A movie… not a series?
On the SciTrek channel we have been talking about the plans for a Stargate movie for nearly a year. Our sources started raising the possibility late last Autumn and to our dismay the rumor would not go away. We asked fans if this is what they wanted and on poll after poll they answered… NO! In fact 90% of fans that responded said they wanted a series and not a movie?
When we exclusively first said that this was the plan we asked a simple question, was this a good idea? Well we feared what might happen if the movie failed at the box office, would that kill the franchise but it even had a chance to get going again? Our sources said that this was going to be a Cinematic release and not the streaming movie too and the way the Cinema is of late it feels like it is really impossible to judge what fans will, or wont, go out to the local multi-plex to go and see. Who really anticipated that the Barbie movie would do so well while an Indiana Jones movie would do quite that badly?
But the rumors did persist and eventually we began to hear why. Jennifer Salke is currently the head of Amazon Pictures and according to several sources this movie plan is really coming out of her office.
But why is a movie the plan?
In 2022 Amazon announced that they would spending at least 1 billion Dollars a year on new Cinematic releases. They want to become a big studio, a studio that is taken seriously in Hollywood, this is why they bought MGM in the first place.
They plan to produce original material but they also plan to exploit the existing franchises and material owned by MGM. We will be getting reboots of Robocop, new Rocky movies and TV series, a new Bond and of course… new Stargate. The money that is already budgeted for new movies though has to get spent and it seems Jennifer Salke wants at least some of it spent on a new Stargate movie.
The money is already there… why not use it?
But how much money are they willing to spend??
Well MGM insider Jenny Stiven has talked on the Youtube channel ‘Dial the gate’ about how Amazon have always seen the Stargate franchise as a “tent pole project”. On SciTrek we told you 2 years ago that in fact even before the sale of MGM to Amazon, that Amazon wanted a Stargate series for Prime and in fact the Brad Wright project announced just before Covid was in-fact going to end up on Prime before the pandemic crushed those dreams. We told you way back then that Amazon executives had called Stargate the “Sleeping Giant of Sci-Fi” and they hoped its return could challenge Star Trek.
At least in terms of popularity.
A big indicator for if this is really true or not is how much cash are they willing to cough up to pay for the movie? Well once again thanks to MGM insiders that SciTrek gets to talk to we do have an idea… 80-90 million dollars.
Now that is not a small amount of money but for a Sc-Fi movie with special effects etc. is it enough? Well the recent Batgirl movie had spent 80 million dollars and was not even finished yet when Warner Brothers decided to scrap the project. Netflix recently scrapped a live action He-Man movie, it had not even started filming yet and they had already spent 30 million dollars. So based on that 80-90 million does not seem like a large amount of cash either. However we should say that this figure is only an initial “working budget”.
But what does that mean?
Well according the insider I spoke to it is the initial sum of cash Amazon tell the writers and the Directors the budget will be. This gives them an idea of the scope of the project and helps them understand what they can and cant do in the movie. If they want to hire an A list actor for example they may need 20 million dollars just for their fee, but if the budget doesn’t allow for it then they know they have to set their sights a little lower.
The same really is said for the story. This initial budget tells the writers and the Director what sort of constraints they might have, how may minutes of CGI is possible, how many sound stages they can expect to afford and so on. I am also told though this is just the first step in the negotiation.
So the Director and the writer have an idea what they have to spend. They then go away and start putting together a plan of what they want to do. My source tells me though that they invariably come back and like Oliver straight out of the musical they ask for more. Apparently this is just how the industry works. They will be told this is what they have, they will then come up with a story and a plan and with that an idea about what it will cost, which is often 20% or so more than they were told they could spend, and at that point the final budget gets agreed.
So if Amazon play this game like insiders expect we may get to see a budget in the region of $100 million. This is still not a massive budget, Barbie was estimated to $150 million and we all know other big budget movies tend to $300 million or more nowadays. However $100 is spend wisely can still give us one hell of a movie, especially if they don’t hire big name actors.
But do we even want big name actors?
Well I talk to a lot of Stargate fans and they tell me over and over again, with the exception of Jason Momoa, NO… we do not want A list actors, we want the original Stargate actors to return. Now if we got a Ronan Dex movie starring Jason Momoa I don’t think many fans would complain, but Amazon would have to pay for it. But if we got a movie with Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett etc. fans would definitley not complain either and with the greatest respect to these amazing actors that I adore, they would not demand or expect to be paid anything like the sum Momoa can now demand.
So it does seem that Amazon is willing to put it’s money where its mouth is and give us a Movie with a reasonable, if not massive, budget. They do seem to be serious, but realistic, about the return of the Sleeping Giant of Sci-fi.
But of course that is not the end of the story
Nothing has yet been officially announced. Until it is we cannot be sure of any of these plans and if we know anything about Amazon and Hollywood executives, we know they are fickle. Also the writers strike has thrown a spanner in the works that means nothing is definite.
So for now we keep watching and hoping… We will keep talking about Stargate and we will tell you everything we find out.