Sequel budgets always get higher as they have to top their predecessors. But when the franchise is "Spider-Man," the studio tends to loosen the checkbook. Producer Laura Ziskin explained why "Spider-Man 3" had to cost more than the previous two.
"Sam’s appetite and I believe the audience’s appetite, I don’t think we could put out a third movie and say, ‘We’re going to give you less than we gave you the last time,’" she said. "I think we feel that we have to raise the bar. We said that to Sony going in so our visual effects budget was probably 30% higher and I think that’s reflected in the number of action sequences, the scale of the sequences and the complexity of course of Sandman. And then the talent obviously made more money in each successive movie which they well deserved. So that’s where the increase in the budget came." [The budget is estimated by some at up to $350 million in production costs alone.]
Below the line, as they say, everything was equal. "From a production standpoint, we were pretty equivalent to the last movie in terms of our production period. The shooting costs, there was a cost of living increase but not a huge one. The biggest increase in the budget which I think you see reflected in the movie was in the visual effects."
Sandman was a brand new concept for visual effects teams. From analyzing the physics of sand to creating a scene where a human being forms in the grains, VFX supervisor Scott Stokdyk spent three years raising the bar.
"We have to prepare these sequences before the script is completely written, so sometimes these sequences have to be developed and the script gets written. We know basically what’s going to happen in the story and these events have to take place. The storyboarding of that sequence and the conceptualizing and the conversations with Sony Imageworks probably was our first conversation about the visual effects of the movie. That shot was delivered two weeks ago yesterday. The very last shot in the movie. So that’s how long. That shoot took almost three years to create."