Warner Bros. executives admitted last month that the labor-intensive visual effects for Green Lantern led to the release of a lackluster first trailer and delays in a marketing campaign that's only kicked into high gear in the past few weeks. Now, Variety reports, those effects are forcing the studio to sink another $9 million into the film to ensure it meets its June 17 opening.
And it will hit that date, assures Chris de Faria, the studio's executive vice president of digital production, animation and visual effects. "There is no problem on Green Lantern," he told the trade paper. "We try to add things to make the movie better until the 11th hour. That doesn't mean we're risking the movie up to the 11th hour."
However, that doesn't mean there wasn't some hand-wringing. Variety contends a high-level meeting was called early this year to put production back on track, months after the November release of the initial trailer, which was light on visual effects. “Part of the reason the response to the first trailer was lukewarm was that the big-scale sequences weren’t ready to show, and we suffered for it,” Sue Kroll, the studio’s president of worldwide marketing, admitted last month.
Sony Imageworks and Rising Sun Pictures, Green Lantern's primary effects studios, are reportedly on schedule. But de Faria said Pixomondo was brought in late to complete an all-CG pre-credit sequence that had been eliminated in development then added back in after Warner Bros. saw an early cut. The result will be a movie with about 1,400 visual effects, and an effects budget that's grown more than $9 million over its original $45 million -- a figure that apparently hadn't taken into account the cost of 3D.
Variety notes that Warner Bros. isn't alone in its rush to complete an effects-heavy film; it's becoming par for the course (at least one effects studio working on Transformers: Dark of the Moon is said to have put artist on 12-hour days, seven days a week, with no Easter holiday). So much so that industry executives have begun to worry what might happen when one of those tentpoles can't meet its opening date, triggering a domino effect that hurts the studio, theaters, marketing partners and beyond.
Directed by Martin Campbell, Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Angela Bassett, Temuera Morrison, Jay O. Sanders, Taika Waititi and Jon Tenney. It opens in 3D and 2D on June 17.