While Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity wasn't the most expensive movie that was made and released last year, it did still cost a pretty penny. According to Warner Bros., the sci-fi spectacle cost $100 million to make -a great deal of which likely went towards doing all of the visual effects and paying the contracts held by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Creating a realistic big screen version of space is expensive - so expensive, in fact, that the movie actually cost more to make than the last space mission launched by India.
According to Variety, the newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the claim while speaking at a satellite launch earlier this afternoon at Sriharikota, a spaceport in southern India. Said the politician,
"I have heard about the film Gravity. I am told the cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested in making the Hollywood movie,
While the event was being held to send up the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle - which was carrying satellites from Germany, France, Canada and Singapore - the trade report says that even India's Mars probe program has a price tag of just INR 4.5 billion ($73 million).
Of course, much like how Hollywood is famous for its funny accounting (let's not forget that Warner Bros. claimed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix actually LOST money), at this time it's unclear exactly how accurate India's figures are. Variety notes that the numbers presented by the space program may not reflect money spent on "earlier infrastructure or R&D expenditure." That said, Gravity's reported $100 million budget is probably a smudged figure as well, and it doesn't even include the marketing costs (which is usually equal to the reported budget). The point is, there is a lot of money being thrown around space, be it in reality or fiction.
Gravity obviously makes for an apt comparison to the India space mission because of shared content matter and the fact that the movie just came out last year, but let's not ignore that the budgets of some Hollywood movies more than double what the Asian nation is putting into their interstellar program. If you double that $73 million figure, you still don't come close to the amount of money that big studios are regularly spending. James Cameron's Avatar had a budget of $261 million. Spider-Man 3 cost a staggering $293.9 million. Hell, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the most expensive movie ever made, had a budget around $341.8 million. As much as I love movies and their ability to send me to far off galaxies without me having to get off my ass, sometimes I wonder if maybe a fraction of this money should be put towards reality in addition to fiction.