It wasn’t long since Star Wars: The Mandalorian was released on Disney+ and talks of its brilliance still continue. With little criticism, the web television series received glorious praise and positive reactions from its audience.
Set between the timelines of The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the series centers around the exploitative adventures of Din Djarin, a Mandalorian who ventures beyond the bounds of New Republic. But it wasn’t only cute Baby Yoda that had fans reeling at the live-action series, the budget of The Mandalorian staggered viewers. The audience knows when there are big bucks up on the screen, and The Mandalorian has been much farther than an exception.
The devoted fans of the Star Wars franchise couldn’t help but marvel at the film’s genius in its visual effects, writing, directing, acting, and musical score. All of this could only have been brought to execution thanks to the series’ nine-figure budget tag.
The eight-part series averaged around $12.5 million dollars per episode, a figure that seems almost too small to be surprised at. But the series’ total came up to about $100 million dollars, a budget figure equal enough to that of a franchise blockbuster film.
Seem jarring enough now? Let’s break down the implications of this large figure a little deeper.
The Mandalorian: The Budget
The Mandalorian series’ eight episodes each amount up to a run time of around 30 minutes each. Keeping to a simple storyline, executed with appealing visual effects, each episode made good use of its $12.5 million dollar cut.
The short duration of the episodes may seem to be too unreasonable for the relatively expensive price tag and the series’ $100 million dollar total. Too high for a web series production, but this is the Star Wars franchise that we’re talking about. They didn’t go in too big, they priced it just right that the series would sum up to a cost worth an instalment in the franchise.
Take this into consideration: Marvel’s Hawkeye series has been assigned a total budget of $200 million dollars; an amount even higher than The Mandalorian.
Franchises have immense pressure and a strategy of profit that centers around the fans’ satisfaction, which means that the investment in their sub-projects has to be equally great to maintain the level of artistry. Here, good ‘ol Star Wars with its revering fandom is no exception.
Though some critics may be worried that the style and screen presence of The Mandalorian is too close to that of a film, this may actually be a win on the series’ part.
When put into perspective, the budget of The Mandalorian is of a medium-range at best, and this actually helps the production narrative. By making the series retain its essence of the original storyline while also keeping it as simple as possible, the series warrants a decent production budget. Fans also seemed to be happy with the way it turned out, and were glad to gain better insights into a few aspects of the original story.
The Small Screen VS the Big Screen
Money’s not all that makes a film or a TV show a great one. There could be an expensive budget and yet, the show may not live up to the audience’s expectations.
Consider Game of Thrones, with a budget of about $6 million dollars per episode, and a cut of at least $15 million dollars for the finale, it still garnered critique for its misplaced handling.
Seeming almost careless, fans expressed their disappointment in the way production and shooting was carried out, especially when they spotted a Starbucks cup in one of the episodes.
So, when The Mandalorian’ presented a pleasant surprise with its well-drafted script and its visual effects that weren’t too over-the-top, comparisons to the films couldn’t help but come up.
While The Mandalorian‘ budget for the series rivals that of the franchise films themselves, the quality of the series’ storyline and scripting, along with its enduring action sequences have brought up questions of well-directed comparisons between a film and a web TV series.
If easily accessible TV shows can demonstrate such screen brilliance, then what of the efforts put into well-crafted films? Although that is a whole other discussion to follow, The Mandalorian pleased fans by living up to the standards of the franchise.
Disney+: The Profit Chanel
Know how films and TV shows invest in marketing and spend for distribution, cutting checks for transport, and posters, premieres and other big works? Well, with the on-set of online streaming sites, half these requirements have been cut down, mostly for the benefit of the production houses.
The latest to join the wagon has been Disney, who in November 2019, along with the premiere of The Mandalorian, had launched its online streaming platform, Disney+. With just a subscription fee of $7 dollars a month, subscribers can access an array of Disney productions.
With no requirement for theatres or network channels to cast the film or TV show, Disney’s own streaming site can bring in a large profit by installing a popular series such as The Mandalorian. The fact is that loyal fans of the franchise cannot forgo watching the series for themselves for obvious reasons. Seeing how Disney+ is the only platform it is available on, they’re bound to subscribe. But hey, at least they get to watch any and all the works under Disney, which are an assorted many. Now, at least that’s worth something!
While Disney+, in its very first run of three months was able to acquire over 28 million subscribers, the anticipation over The Mandalorian helped in running the numbers up and bringing the cash flow in.
However, the budget of The Mandalorian is deemed to be too high and with the cheap subscriber fee of Disney+, the series hasn’t been able to see a reasonable profit turnout.
In fact, losing almost $2 million dollars, the series has lagged behind on the charts. If this has anything to do with its installation on an online streaming platform, we can’t tell yet. But Disney on the other hand has garnered a bulk profit since the inception of Disney+ and is in the process of anticipating more.