Following Patriot Games (made in seven months) and Leap of Faith (just under six), the next product of Paramount’s chop-shop, speeded-up school of filmmaking will be Eddie Murphy‘s Beverly Hills Cop 3. Starting its shoot in February, the $55 million sequel is scheduled to hit the screens by August, a mere six months later, and the fast footwork needed has already forced one major player to drop out. Producer Joel Silver (Die Hard), no stranger to big spending, has quit Cop 3, fearing that the rushed project will end up costing so much money it would leave him, he says, ”barbecued by the media.”
While Leap producer Michael Manheim suggests that quick shoots keep costs down, other producers feel they’re a surefire way to increase them. ”The less preparation time you have, the more you end up spending,” says Patriot Games producer Mace Neufeld, who admits that a portion of his $43 million budget was caused by poor prepping. Silver agrees. ”Without a rush, building a wall on a set will cost you maybe $6,000,” he says. ”But if you have to get it done within 24 hours, it’ll cost you $60,000. It’s a no-win situation.”
According to one studio source, the Cop 3 budget (of which the biggest chunk is a jaw-dropping $27 million for Murphy’s salary and production company) will probably rise by at least $20 million, bringing the total to $75 million. That may seem a bit excessive to some, given that the box office for Murphy’s latest film, The Distinguished Gentleman, is only $30.4 million after four weeks.