By now, we’ve all seen the Federal Government’s video aimed to educate children and teens about consent. And all of us are worse off having seen it. But, the entire country is worse off after learning how much the video and its associated campaign cost to make: $3.79 million AUD.
Almost $4 million AUD for a video that does very little to teach young people about consent, and in fact, makes the matter exponentially more confusing. Young people aren’t incapable of understanding consensual sex in its most basic form, yet the government delivered a very brief video that unnecessarily (and expensively) convolutes the essential message.
But, perhaps you might not truly have the scope of how farcical of an expense this is in the grand scheme of things. Putting aside that the cost is almost half of the $7.8 million allocated to the government’s “Respect Matters” campaign, here’s just some of the biggest blockbuster films you no doubt have seen that didn’t set its makers back $3.79 million.
‘Paranormal Activity’ – approx. $19,000 AUD
Of course, the most famous example of a low-budget film that scored hugely at the box office is 2007’s Paranormal Activity. Filmed entirely in the found-footage style, it was made on a measly $15,000 USD budget. Paramount Pictures acquired the film after it was finished and made some modifications, which cost a further $200,000 USD ($259,000 AUD). That’s a total of $278,000 AUD all up, some $3.5million LESS than the government’s consent video.
Paranormal Activity went on to gross $250 million AUD worldwide, and has subsequently become the most profitable movie ever made based on return on investment.
‘Mad Max’ – approx. $400,000 AUD ($1.9 million adjusted for inflation)
Yep, the first instalment of arguably Australia's most beloved series of films cost almost an eighth of what the milkshake consent video cost to make. Much like the government's latest gaffe, it was pretty heavily scrutinised by critics. However, in a move that surely does not lay in the fate of said gaffe, Mad Max has since become a cult classic and spawned colossal sequels – the forthcoming one set to be the biggest movie ever made in NSW and offer a colossal amount of jobs. (Helping to perhaps repair the $4 million dent in the economy the milkshake video left.)
‘Napoleon Dynamite’ – approx. $518,000 AUD
Let’s just take a moment to see what a vote for Pedro got us (a film that grossed around $59 million AUD worldwide) compared to what a vote for ScoMo got us (a weird video that fails to execute its sole purpose and instead used an incredibly outdated reference to appeal to youth).
‘The Blair Witch Project’ – approx. $250,000 AUD – $650,000 AUD
The godfather of found footage horror flicks, The Blair Witch Project was a game changer as far as low-budget movies came. In addition to its now iconic style of filming, the 1999 film grossed over $320 million AUD worldwide, becoming one of the most successful independent movies ever made.
And not a milkshake in sight. Inspired.
‘Rocky’ – $1.2 million AUD ($7.7 million adjusted for inflation)
I mean, need we say more? Sure, the inflation rate puts it above the cost of the milkshake video, but its cultural staying power deems it worthy of comparison.
‘Moonlight’ – $1.95 million AUD
There’s plenty to say about the cultural impact of Moonlight. The representation it gave to queer, Black men – a grossly underrepresented demographic in film – is undeniable, and arguably opened the door for ensemble films with a dominantly Black cast to be taken seriously by critics and (white) audiences alike. It also happened to be a part of one of the biggest Oscar moments in history, where it (eventually) won Best Picture.
In the four or so years since Moonlight’s release, it has been widely considered as one of the greatest movies of the century, and it eventually grossed around $84 million AUD worldwide.
Anyway, I think I’ve made my point. A BEST PICTURE WINNING FILM COST LESS THAN HALF AS MUCH TO MAKE AS THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S MILKSHAKE CONSENT VIDEO.
Just shows what you can do and the messages you can spread when you put the task with those who know what they’re doing – with half the budget.