How Much Money Is Made by Spending One and a Half Million Contract on Locations?


How Much Money Is Made by Spending One and a Half Million Contract on Locations?

Universal Studios is a theme park that is synonymous with Hollywood blockbuster movies. It is located on the west side of Florida. The building was built in California and opened in Los Angeles, California. In the mid-1940s, it was changed into a Disney Park. Today, the name Universal is no longer used but the park remains the same name.

The original UFA was founded in 1942 by Carlisle Cash, an engineer and businessman who studied aerodynamics in the United States. He was so impressed by the U.F.A.W.A’s flying craft that he transformed the original UFA into what we know today as the UFAA (Universal Air Force Association) or “Universal Flying Flag Association”. Two years later, Cash sold the company to Universal Studios. Cash left the company to pursue a goal to create a better working environment for employees. Two years after that, he passed away.

Two years later, in 1948, the UFAA changed the name to Universal Studios and began to produce only “pacific” movies and declined to produce “flying” movies like the UFAC (Universal Aerial Carrier Corp.). The UFAA’s final year of production was marred by two major box office failures: The Day the Earth Stood Still and Stagecoach. Universal Studios did not film a single episode of Star Wars: A New Hope until four years later when George Lucas returned to the director’s chair for the sequel to the ultimate science fiction blockbuster movie of all time. Two weeks after the release of the sequel, Universal Studios was the first major studio to release a sci-fi feature film on DVD.

So let’s talk about these two films, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Stagecoach. Both films were filmed on location in the U.S., in San Francisco and Marin County, CA. In The Day the Earth Stood Still, there were two major locations: one in San Francisco and one in Marin County. The film crew used a portable, four-wheel truck and they followed a series of ups and downs, from foggy days to clear days, over steep hills to flat desert floors, in order to cover as much of the location as possible with the day’s photography. Universal kept the cost of the film low, only hiring well-known actors (like Steve McQueen of Biker Girl fame) to provide the backgrounds.

Stagecoach on the other hand, had a much larger backdrop. Universal had a budget of two million dollars and spent approximately four and a half months on location on the U.S. While they were shooting on location, they used a U.S. Forest and a temporary warehouse in San Francisco, among other locations. When they wrapped up their film, they had used a total of nine sound stages and utilized two years’ worth of renting and leasing equipment. That means that they made approximately one and a half million dollars in production and one and a half million dollars in rentals. And, when you take inflation into account, it comes out to about $1. 45 million, just for the filming and rental expenses alone!

So how does one compare to other movies and TV shows that have similar budget? Well, both The Day the Earth Stood Still and Stagecoach shot in the United States, but in the case of the former, the location was only for one or two years. So technically, the show actually spent more on locations and production costs than UFA did on the movie! That one and a half million dollar contract made both of those movies look like small flicks compared to UFA.