Tom Cruise is well known for doing many of his own stunts in films. Brave, risky, possibly costly and in the case of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, all of the above. Cruise broke his ankle during one jump and with typical ‘the show must go on’ bravado finished the scene before being carted off to hospital.

It was at that point things became more painful and not just for the hapless celebrity. Production was halted for three months and the delay was then complicated as members of the cast and crew were scheduled to begin filming other projects.

Once the cameras stop rolling on a film set or in a TV studio, production costs can mount quickly. The actors are only a part of the potential losses, things like equipment hire and crew still need to be paid. According to BBC, a blockbuster could be budgeted at say $200M. Depending on factors such as location and infrastructure, daily production costs could be in the region of $500K per day.

Making headlines for the wrong reasons

One of the areas of cover that has been making the headlines is Death and Disgrace. Following serious allegations against Kevin Spacey it is believed Netflix lost as much as $39M. This figure was based on House of Cards being re-shot and the biopic, Gore, being dropped altogether.

If an actor dies during filming, then this can put the whole project in jeopardy. Oliver Reed suffered a heart attack and died during the filming of Gladiator. The script and plot were changed, another actor was employed and Reed’s image had to be digitally superimposed –  all at a reported cost of $25M. The hugely successful franchise, Fast And The Furious, lost lead actor Paul Walker when he was tragically killed in a car crash. The subsequent claim was estimated by some to be the largest ever at $50M.

Documentaries can be stranger than fiction

Film and Media production is a specialist industry with particular insurance requirements, but that doesn’t mean it is immune to the perils other sectors face. For example, in certain regions of the world political risk and terrorism are factors. Governments can change and as a result filming licenses could be revoked.

One recent example is a documentary film crew which followed The Rolling Stones on their 2016 tour of South America, with a finale in Cuba – the first ever concert by any western rock band in this communist country. Shortly before their arrival it turned out that there was an awkward double booking – Cuba agreed to welcome a US president, also for the first time ever. The government decided It was too tricky to host Barack Obama and the Stones at the same time. Jagger, Richards and company would just have to wait. The costs and pressure racked up for filming and production, not to mention the gig itself. The date was then reset for Good Friday – unfortunately The Pope took exception and asked them to postpone. Fortunately, despite the obstacles, the Stones played.

Gone with the wind

Weather is an example of an insurance peril that can cause major problems for filming on location. Last year’s wildfires in California shut down the filming of Westworld until it was safe to resume and even then a fire safety officer was on hand. Meanwhile, the production of the 7th series of hugely popular TV series, Game of Thrones, was delayed as it was too warm and sunny to shoot winter scenes in Iceland, Croatia and Northern Ireland.

Working in a digital world

Animators themselves can also be at risk. Aardman lost Wallace, Gromit and much more to a blaze at their warehouse. Plus, as we move into an increasingly digital world where computer graphics rather than plasticine models are the norm, associated risks need to be managed and mitigated. Post-production costs also need to be considered. To replace Paul Walker in Fast and Furious a digital firm had to be employed to recreate his face on his brother who got hired as a stand-in actor. A power cut, a cyber attack or a loss of data could all be damaging even if they don’t grab the headlines an actor will attract.


If you would like to find out more about how Shepherd Compello can help you with Film, Sport and Entertainment risks, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7378 4000 or email:



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