Memo to Hollywood: Cut Costs, Reap Profits

This weekend, a film which cost $1 million will go up against Tom Cruise, Robert Downey, Jr. and a bunch of other movie stars who pulled in that amount before arriving on their respective movie sets.

Does it even matter which film comes in first at the box office?

Devil Inside

“The Devil Inside,” the no-budget faux documentary about demonic possession, already covered its costs from the midnight screenings, according to

Now, anything else it makes will be gravy – minus marketing fees and other related costs.

Compare that to “Dream House,” the 2011 horror flop starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.

That film costs roughly $50 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo, and its theatrical haul was an anemic $21 million. There’s nothing wrong, technically, with a movie studio ponying up to deliver big stars, big special effects and a heaping helping of spectacle. But some genres, like horror, simply don’t require that approach.

One of the most profitable films of 2011 turned out to be the low-budget shocker “Insidious,” a film which actually had both movie stars (Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne) and plenty of scares.

Recognizable stars are a bonus today, not a necessity. And since too many actors erase the goodwill audiences have for them with ugly political statements and obnoxious behavior, why not cast unknowns in more projects?