Comic book movies these days are massive, big-budget affairs, sparing no expense in the pursuit of creating the next blockbuster action hit. The results speak for themselves, with recent movies like Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War surpassing $1 billion at the box office and Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad earning over $718 million.
One can imagine, then, that there is a bit of a learning curve for directors used to low-budget indie movies when they’re hired by a company like Marvel Studios. That’s the situation director Taika Waititi found himself in when he went from the 2014 horror-comedy What We Do in the Shadows, budgeted at a relatively meager $1.6 million, to the upcoming massive Marvel sequel Thor: Ragnarok. One way Waititi has apparently taken advantage of having a bigger budget: using a whole lot of cameras.
Waititi took to his Twitter account to post a set photo from Thor: Ragnarok showing off a massive, five-camera rig with the tongue-in-cheek caption, “Independent cinema is not dead.” He does not mention the purpose for the multiple-camera rig, which looks somewhat like a Sentinel from The Matrix, but it’s an impressive photo nonetheless.
Whether or not Waititi meant the caption to be ironic is up for interpretation. After all, that camera rig looks like it could easily cost about as much as the entire budget of his last movie, and it is certainly not something the average indie director could afford. On the other hand, though, Marvel’s hiring of Waititi for the job means that an indie movie can still gain enough traction to get the attention of big Hollywood studios. That gives indie directors some power, but also means there are potentially fewer directors making low-budget movies as the best and brightest are often being called up to the big leagues.
Waititi has not entirely abandoned his indie roots. Even as he has been involved in production for Thor: Ragnarok, his Hunt for the Wilderpeople was released earlier this year to critical acclaim and about $5 million in US box office earnings. The movie is a reminder that a director can have one foot in the world of independent cinema and one foot in the world of big-budget Hollywood blockbusters at the same time.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Taika Waititi