A new report by Forbes is suggesting the budget of Marvel’s Secret Invasion was over $200M.
In the current, ever-shifting Hollywood landscape, there are a few topics that keep being brought up in conversations about the state of the medium. One is how movies are just extraordinarily long; and perhaps even worse, they feel like it.
Another one is how budgets have been blown out of proportion. It used to be that we got four or five movies a year with a budget that topped $200M. Those were the big movies. Not only has this summer had at least six or seven movies like that (most of which have underperformed), but now even Disney Plus series like Secret Invasion have budgets comparable to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
As revealed by Forbes, Disney paid a pretty penny for their latest Marvel series, the Samuel L Jackson-led Secret Invasion, a total of £166.2 million, or $211.6 million. However, this is by no means the norm for streaming series, and was likely caused by a four-month reshoot period that happened last year. Such a lengthy additional photography schedule must not have been cheap and likely amounted to a good chunk of that money.
Breaking Down Secret Invasion‘s Budget
That being said, though, there is at least a quarter of that budget that was blown through salaries. Samuel L Jackson for his n-th turn as Nick Fury presumably didn’t settle down for less than $10M, considering how much screen time he has and also this being the first time he’s headlining a Marvel project. He’s also an executive producer on the series, so that adds a few million on top of that.
Getting Ben Mendelsohn to come back, as well as Don Cheadle and Cobie Smulders mustn’t have been cheap either. Emilia Clarke and Olivia Colman probably earned at least $2-5 million each, and if you add the rest of the cast on top of that, we’re easily at around $40 million, if not more. We must also remember that streamers are buying out the actors’ residuals, which is a big point of contention of the recently-announced SAG-AFTRA strike.
Budgets for Marvel shows aren’t usually disclosed in detail. Secret Invasion was an exception because the series was a prime candidate to benefit from the UK’s Television Tax Relief, which can reimburse shows up to 25% of their budget if certain conditions are satisfied. Secret Invasion applied for that, and as such, the budget was revealed. This is not entirely unique to the UK, of course, and it is a big reason why Marvel shoots in Atlanta as opposed to LA — because it’s cheaper and they can get more money back in Georgia than they do in California.
The budget for Secret Invasion is very high for a streaming show, but not entirely unheard of. A recent story by The Hollywood Reporter listed Andor‘s budget at $250 million (they didn’t specify if that was for the full series or just season one, though the latter was strongly implied within the context), but keep in mind that the Star Wars series had twice as many episodes. Also in Star Wars land, we know from a similar listing than Secret Invasion‘s that Skeleton Crew, the upcoming series from Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s Jon Watts and led by Jude Law, had a budget of around $138M.
The Forbes article makes a mention of the ratings of Secret Invasion, though we must stress that these are not entirely reliable. The numbers they have are based on a third-party service called Samba TV that tracks how many households three-million sample are watching a specific show or movie during the first five days of release. This is a completely unreliable number to look at in a vacuum, and only has some meaning when compared to previous releases.
When doing so, Samba TV found out that Secret Invasion was only able to surpass Ms. Marvel‘s premiere viewership numbers, falling 50% behind Moon Knight‘s and miles under Loki‘s. (Even then, we should not put too much weight on this service, despite the fact that is one of the few measures we have of how well streaming shows are doing.)
Secret Invasion is streaming now on Disney+. What do you think about Secret Invasion‘s budget? Have you been enjoying the series so far? What has been your favorite part? Do you have any theories going into the final two episodes? Let us know on our social media, and stay tuned for more!