The latest installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise was haltered in November last year with the tragic passing of the main star Paul Walker. The cost of completion of the film has now blown out triggering a multimillion dollar claim to cover the increased costs associated.
The Hollywood Reporter stated, months of delays, script rewrites and the addition of elaborate special effects are to set to add another $50 million to the cost of the film, increasing the production costs to $250 million. In addition to the production budget, half of that amount is spent again to cover marketing which means by the time Fast & Furious 7 hits theaters on April 10, 2015, it could cost between $350 and $375 million on a film that is seventh in a franchise.
The studios options where limited; dump the footage and start over with another actor, eliminate his character altogether or rewrite critical scenes and use a body double, superimposing Walker’s face digitally to complete the film. Any route would prove costly.
Sources said the studio would pursue the same solution it used on Gladiator when actor Oliver Reed died of a heart attack during filming in Malta. The director, Ridley Scott, was allowed by the insurer to shoot Reed’s remaining scenes with another actor with all changes totaling an estimated $25 million (13 years ago). As Reed’s character was critical, the script was rewritten for the character to die, body doubles were used, Reed’s face was superimposed digitally and it cost the studio anywhere from $3.2 million to $5 million. As we know the film won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Picture and was dedicated to Reed’s memory.
A source with ties to the film said, “They are finishing the film more or less as scripted, replacing Paul with [computer-generated] face replacement. They have two of Paul’s brothers as well as an actor to ‘play’ Paul when needed”.
“Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a clusterf*** of money being spent.”
Walker’s death caused four months of delay, which is estimated to cost the producers more than $1 million a week in addition to the extra filming costs
The project’s insurance broker, AJG, estimates more than $50 million of costs will be incurred however Insurer Fireman’s Fund and Universal Studio are in negotiations as to what the exact cost of the extra production will be.
The previous record was $15 million, believed to have been set when John Candy died while filming Wagons East!