Why do most movies cost more than TV series to produce, when TV series have more total runtime?


Why do most movies cost more than TV series to produce, when TV series have more total runtime?

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In general, they spend more money on the quality of the production. It’s not just how much time you’re spending, but getting better locations to shoot at, hiring higher paid actors and directors, better special effects, spending more money on costumes and props and scenery.

Many movies will spend a lot more money to make the end product look much better compared to a TV series.

Many “top” actors view TV as beneath them, so a larger part of the budget goes towards paying the cast in movies

This isn’t always true, an episode of a big budget TV show like Game of Thrones costs a heck of a lot more than a lower-budget middle-of-the-road romantic comedy.

But generally speaking, movies generate more revenue that TV. So you simply *can* spend more money. If they spend more money more people go see the movie.

The biggest part of the increased expense is the actors. Actors in big-budget movies tend to get paid *a lot*. For example, in Avengers Endgame Robert Downey Junior made about $100m per movie. This is insane, but there were enough people that went to go see that movie specifically because he was in it. So he almost certainly generated more than 100m in revenue. That means he got paid more money to show up in a single movie than most TV actors will get throughout an entire series.

Films are more likely to be shot on location. A lot of TV shows are shot in a studio where they might, at most, change out the set every week. But with a film they might pay to fly out all the actors and needed film crew, pay to be allowed to shut down whoever ever they are shooting, and pay to, pay to build all those sets. Etc.

Big budget films also tend to spend a lot more on affects. Both CGI and stuff like…blowing up cars. A TV might destroy a single car in the entire season as part of the big flashy season finale. But a Big budget film might burn through 10s of them. Also CGI is *expensive* and generally used a lot less on TV.

It is also more cost efficient to continue shooting something once you start. The initial start up costs to hire everyone, build sets, buy props, wardrobe, etc is prohibitive for a 90 minute movie. But if you’ll continue to use those same expensive things over the course of 13 episodes, the “cost per hour of runtime” is significantly lowered.

In modern reality TV, for instance, many productions will shoot multiple seasons back to back to save money.

Source: work in TV production.