Martin Scorsese’s biggest costly films, from a tiny film about Jesuit priests to a decades-long crime epic, are unexpectedly pricey.
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As one of cinema’s real masters, Martin Scorsese revolutionized the gangster genre and has had a profound impact on the way today’s directors use the camera and edit. In order to reach to that position in his career, he would have had to be given a lot of money by the film companies.
It’s surprising that his movie budget doesn’t increase with each subsequent film. The films he makes are always in keeping with his vision, whether it’s a small film about Jesuit priests in Japan’s mountains or a long, sprawling mafia epic that makes use of cutting-edge de-aging technology. Unless otherwise noted, all of these budgets are based on Box Office Mojo data.
10. Silence (2016) – $50 Million
One of the best yet underappreciated Scorsese films is Silence, which is a more introspective film than fans of the director are used to. In this film, two Jesuit priests go to Japan in search of a missing priest, and it’s amazing to think that the entire production cost $50 million.
Neither the film’s setting nor any of the film’s major set pieces are too expensive to shoot. Aside from a few priests, there isn’t much else to see in the film at all. Although the film stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, there is no A-lister in sight that requires a $20 million price tag.
9. Casino (1995) – $50 Million
In addition to starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci once again, Casino is one of Scorsese’s best films and one of his best gangster epics. It also has many famous and classic quotations. Goodfellas definitely has a lot to do with the lack of attention this film receives.
Since Scorsese, De Niro and Pesci were so popular in 1990, the studio spent more money at the production in 1995, it appears that they were betting on it. Whether it was the period-appropriate costume and set design or the spectacular set pieces, every coin was on screen. For the studio, everything worked out in the end, as the film was Scorsese’s highest grosser to date.
8. Shutter Island (2010) – $80 Million
When it came to movies, Scorsese is known for his bloody crime dramas, but his entry into the decade of 2010 was an unexpectedly family-friendly PG-13 thriller. With or without Scorsese, few studios would invest $80 million in an R-rated thriller.
Leonardo DiCaprio and even Mark Ruffalo received large paychecks, and it’s apparent where the money went. In order to make the psychiatric facility look like one from the 1950s, many changes had to be done to both the outside and inside of filming locations.
7. The Departed (2006) – $90 Million
In every regard, The Departed is a massive film. In addition to being Scorsese’s best gangster film, it also boasts a stellar cast, an unforgettable classic rock score, and some of the most visually stunning deaths in cinema history. And the $90 million price tag was a result of all of that.
As a large American city, it’s safe to assume that filming in Boston’s most famous landmarks wasn’t inexpensive. Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, and Mark Wahlberg are just some of the big names in The Departed’s all-star cast. The cost of playing “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones practically in its entirety is also prohibitive.
6. The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) – $100 Million
For The Wolf of Wall Street, director Martin Scorsese stretched the $100 million budget well beyond what he could reasonably have done. As a result of his desire to work with director Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill was willing to accept the SAG minimum compensation of $60,000, according to Variety.
If you’re not familiar with Jordan Belfort’s extravagant lifestyle, it’s not hard to figure out where the remaining $99.94 million went. The 2013 picture was also the first by Scorsese to extensively utilize digital effects, which would have added significantly to the budget despite the director’s reputation as a purely practical filmmaker. At least an hour of antics remain untold in the four-hour Wolf of Wall St. director’s cut, which has yet to be viewed by audiences.
5. Gangs Of New York (2002) – $100 Million
Even though Scorsese has made films with larger budgets, none of them have been as ambitious or utilized the budget in such creative and practical ways as Gangs of New York. The film was shot in Italy, a method of filming that Scorsese had previously abandoned, and he built a mile-long 19th-century New York street for the picture.
In addition to the expense of supplies, this would need a significant amount of time and effort. That’s not the only reason why it’s so expensive to get one of the finest actors of our time, Daniel Day-Lewis, for a project.
4. The Aviator (2004) – $110 Million
The cost of making a period drama is always going to be high because of the specialized sets and costumes that have to be produced and designed. When they’re biopics on businessman Howard Hughes, they’re even more expensive because of all the planes and aviation in them.
At two and a half hours long, The Aviator is a sprawling epic with every dollar meticulously accounted for. CGI was employed to simulate Hughes’ crash landing in the beet field, which would have been prohibitively expensive to recreate at the time, despite the fact that this technology was clearly still in its infancy in 2004.
3. Hugo (2011) – $170 Million
Martin Scorsese experimented with Hugo in various ways. Even though he’s most known for his gangster epics, and even though he’s tried his hand at various genres, this was the first time and so far only time that Scorsese had directed a children’s film. It’s also the director’s first and only 3D film.
However, if the film had been shot in 3D instead of converted, it would have added to the cost. Not only that, but the film is one of Scorsese’s most visually stunning works since it is more narratively focused than a character study, as are many of the director’s other works.
2. Killers Of The Flower Moon (2022) – $200 Million
It’s hard to believe that any studio executive would approve a film with such a large production cost. Because Killers of the Flower Moon will be available on AppleTV+, the tech company was more than happy to pony up the money for the film’s director.
According to Indie Wire, the film has a budget of $200 million and revolves around the creation of the FBI.
As Scorsese’s first full-fledged Western, Killers of the Flower Moon will dedicate a significant portion of its budget to accurately portraying the time period in which it is set.
1. The Irishman (2019) – $250 Million
The Irishman’s production costs aren’t fully known, and the approximate amount is especially more surprising because it’s so wide. It might cost as little as $159 million, according to Rotten Tomatoes, with a possible budget of up to $250 million.
During production, there were numerous rumors of the film’s costs spiraling out of control. Much of this can be attributed to the elaborate de-aging processes used in the movie, which took a lot of time, effort, and technology. The effect was so strong that more cameras had to be erected.