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Make Movies, Not War

May 03, 1987|Irv Letofsky

In the new American Film magazine, editor Peter Biskind traces some of the gossip about the approaching (yes, still approaching) Warren Beatty-Dustin Hoffman-Elaine May comedy "Ishtar," which may well be the most expensive comedy ever made. The editor says that chatter places the budget somewhere between $40 million and $57 million.

That's a big "somewhere." But Biskind reports that no, the final budget will be between $35 million and $40 million. That is an awful big "between." But, he writes:

Now, $40 million is a lot of money, but the proof is in the pudding. If an expensive movie grosses enough, the expense is justified.

Or, look at it another way: "Ishtar" cost about as much as a couple of F-16s. And whereas two F-16s create employment for about 300 people over a year's time, return nothing on the investment, will eventually be outmoded or destroyed in battle and bring pleasure to no one, "Ishtar" employed more than 1,000 people (excluding extras) for varying periods of time over two years, may well bring a sizable return on its investment, will doubtless be around for years and will probably entertain millions.

Biskind's point: The world would be a more amusing place to live if we made fewer F-16s and spent more money on movie budgets.

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