Brad Pitt F1 movie sees budget balloon – profitability in doubt


Brad Pitt's untitled Formula 1 film is poised to be a cinematic white knuckle ride, but not just for the on-screen action according to industry reports.

This ambitious project, which went into production last year and is set for a mid-2025 release, is revving its engines towards a record-breaking budget, raising questions about its profitability.

The movie, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and helmed by ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ director Joseph Kosinski, and starring Pitt alongside British actor Damson Idris, takes viewers into the dramatic world of Grand Prix racing through a fictional story.

Pitt portrays a seasoned driver – Sonny Hayes – lured back from retirement to mentor a promising young teammate (Idris) on the fictional Apex team.

Adding a touch of authenticity, the production team has used machines developed by Mercedes on the basis of a Dallara Formula 1 chassis transformed to resemble current F1 cars.

The operation was overseen by Carlin, a respected motorsport outfit, ensuring the machines looked and handled like the real deal.

Filming incorporated a blend of on-track action and behind-the-scenes immersion. Dedicated filming sessions captured the roar of the engines and the blur of speed, while Pitt and Idris were even spotted interacting with the real drivers on the grid before last year's British Grand Prix.

The production also blended the Apex team into F1 paddock and pitlane at several venues, complete with a motorhome, garage, and pit gantry that mirrored those used by actual teams.

However, the road to the finish line hasn’t been without its bumps. A lengthy SAG-AFTRA strike threw a wrench into the works, forcing a three-month hiatus and driving up production costs.

This, coupled with the ambitious decision to put actors in real racing cars – including Pitt himself taking a spin in a modified F2 car during the British GP weekend – has reportedly inflated the budget to a staggering $300 million – a figure that puts the movie in Hollywood’s "most expensive ever made" territory.

That hefty price tag has cast a shadow over the film's potential profitability, especially as F1, while having a dedicated global fanbase, isn't exactly mainstream.

Industry experts suggest a movie needs to earn 2-2.5 times its budget to break even. In this case, that translates to a daunting $600 million, or more realistically, somewhere between $750-900 million.

Considering the film isn't a part of a pre-existing franchise, the pressure to deliver a box office smash is immense.

Breaking the coveted $1 billion mark is a rare feat, achieved by only 54 films in history. Even surpassing the $900 million mark is a tall order, with only 71 films ever reaching that milestone.

Based on these numbers, Pitt's movie isn't just aiming for success, it's aiming to become a box office titan to even turn a significant profit.

Will ‘Sonny Hayes’ and his high-octane crew defy the odds and race to box office glory? Only time, and the roar of the crowd, will tell.

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter