Initial Costs For Rachel Zegler’s ‘Snow White’ Film Are Already Shockingly High
A new report details that the initial costs for The Walt Disney Company’s live-action Snow White film starring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot came in at $209.3 million.
This new report from Caroline Reid at Forbes reveals that the Snow White production went under the codename Hidden Heart Productions Limited in the United Kingdom. According to Reid, in the UK filings for the company The Walt Disney Company had already spent $209.3 million as of July 31, 2022.
However, she notes that the United Kingdom’s government has granted Disney a $41.1 million tax rebate meaning the net spend so far is at $168.2 million.
The key thing to point out here is that these are just the costs through July 31, 2022 and do not include any production costs incurred after that date. Ford rightly notes, “Its costs are likely to rise sharply as more than a year of post-production still had to be done after the date of the financial statements.”
It’s not just post-production that will increase the costs though. We know from earlier this year they were also doing pick-up shots without Rachel Zegler. It’s likely those production costs and anymore they might have done in the past year will also be included.
Reacting to this information, financial and box office analyst Valliant Renegade wrote on X, “Rachel Zegler’s SNOW WHITE looks like it will have a production cost of $300 million.”
🚨 Rachel Zegler’s SNOW WHITE looks like it will have a final production cost of $300M.
— Valliant Renegade (@ValliantRenegad) September 22, 2023
It’s quite possible it could go even higher than $300 million given the production costs that were incurred over the past year as well as any kind of post-production work the film will undergo.
Nevertheless, Reid claims, based on these initial numbers, the film will need to gross $336.4 million to break even. However, her calculation does not factor in marketing costs.
She explains that studios typically receive 55% of box office grosses from domestic theaters and 43% of grosses from international markets. Thus she explains, “Taking the average of 43% and 55% gives roughly a 50-50 split of the box office between theaters and studios.”
She then concludes, “If Disney retains around 50% of the takings from Snow White, the movie will need to gross $336.4 million just to cover its baseline spending of $168.2 million.”
However, as noted above, given there are clearly quite a bit of production costs that are likely to still come in as well as post-production and marketing one could see the film needing to bring in at least $750 million at the box office and that’s using a conservative 2.5x factor for Valliant Renegade’s $300 million minimum production. The 2.5x factor accounts for the different grosses as well as marketing costs.
Given the massive budget it’s unlikely the film will recoup its costs. The most recent live-action film The Little Mermaid only grossed $569.1 million this year.
And these huge budgets are becoming a big concern for Wall Street analysts. Financial analyst Valliant Renegade recently pointed out that Needham analyst Laura Martin, who recently attended a 120-person investor presentation at Walt Disney World, shared that Iger did not discuss the company’s film weakness.
Valliant Renegade commented, “The Disney film weakness, meaning the weakness of the films that Disney is releasing into theaters, which we have covered here quite frankly and laughed out quite a bit.”
He later discussed a section of Martin’s report focused on this box office weakness. Martin explained that Iger did address the company’s box office problem, but his solution is cutting back on the amount of Marvel movies and TV shows being produced as well as cutting back how much they cost.
Moving to Pixar, she detailed, “Pixar directors are mostly new, so he feels [Disney] is better off assigning them existing characters and stories through sequels rather than starting from scratch, like Elemental and Turning Red.”
Commenting on this Valliant Renegade stated, “Oh great! Hand very popular money machine Pixar IPs to new lackeys that don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground. I’m sure that will turn out wonderfully just like all the Disney remakes, and sequels, and adaptations of the last two or three years.”
What do you make of the already massive production budget for the live-action Snow White starring Rachel Zegler?