Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi Took Low-Budget Filmmaking To New Heights

The plan was to promote “El Mariachi” to consumers within the Spanish residence video market. Not precisely a lofty purpose, however nonetheless formidable sufficient for a film made on the intense finish of low-cost. As soon as filming was accomplished, Rodriguez despatched a trailer, together with a duplicate of “Bedhead,” to the Hollywood company Worldwide Inventive Administration (ICM). Past his wildest expectations, ICM was impressed together with his work and took him on as a shopper. Because of this, VHS copies of his movie have been making the rounds on the main studios. In the long run, Columbia Photos signed on to distribute the movie and, what’s extra, signed the budding filmmaker to a two-picture deal.

That is the place the parable of the $7,000 film begins to unravel a contact. In his e book “Insurgent With no Crew,” Rodriguez detailed making his low-budget debut. At one level, he mentioned doing an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, with journalist Donna Parker mentioning that filmmakers at Sundance took problem with the worth tag, saying you possibly can by no means make a 35mm film for that value. Rodriguez then cleared the air.

“I instructed her the entire story, cleared up the truth that it was shot on 16mm, not on 35mm, and that my completed tape that acquired me illustration at ICM, one of many greatest expertise businesses on the planet, and a writing/directing deal at Columbia Photos, was made for $7,000. You switch your detrimental straight to videotape, and you’ll take the tape to distributors as a substitute of creating a 16mm movie print.”

Certainly, Columbia bought a $7,000 film, however they needed to blow it as much as 35mm for a price of round $100,000. The studio can also be stated to have spent $1 million advertising and marketing the movie. So certain, the unique finances was mere 1000’s, however in the long run, it turned a $1.1 million (and alter) endeavor.