Of all the major movie studios with high-profile comic book tentpole franchises, Fox is perhaps second only to Sony in number of perceived setbacks (Rise of the Silver Surfer, X-Men: The Last Stand) but came roaring back to life with 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, which gave its X-Men series a dose of adrenaline and paved the way for 2016's sequel X-Men: Apocalypse and two mutant solo outings: Deadpool and Gambit.
Channing Tatum will star as the Cajun mutant with the smart mouth and telekinetic abilities, taking over the role from Taylor Kitsch, who played the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (a movie that has now been apparently erased from the overall X-Men timeline). Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is onboard to direct a script from RoboCop scribe Joshua Zetumer, with production expected to begin this October in New Orleans.
Now a new report from Comicbook.com not only appears to confirm the movie's start date, but gives us a snapshot of the movie's production budget. A company called Louisiana Development Economic Development has a website called Fast Lane, which keeps tabs on film projects shot in the state. The site lists an estimated production budget for Gambit, to the tune of $154,975,309. A total of $111,834,168 has been earmarked to be invested in the state, with the total Louisiana payroll listed as $28,098,668.
As previously reported, production is listed as beginning this October - specifically on October 13, 2015. Pre-production supposedly began on June 29, 2015, and overall production is expected to wrap on February 12, 2016. This leaves about eight months for the film's post-production period before opening in October of 2016. There are a total of 431 Louisiana production jobs listed.
A production budget just north of $150 million gives us a glimpse at the intended scale for Gambit, and it appears to be far bigger in scope than we might have expected. While the cost of these major comic book blockbusters are edging ever upwards, the budget of something like Gambit was expected to fall somewhere in the neighborhood of Deadpool's reportedly "limited" cost. An investment of over $150 million - even with Louisiana's generous tax credit incentives - is closer to the estimated $200 million budget of Days of Future Past - one of the most expensive superhero movies ever made.
While the plot of Gambit remains unknown, the 75-day shooting schedule in Louisiana alone points toward a deep and detailed origin story for the character, but can we expect the solo film to connect to the overall X-Men continuity in more ways than we thought? Location shoots are, of course, expensive in of themselves, but a budget like this hints at a number of action-heavy set pieces. Could several other X-Men show up before the movie's over? Stay tuned for more details as they emerge.
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12th, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, Gambit on October 7th, 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017,Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018. New Mutants is also in the work without a release date.
Source: Louisiana Economic Development