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Chipmunks are the new money saver, really?

November 9, 2009

If there is one certain bet in Hollywood this holiday season, it is that Avatar will be panned by critics despite all of its supposed innovation. Fox seems to have realized this and anticipated something of a box office flub for the James Cameron film, which cost somewhere over $200 million to make and possibly as much as $300 million more to market.

The manner in which the company is hedging its bet, though, is odd, as it is relying on an old staple-“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel.” The first Chipmunks movie earned $217 million at the box office in 2007, proving to be a huge money earner for Fox, which only paid around $60 million to make the film.

The concept of some type of financial padding is very interesting for the movie industry, as box office flops like “Kingdom of Heaven” have done so poorly that they put entire companies out of business. Granted, Avatar doesn’t carry that kind of risk, but Fox wants to ensure that it ends up earning money this year, so it is releasing a movie that it knows will be a hit just in case its absurdly expensive blockbuster doesn’t pay off (and just because critics will hate the film’s merits, moviegoers will almost certainly fall in love with the fictional world of Pandora).

It is reflective of the current economic climate (and, yes, we are recovering, but that doesn’t mean we’re safe yet) that even movie companies are making sure they aren’t hit too hard by any type of failure, even with what should be one of the biggest box office hits since Cameron’s other hit, “Titanic.”

Originally posted at On Popular Culture

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