You have $150 million to make one Civil War movie - make a realistic pitch.

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#1
I'm sure everyone here can relate to that fact there are surprisingly few Civil War movies and even fewer good ones. This is strange for an event as momentous in American history as the Civil War. I can list the Civil War movies I think are good or even "decent" on one hand while there are several times that many great American WWII movies I can think of.

So the question is, if you had $150 million to make one big-budget Civil War movie with complete executive control of everything, what would you make it about and what would be the outline of your story. You can be specific or more vague but the goal should be to make it something you think would have a large popular appeal that regular people would like while still maintaining historical integrity, not just something obscure and personally interesting to you or overly long and preachy and unrelatable *cough* Gods & Generals *cough*. What would you actually do to make a great movie that would popularize the Civil War and encourage movie studios to follow in your footsteps?
 
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Norm53

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#3
I can't answer your question, but I noted your provocative comment that WWII movies are more interesting than ACW movies and I asked myself, "Why is that?"
 

unionblue

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#5
I can't answer your question, but I noted your provocative comment that WWII movies are more interesting than ACW movies and I asked myself, "Why is that?"
Simple.

Americans killing Americans versus Americans killing foreign evil, bad guys.

Much more comfortable watching the later without any conflicting thoughts or emotions of the former.
 

Norm53

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#6
Simple.

Americans killing Americans versus Americans killing foreign evil, bad guys.

Much more comfortable watching the later without any conflicting thoughts or emotions of the former.
That is likely part of the answer, but I think that there is more to it than that. I viewed Gettysburg and Gods and Generals (because they were cited in several threads) and I found that the action in these two movies was slow and dull compared to popular WWII movies. Money might be part of the answer: $25M & $56M budget for those two respectively vs. $150M for Band of Brothers, for example. With more money, those ACW movies could feature more dramatic action.
 
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unionblue

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#7
That is likely part of the answer, but I think that there is more to it than that. I viewed Gettysburg and Gods and Generals (because they were cited in several threads) and I found that the action in these two movies was slow and dull compared to popular WWII movies. Money might be part of the answer: $25M & $56M budget for those two respectively vs. $150M for Band of Brothers, for example. With more money, those ACW movies could feature more dramatic action.
@Norm53 ,

With more money, almost anything is possible. :wink:

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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#8
I'm sure everyone here can relate to that fact there are surprisingly few Civil War movies and even fewer good ones. This is strange for an event as momentous in American history as the Civil War. I can list the Civil War movies I think are good or even "decent" on one hand while there are several times that many great American WWII movies I can think of.

So the question is, if you had $150 million to make one big-budget Civil War movie with complete executive control of everything, what would you make it about and what would be the outline of your story. You can be specific or more vague but the goal should be to make it something you think would have a large popular appeal that regular people would like while still maintaining historical integrity, not just something obscure and personally interesting to you or overly long and preachy and unrelatable *cough* Gods & Generals *cough*. What would you actually do to make a great movie that would popularize the Civil War and encourage movie studios to follow in your footsteps?
Already in the beginning stages making one, though I don't know what kind of budget it'll have once the wheels start rolling. I was planning on it in the next 3 or 4 years, but the powers that be in California want me to work some other projects before writing a "passion project" as its called for what I have in mind. Their also very nervous of a CW or way back historical movie because of the current political climate and more than anything spectacular failures like God & Generals and The Alamo. What it is I'm working on, I'll keep to myself for now but its a subject from the War that deserves a movie and I want it to be a surprise. I dn't want to give away too much on something that is still in research. (I want to have it be the most historically accurate in story and in detail, Hollywood folks I know and have worked with think I'm either real smart or bats**t crazy.)

Now hypothetically for $150,000,000 I wouldn't make a CW movie, but a mini-series so you could tell more of the story, and keep the audience watching and would have time between episodes to recover. My supposed mini-series would either be a bio-pic on General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1st episode his early years till the 1st year of the War, 2nd from Fort Donelson till the end of the War, 3rd him after the War till his death), or I'd so a mini-series of Arthur Fremantle's three months in the Southern States.

EDIT- Hollywood thinks only in terms of what'll be successful in terms of what has been and what hasn't in the past ten years, you'd think G&G and The Alamo would be off the hook, but money wise they failed BIG. Plus its pretty safe to say a movie either has to hit the ball out of the park to be successful if its a period movie, or really change everything up to be "awesome" with the 300 movies being the gold standard of what many feel will be successful, which is incredibly sad.
 
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#9
That is likely part of the answer, but I think that there is more to it than that. I viewed Gettysburg and Gods and Generals (because they were cited in several threads) and I found that the action in these two movies was slow and dull compared to popular WWII movies. Money might be part of the answer: $25M & $56M budget for those two respectively vs. $150M for Band of Brothers, for example. With more money, those ACW movies could feature more dramatic action.
I actually disagree. I thought the battle scenes of Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville were really great in Gods and Generals, much better than Gettysburg although I thought they were pretty good there too (except the hand to hand combat looked fake). I don't think that was the problem to be honest. Look at movies like Cold Mountain (2003) and Lincoln (2012) which had few if any battle scenes but were still popular at the box office. I think it's totally possible to have an ACW movie with great battle scenes and a great story that's also popular and even without a huge budget, but a big budget would be a bonus.

Now hypothetically for $150,000,000 I wouldn't make a CW movie, but a mini-series so you could tell more of the story, and keep the audience watching and would have time between episodes to recover. My supposed mini-series would either be a bio-pic on General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1st episode his early years till the 1st year of the War, 2nd from Fort Donelson till the end of the War, 3rd him after the War till his death), or I'd so a mini-series of Arthur Fremantle's three months in the Southern States.
Nathan Bedford Forrest is pretty controversial. What would be the theme of this mini-series about him? Would it be sort of hagiographical like Gods and Generals was about Jackson, or more like Hitler: The Rise of Evil?
 
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#10
If you have solid people, curtail the greed that go's around on a set, those $150 million movies, don't cost that much because of effort, what would be called in the normal world greedy pack of SOB's is the reason, (I say normal world because in the film industry its relatively fair, there's a lot of good reasons for it when looked at from the film industry's POV), treat people fair, use reenactors, get your props loaned from the reenactment community, (cannons, wagons and such), don't be afraid to spend money on quality props and use a director with some sense, you could probably make a CW movie with more action, more entertainment, and more depth than Gettysburg or Glory for around $10 million.

Some good movies are made for less than $100,000, the first one I worked on was a headache of a western from a historical point-of-view, but when all was said and done it would have been a good action packed solid action-packed western, if the editing room gremlins had left the action in. They literally cut all but one action scene, and me, the director, and the crew not to mention the extras, put a LOT of effort into some awesome action scenes, but they were cut and replaced with a scene of a little girl saying fighting was wrong an friendship is great. Killed the movie in my view, which it was already an uphill battle due to history being thrown out the window. We made that movie for $50,000.

A film doesn't get into the $150 million range less you have a cast of box office hits who are very valuable to have in the cast due to fandom, and use top drawer directors of photography from box office hits and so on.
 

Norm53

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#13
I actually disagree. I thought the battle scenes of Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville were really great in Gods and Generals, much better than Gettysburg although I thought they were pretty good there too (except the hand to hand combat looked fake). I don't think that was the problem to be honest. Look at movies like Cold Mountain (2003) and Lincoln (2012) which had few if any battle scenes but were still popular at the box office. I think it's totally possible to have an ACW movie with great battle scenes and a great story that's also popular and even without a huge budget, but a big budget would be a bonus.



Nathan Bedford Forrest is pretty controversial. What would be the theme of this mini-series about him? Would it be sort of hagiographical like Gods and Generals was about Jackson, or more like Hitler: The Rise of Evil?
Ratings from IMDb:
Gods and General 6.4
The Alamo 6.9
Cold Mountain 7.2
Lincoln 7.4
Gettysburg 7.7
Band of Brothers 9.5

I think that you will find the budgets roughly correlative with the ratings.
 

Norm53

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#14
If you have solid people, curtail the greed that go's around on a set, those $150 million movies, don't cost that much because of effort, what would be called in the normal world greedy pack of SOB's is the reason, (I say normal world because in the film industry its relatively fair, there's a lot of good reasons for it when looked at from the film industry's POV), treat people fair, use reenactors, get your props loaned from the reenactment community, (cannons, wagons and such), don't be afraid to spend money on quality props and use a director with some sense, you could probably make a CW movie with more action, more entertainment, and more depth than Gettysburg or Glory for around $10 million.

Some good movies are made for less than $100,000, the first one I worked on was a headache of a western from a historical point-of-view, but when all was said and done it would have been a good action packed solid action-packed western, if the editing room gremlins had left the action in. They literally cut all but one action scene, and me, the director, and the crew not to mention the extras, put a LOT of effort into some awesome action scenes, but they were cut and replaced with a scene of a little girl saying fighting was wrong an friendship is great. Killed the movie in my view, which it was already an uphill battle due to history being thrown out the window. We made that movie for $50,000.

A film doesn't get into the $150 million range less you have a cast of box office hits who are very valuable to have in the cast due to fandom, and use top drawer directors of photography from box office hits and so on.
"...you could probably make a CW movie with more action, more entertainment, and more depth than Gettysburg or Glory for around $10 million"

$10M? Surely you jest. That might provide sufficient incentive to pay two stars, which are de rigueur for a hit. Then think about the price of a top director, thousands of troops, period costumes, etc. and you are talking at least $100M+ easily.
 
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#15
"...you could probably make a CW movie with more action, more entertainment, and more depth than Gettysburg or Glory for around $10 million"

$10M? Surely you jest. That might provide sufficient incentive to pay two stars, which are de rigueur for a hit. Then think about the price of a top director, thousands of troops, period costumes, etc. and you are talking at least $100M+ easily.
Nope, who said you have to have A-list stars in your movie? Who said every good director has to have an Academy Award? It can be done.

The question is will it make a pile of money without those things.
 
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#16
I think a remake of “ The Horse Soldiers” would be good ( not that there’s anything wrong with the original). Lots of daring-do, a compelling hero, and Grierson’s Raid was important, although maybe not as well known today as it should be. Also, I think Netflix should pony up some money to do a series on female spies, US and CSA- I think that would be great- one episode per spy.
 

Norm53

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#19
Nope, who said you have to have A-list stars in your movie? Who said every good director has to have an Academy Award? It can be done.

The question is will it make a pile of money without those things.
Ah, yes, profit. I wondered when we would get around to that mundane consideration. Who will produce a movie that is not calculated to be profitable?
 



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