metropolis budget

All right, I am on my way to proof a point regarding the cyberpunk genre, respectively the discourse which in my view it has become. And Foucault really has me now, as I am creating lists, tables, and stuff for that. In respect to motion pictures variables of interest are budget (correllating with the faith the producing industry had in the project) and gross revenue (correllating with the audience’s interest in the project). At the moment I am concerned with the budget.
    The idea is to make a comparison through time.
    Now, the earliest motion picture I can make out, which fits into the cyberpunk discourse, is Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis (1927), produced on a budget of Reichsmark (RM) 5.4 million—but today we have no idea of what that means. For comparison the sum has to be converted into today’s value. In a German wisecrack forum ;-) back in 2005 other people already sank their teeth into the same problem. Their results range from US$ 13.5 million to US$ 205 million. Then there is an article stating that the budget of ‘Metropolis,’ which nearly quadrupled during production, would equal the budget of ‘Pearl Harbor’ (Bay 2001) in today’s currency: US$ 140 million. So, as usual, I did my own calculations instead of asking someone competent.
    In 1926/27 RM 5.3 million equalled US$ 1.26 million. The latter in turn equals US$ 15.7 million in 2011. On the other hand the mean equivalent to RM 1,- (1924-1936) is € 3.97 in 2010. This results in a budget of ‘Metropolis’ of US$ 28.9 million in 2011—nearly twice than in my first calculation. So the range of my results is significant as well, but the overall sum does not skyrocket.
    Anyone competent in the house?

BAY, MICHAEL. 2001. Pearl Harbor [motion picture]. Burbank: Touchstone Pictures.
LANG, FRITZ. 1927. Metropolis [motion picture]. Berlin: Ufa.
  • klandestino Saturday, 26th February 2011 at 03:58

    Very interesting question posed! It’s not the 2011 numbers, but 2008 in relation to Euros. Regarding this little presumption, Wikipedia tells us, that 1 RM(1924) equals 3.60 Euros, and 1RM(1929) equals 3.10 Euros. I took the sum of both and divided it with 2. So I got 3.35 Euros = 1RM. Than I converted RM to Euros from 2008: 18.090.000 Euros. Following I converted the Euros to US Dollars using the same date and the outcome is: 28.053.972 Million Dollars. I’m pretty sure, the outcome isn’t the real deal, but… Maybe this link could be interesting, too!

    grtX C

    • zephyrin_xirdal Monday, 28th February 2011 at 09:43

      Lol, C, now I dragged you into burning time by the historical currency-conversion craze :-) I got your corrections, and am glad that we still are around the US$ 28 million. What baffles me is that the first calculation I did (for which I used the information the link you posted leads to) results in more or less only half the sum. The first calculation went: 1926/27 RM to 1926/27 US$ to 2011 US$.

      • klandestino Wednesday, 2nd March 2011 at 23:33

        Yeah, you really did, A ;)
        The link I posted wasn’t the resource I used myself ;)
        Sorry for the misunderstanding ;)

  • scal Monday, 7th March 2011 at 00:17

    here in germany the insurance companies value the house in Goldmark 1914, because in the year 1914 there was almost no inflation.
    They break the value of an building down to that currency and every year the calculate the actual value of 1 Goldmark 1914. The value im the insurrance policies remains always the same, bute the real value will raise or fall with the economy.

    For yor research its important to check the tables to find the value of 1 Goldmark 1914 in the year 1927 and then calculate the production cost of Metropolis. Now you just have to multiply the calculated production cost with 10,5 (it’s the Faktor for the year 2011) and you have the production cost like the would be in the year 2011 (in Euro).

    I hope this is helpfull.


  • scal Monday, 7th March 2011 at 00:22

    Sorry i mad a mistake, the actual faktor is 15,4 not, 10,5. if you understand german wikepedia could help you (…

    • zephyrin_xirdal Monday, 7th March 2011 at 09:59

      Thanks a lot for that, scal, I never had heard about the ‘gleitende Neuwertfaktor’ before, and will have a look into it to recalculate the Metropolis-budget. And yes, I do understand German, I am German in fact. I only do keep the blog here in English.

  • Alexander Rabitsch Friday, 2nd November 2012 at 18:21

    Nice pictures of how Metropolis was made … The cost of the movie is really an interesting question. I made up my own calculation … 5,3 mio RM = 1,26 mio US-$ in 1927; the price for (Feinunze) of gold back then was 20,64 US-$; Fritz Lang could have paid the whole thing with 61583 of gold. Right? Please correct me if I´m wrong. The price for one of gold today is 1678 $. The price for the amount of gold Fritz Lang needed to pay this movie is today 103 mio $. That would make some 80 mio $ I guess. Please go ahead and calculate yourself ….

    • zephyrin_xirdal Friday, 2nd November 2012 at 20:19

      That’s a nice idea, going via the gold. Nevertheless I fear we all have been way too naïve. The Historical Dollar-to-Marks Conversion Page of the UC Santa Barbara, and the sites linked from there, give the know-how and insights we need, I guess.

  • Alexander Rabitsch Friday, 2nd November 2012 at 23:46

    xD A quote from your above mentioned site: >>Good luck with your historical conversion! <<

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