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Did The Movie ‘Venom’ Get More Money Than Fire Relief for the Brazilian Amazon?

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The 2018 film "Venom" had a higher budget than the one for a fund helping the Amazon rainforest region amid rampant wildfires.

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Following the August 2019 news that the G7 economic forum agreed to pledge $20 million to contain fires tearing through the Amazon rainforest, digital artist Todd Vaziri‘s note of perspective on Twitter struck a chord online.

Vaziri — who has worked on several films in the Star Wars series among other projects — simply wrote, “The budget for ‘Venom’ was $100 million.” The tweet was spread more than 10,000 times and highlighted more than 30,000 times since being posted on August 26, 2019.

“Other than the tweet itself I have nothing much to add,” Vaziri said when reached for comment.

It is true in and of itself that the 2018 film’s budget exceeded the Amazon emergency fund, though it is unclear by how much; both the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and other outlets have reported that the film’s budget was an estimated $100 million, while the film business analysis site The Numbers has listed Venom’s budget at $116 million.

Bruce Nash, founder and publisher of The Numbers, told us that that kind of discrepancy is “par for the course” when reporting on feature film budgets; his site specifically cited a November 4 2018 report in Deadline for their own findings.

“The producer or the distributor will put out a budget figure for the film, normally around the time when it’s released, sometimes when it’s put into production,” Nash said, adding that news outlets “generally don’t know” if a budget listing will account for tax credits a film’s production company may have received for shooting in a particular location. Another variant, he said, was money spent on reshoots.

“There were lots of stories floating around that the production [of Venom] was in trouble,” Nash said. As Deadline reported:

That movie was rife with stories about a production shutdown, fights between its director Ruben Fleischer and star Tom Hardy, and down-to-the-wire editing. Some wondered if all that agita would spell for an opening that was under $65 million, but in the end, the $116 million-budgeted Marvel property over-indexed, with the best opening October had ever seen with $80.2 million.

The $20 million emergency fund established by the G7 has also become a source of tension between world leaders. In announcing its establishment, French President Emmanuel Macron called the fires “a subject for the whole planet.”

He also told Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro:

We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance. But we cannot allow you to destroy everything.

Bolsonaro rejected the offer, demanding that Macron take back alleged “attacks” against his administration.

Meanwhile, other parties have attempted to help Brazil deal with the fires by accepting donations toward various relief efforts. One organization — the Earth Alliance, a non-profit group co-founded by actor Leonardo DiCaprio — has opened its own $5 million emergency fund prioritizing help for indigenous communities in the region.