What does it mean when Roland Emmerich, a man who is known for creating some of the biggest and most expensive special effects movies ever made, has decided to shoot his next movie on the cheap? His last film, 2012, didn’t make back its $200 million budget domestically, although the insane $600 million foreign box office more than covered the difference. Now this week we have learned that he is reportedly returning to the alien invasion genre that gave him his most successful movie to date (Independence Day), and instead of amping up the effects he is going the Cloverfield route and scaling back instead. Is this just capitalizing on a trend, or is it a sign of the times?
According to Heat Vision, Emmerich’s next movie is a found footage flick called The Zone that will be largely improvised by a cast of unknowns. The two main characters are reportedly a middle-aged journalist and a young black cameraman. The budget is ridiculously small, especially for someone with Emmerich’s background. It is said to be set at just $5 million, which is less than Skyline was shot for, and probably less than the craft services cost on 2012.
Emmerich also seems to be following in J.J. Abrams’ footsteps by trying to keep everything top secret, and apparently he is doing a good job at it (last we heard, he was developing an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation). The Zone will start shooting in mid-November, and will be distributed by Sony.
On a somewhat related note, Warner Brothers recently picked up a spec for another found footage movie from The Fourth Kind director Olatunde Osunsanmi. It’s called Dark Moon, and it will consist of footage from a black ops manned mission to the moon that was conducted under the cloak of secrecy.
Are you excited to see what Roland Emmerich can do with the limitations of a small budget, or are you getting sick of found footage films?