With $180 Million, ‘The Acolyte’ Had a Bigger Budget than Most Star Wars Installments, ‘Furiosa’ & ‘House of The Dragon,’ Why Doesn’t It Show?

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‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ is the latest installment in the franchise. The show premiered 3 weeks ago to a significant degree of both review-boosting and review-bombing. It will go down in infamy as one of the most controversial installments, due to canon-breaking and significantly hefty budget.

You can’t really tell, but ‘The Acolyte’ had a $180 Million budget for 8 episodes that approximately last around 45 minutes. This is quite the amount of money. There are some impressive action sequences included in the show so far and impressive VFX work, but is it worth $180 million? Practically nothing happened in the last two episodes of the show and even the lightsaber action was minimal.

One of the show’s writers recently explained that Kelnacca’s death couldn’t be shown on-screen due to budget constraints and breaking of POV. Fans did not take to that statement fondly, and quite a significant number of viewers pointed out that the show looked cheap. So, let’s compare it with some of the latest hits and former Star Wars installments.

Forbes reported that ‘The Acolyte’ spent $49 million on pre-production, leaving $130 million for principal photography, reshoots, and post-production. The $180 million budget for eight episodes is substantial but not the highest for a Star Wars series; ‘Andor’ holds that record with a $250 million budget for twelve episodes. Both series benefited from UK tax breaks, which allowed for larger budgets.

Compared to Disney+ Star Wars series produced in California like ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘The Book of Boba Fett,’ ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ and ‘Ahsoka,’ ‘The Acolyte’ and ‘Andor’ received significantly higher budgets. The upcoming series ‘Skeleton Crew,’ set to follow ‘The Acolyte,’ has a reported budget of $136 million, also benefiting from California tax credits.

The budgets of classic Star Wars films like ‘A New Hope,’ ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ totaled approximately $74 million combined, significantly less than half of ‘The Acolyte’s’ budget.

The prequel films ‘The Phantom Menace,’ ‘Attack of the Clones,’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ each had budgets around $115 million, but these figures still fall short of ‘The Acolyte’s’ budget for its eight 45-minute episodes.

Then there’s also the recently released ‘House of the Dragon,’ show that is notoriously expensive due to dragons. The second season of the popular ‘Game of Thrones’ spinoff reportedly had a budget of $130 million for eight episodes, they apparently managed to keep the budget under $20 million per episode. Why are we comparing these two shows? Well, compared to ‘The Acolyte,’ HOTD looks like true cinema, along with intricate scenery, impressive VFX work, and elaborate costumes.

Even ‘Furiosa’ with its extremely intricate action scenes was far cheaper with a $168 million budget. Although the movie did not exactly win at the box office, it managed to score high with both critics and the audiences.

In ‘The Acolyte’ many scenes feature excessively close shots, lacking wide angles that would provide more expansive views. This approach is typically seen in low-budget productions lacking skilled directors and cinematographers. There are also several issues with dialogues that are, at times, both written funny and delivered funny.

We still have 4 episodes to go, and perhaps we will see this $180 million put to good use. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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