Stunts are often necessary even when the movie isn’t action packed. For example, “The Interview” allocated $218,823 for stunts. Special effects require the hiring of many different people — often entire teams or companies — all of which need compensation.
Additionally, brief scenes can require millions when special effects are involved — and they might not even make it into the movie. A 46-second scene in “Sahara,” which involved a plane crash, cost $2 million but was ultimately left on the cutting room floor.
With the leaked budget of “The Interview,” we’re allowed a more in-depth look at some more minor special effect costs of a $44 million comedy with a few explosions. The SFX cost of firing a tank is $100, while the SFX involved in where the round lands cost $1,000. Blowing up a vehicle with a helicopter missile cost $3,000. Practical effects for a helicopter crash cost $500, while something called “HELICOPTER PMP” — perhaps overall helicopter management — cost $5,000. And when a certain North Korean strongman’s head is blown off, the effects cost $100.
Total special effects for “The Interview” cost $2.5 million, about 5.7 percent of the budget.