Avengers: Infinity War cost Marvel Studios upwards of $450,000 thousand a day and went over budget — something directors Anthony and Joe Russo attribute to an expensive cast, even more expensive visual effects, and the day-to-day of running such a massive production.
Asked about the cost that goes into an epic superhero crossover event like Infinity War during a visit to Sway in the Morning, Joe Russo answered, "The cast gets all of it."
"We give most of it to Downey," Anthony Russo joked, poking fun at the multi-million payday haul earned by Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr.
"It does break down that way where the cast does get a big percentage of it. These movies have been incredibly successful, there's 18 of them, and typically as movies succeed, the cast can get more expensive," Joe said.
"The VFX are incredibly expensive on a movie like this, well into the hundreds of millions. So between those two, those are the largest categories that take most of the money. Then there's just the day-to-day running of a production that can be very expensive."
Infinity War and its sequel, the unnamed Avengers 4, "shot for a year straight from January to January with about two weeks in-between," Joe said, explaining costs end up in the neighborhood of "350, 400, 450,000 a day just to keep the production running."
Last year, the two-parter was reported to carry a $1 billion dollar price tag.
More recently, The Wall Street Journal reported the actual budget for just Infinity War to be "close to $300 million," making it one of the most expensive films ever made, just behind Disney's own Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($378 million) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($365m), and tied with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($300m) and Warner Bros.' Justice League ($300m).
"We did go over budget," Joe admitted. Added Anthony, "The irony is like no matter how much money you have, at some point you run out of money. So it's pretty crazy."
"It really is like a sprint to the finish, these movies," Joe said.
"We started them in 2016, there were two of them back-to-back, two of the most expensive movies ever made, shot them back-to-back — prep them, write them, edit them — we finished shooting in January, raced into the edit room to finish Infinity War, handed it off to Disney on April 7th, said 'here's the movie,' got on a plane, and then went to Mexico City, and London, and Edinburgh, and Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo, and Shanghai, and literally lapped the world and are just ending here. So we haven't even had a moment to process [the success of the movie]."
The directing duo will next meet with editors Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt Monday morning to start work on Avengers 4, out May 3, 2019.
Marvel Studios' latest hit blockbuster, their 19th consecutive #1 opening, now has a shot at reaching $2 billion in box office receipts — a feat that would make Infinity War just the fourth film in history to cross the milestone.