for all those non-Twilight fans out there but that won't be enough to have it get back it's budget.
Sadly this will be seen as a flop and will be the end of M Night's career.
buttabean writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 12:30:49 PM

I believe it will. I hear people talking about it all the time. It appeals to a wide spectrum of audience goers.
Max Rockatansky Junior writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 12:51:32 PM

It'll have to make at least $ 100 million the first boxoffice weekend just be considered a success ... that's just HOLLYWOOD RULES.

Although these days, the way they schpeel it, the studios actually make the money on the backend with DVD rentals and sales. The release date stuff is just to cover the incidentals.
Max Rockatansky Junior writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 12:51:45 PM

^ schpiel
Aingx writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 12:57:19 PM

Um, no; because what adult wants to see a movie based on a Nickelodeon show? And it's in 3D no less. I think the general public is getting tired of the glasses. But it's nice to see that MY idea to put a 3D 'screen layer' over the actually screen is coming along nicely....
mmmac writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 1:05:08 PM

Yes, actually. I am 17 and many of my friends are extremely excited about this movie. Though many of us may appear outside the demographic, one of my close friends is hot, just graduated high school and she loves the tv show. The tv show has a big enough fan base to make the film a success. However, many of us are skeptical of the film (for example: many have questioned the races of the characters, why the f*ck Zuko's scaris barely there, etc). I have a feeling the films success will warrant a sequel in a studio's eyes; however the quality of this film will determine the success of the next films. This franchise is held dear by a great many people, myself included, and we will not stick around to watch it get trashed.
mmmac writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 1:11:53 PM

@aingx you really don't know what you're talking about some of the show's biggest fans are adults. Go watch the totally rad show on rev3 and you will see they all hold the tv show very dearly and so do their viewers who are mainly in the 22-35 year range.
CornLord writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 1:36:19 PM

I'm gonna go ahead and say yes, but with lots of help on the worldwide stage. I honestly don't think a lot of the revenue is going to come from the US box office.
dhkenobi writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 1:37:56 PM

When I saw the first trailer, I had never seen an episode of the TV series, but was somewhat aware of it...1 week later I had watched all threee seasons. Definitely a great show and hopefully a kick ass movie. I'm amazed how well it's looking so far.
AshTrey writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 1:46:31 PM

no
triggax writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 1:57:02 PM

Whose idea was it to give Shyamalan 280 million dollars? That sounds insane.. I can barely get a car loan from the bank.... I feel like I have more credibility as a film maker than him and I'm not a film maker...
CCBlev writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 2:40:47 PM

@trailer I can see the local Dollar General store prepping for its big dvd debut now lol
BigUnit writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 2:42:40 PM

pretty sure i was the only person on here saying that, i was 100 percent positive that Avatar would make back its budget.

That being said, i do not think The Last Airbender will make back its budget of 280 million. Not right away at least, maybe by the time DVD sales and what not, i see maybe 80 million in US box office and about 120 to 140 million internationally, it will be close but not close enough.

As for me, i want to see this movie, after The Happening i felt like i could never watch an M Night Shyamalan film agian, i was dissapoiinted at first with The Village and how it ended, Lady in the waters over all quality, and even Signs lack of Alien showing lol. but looking back at those three films, they were all pretty good and creative and i must admit Shymalan does have a way of keeping the audience guessing well watching his films. It will be interesting to see what he does with The last Airbender becuase its not his typical style, generally for his type of movies
Preditorian writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 3:13:49 PM

Ew
Bunny X writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 3:37:58 PM

As an adult AND a fan, I would love for this film to be successful. The series is such a good story and done so well. It put a lot if not all animated series from the US to shame.
Aside from all its accolades, I've always thought it was very translatable to the big screen.
But, it is going up against Twilight. Love it or hate it, Twilight is going to make some serious money. Sure Airbender is a great alternative for those that do not want to see Twilight, but look at those not wanting to see Twilight......Dudes. This will attract a good audience but a lot of that audience will be pulled towards Twilight. This would have been a great weekend to release the A-Team or another "guy" flick to snag all the non-Twilighters.
I for one will be in that group that plans to see both.
Ranger writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 4:11:41 PM

I always wondered if $150mil + $130mil added up to $280mil.

Good to know.

Thx. LA Times!

f*cking douche-bags!

jigsaw23 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 5:35:35 PM

hope not, but since all those kids love it it might make about half of it. so just get those kids to see ateam which needs to get its budget back for a sequel. M. night's worst
J.A.Ottley writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 5:56:08 PM

Isn't this coming out in 3D?
Blank x2 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 5:59:27 PM

I am getting the feeling that people who say this looks terrible never watched the show.

It has potential to be awesome. But with M's track record, that's how it will stay for now.

And if Dustin Putman is right, by looking at his Sex and the City 2 review, this movie will be incredible because of the marketing. Cause, you know, that matters to how good a film is. Right?
trailertrash writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 5:59:50 PM

CC- was going to say i'll buy that for a dollar , but i'm not sure if i would !! LOL
J.A.Ottley writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 6:11:31 PM

Hmmmmm, this is a tricky one, i'd say that it will have a good opening week, but evidentally as someone pointed out, it will get destroyed by Twilight in the States.
It will definately do a good in the UK, since it has barely any competition, except for the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Step Up 3D, Marmaduke, Expendables and Scott Pilgrim and of course The Girl Who Played With Fire (2nd installment to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

Guess were have to wait and see, the 3D will give it a boost though
johnny_boy writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 7:43:47 PM

I love how m. Night shalalalala gets accused of racism and then gives a smart ass comment by saying, "Well, you caught me. I'm the face of racism." love it! I may see this on blu Ray once it comes out cuz of that cool comment
SquirrelFlyer writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 10:46:32 PM

I have only seem a few episodes of the tv show, took kiddy for me, but this actually looks like it will appeal to older audiences with its (at least hinted at) action and battle scenes. Im getting more used to the 3D stuff, if done correctly that is. Avatar, Up and Toy Story 3 used it well, while obviously the epic failure of Clash of the Titans shows how it can be completely worthless. Im actually looking forward to this
PhantomCloneInX writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 10:55:49 PM

This movie looks really bad. I wouldn't be surprised if it fails.

Honestly though, I'd much rather see him get back to making the kind of films he started out making (6th Sense, Unbreakable, Signs) before he got too full of himself.
johnthemon writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:24:24 PM

the $280 million figure looks really bad, but that's production + marketing. If you figure the budget production + marketing on any big summer movie this year, it will be over $200 million. Hell, I bet Prince of Persia was $300 million with marketing at least.

To answer the question, I don't think it will make its money back. It might do okay, and it will probably go over $100 million, but they just pent way too much f*cking money.
Vin12 writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:35:42 PM

DP HAS A WEBSITE, REVIEWS THERE SUCK, GET HIM OUT
-VIN
johnny_boy writes:
on June 26th, 2010 at 11:58:03 PM

^you get out
koul writes:
on June 27th, 2010 at 12:11:26 AM

this movie will probably be his only great movie so far. there will be more sequels to it.
Eben1277 writes:
on June 27th, 2010 at 12:59:36 AM

This movie could make it's budget back. I didn't even know it was a show, and never heard about it until I saw it on here, but the previews I keep seeing for it make it look f*cking WILD, and that's what puts asses in seats. I know a couple of people (we're all grown men, who do grown men with grown men jobs) who think it looks good and want to see it. I'm 100% certain that they don't know about the show either.

Whoever posted the comparison to Serenity, remember, that movie wasn't exactly a glossy looking sci-fi epic ( and I'm one of the few who saw and liked it). Airbender looks like a special effects wet dream. And when I see it, I will be choosing the 2D theater.
encoreyourface writes:
on June 27th, 2010 at 1:30:05 AM

i hope not because that might make them make a sequel.
DustinPutmansucksDick writes:
on June 27th, 2010 at 1:30:14 AM

thanks to the international Box office it will make its money back.
Wallace writes:
on June 27th, 2010 at 7:31:58 AM

According to other sources, they approved a 250 M Budget for 3 movies, so the WP numbers are probably wrong.
pomme writes:
on June 27th, 2010 at 12:39:48 PM

remember Avatar and his 250/500 millions for budget!
Moose756 writes:
on June 28th, 2010 at 9:35:56 AM

I really hope so cause I hate for it to tank and viacom cancels the next two chapters. It really is a great show and if M. night captured the feel of the show then it should be a great film
darkraven28 writes:
on June 28th, 2010 at 3:49:31 PM

M. Night Shyamalan is full of sh*t. I sense an epic fail here. Huge, Battlefield Earth style bomb. It won't make its money back. Next!
RoadDogXVIII writes:
on June 28th, 2010 at 6:21:23 PM

M. Knight isn't doing well with the critics as of late. His last film, "The Happening" bombed with critics and at the box office. He's been on a downspin since "Lady in the Water".
Zebastian von Kane writes:
on June 28th, 2010 at 11:12:32 PM

Overseas this show has been a hit, so it will most likely return the budget, but not with the domestic box office. Most likely it will bomb in the states.
Jedimax writes:
on June 28th, 2010 at 11:56:14 PM

LOL, if PIGS FLY!
Punisher writes:
on June 29th, 2010 at 1:26:10 AM

I think if we add the last airbenders theatre run plus dvd sales Then yes.
feeheelee writes:
on June 29th, 2010 at 1:53:47 AM

I think it's pretty obvious that this movie is gonna stink! Okay that doesn't mean that people won't go see it (Grown Ups anyone?). But with a $280 million budget the recoup!? Maybe in 5-6 years after adding up worldwise box office, merchandise sales, DVD/Blu ray sales, re-selling it to HBO for broadcast, then onto TNT or TBS...

Here is my bottom line as to why it won't do well:
It's Shyamalan, he hasn't been good since Signs and even that was pushing it. So that means he's made 3 stinkers in a row!

It's being release the same weekend as Eclipse! Come on, you spend all that money on marketing and July 2nd was the best date you could get? I don't care if it's 4th of July weekend, you will get owned!

It's out in a few days and I am yet to see one review. That is never a good Sign (get it?!)

It's gonna be rubbish!

And finally The Happening...

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