Martin Scorsese is a legendary director and every time he releases a new film the industry and cinephiles everywhere sit up and take notice. The master filmmaker has a few projects in the works, but none more exciting than The Irishman: a mob movie about the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. Perhaps most compelling about The Irishman is that Netflix is backing it after other studios balked at a ballooning budget. But just how big is the budget exactly? Well, it's a good thing the streaming service has so many subscribers, because although Netflix committed $125 million to produce The Irishman, the budget may actually be much more than that - reportedly rising to somewhere in the $140 million range.
If $140 million seems like a lot of money, that's because it is, and according to Deadline, the total may still be climbing. If you're wondering why a mob movie needs a budget that would cover blockbusters and superhero movies, it all has to do with how The Irishman will tell its story.The movie tells the story of mob hitman Frank Sheeran, played by Robert DeNiro, who, later in life, recalls his possible involvement with the infamous disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. The story will be told through flashbacks and will feature the kind of de-aging technology seen in big screen films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Captain America: Civil War. Apparently, making Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and the other cast members look decades younger takes a lot of effects work, and that costs a fair bit of cash. But this is still a staggering cost, and while Netflix seemingly has no problem spending money, the service is still making a bold move with this film and this budget.
Netflix is continuing to up its film game, and in addition to buzzy flicks like The Cloverfield Paradox the streaming service is also backing prestige fare like the Oscar-nominated Mudbound. Netflix seems to really want to win a major Academy Award (which would certainly do amazing things for their image), and may have ponied up a $10-$15+ payday for Martin Scorsese alone to make the project. So while other filmmakers are shunning the streaming service, Netflix is footing the bill for a passion project of Scorsese's that has been in some stage of development for around a decade. In doing so, the Netflix positions itself to have a sure-fire shot at Oscar gold, given the pedigree of those involved both in front of and behind the camera.
The Irishman is getting ready to wrap principal photography and a lot of effects work still needs to be done before the anticipated 2019 release date. The film boasts the perhaps the most complete set of mob film actors ever assembled, including Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale, in addition to the likes of Ray Romano, Anna Paquin and Jesse Plemons. A lot of people are hoping this will be the next Goodfellas, and it is easy to see why. The potential is drool-worthy for film fans, Scorsese fans and anyone who loves mob stories. But in order for this film to deliver, the special effects and de-aging have to be seamless. Apparently that doesn't come cheap, but hopefully, when the bill comes due, it will have been money well spent.