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Shoot the Money

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"Look, we paid for the van, we're gonna film it!"

When a television or movie production has paid a lot of money for an extra-special effect, Prop, or to get to an exotic location, then they are damn well going to get their money's worth. So we see a lot of that big budget item:

  • If it is an expensive locale, then we see lots of scenes of the characters traveling through the iconic scenery. Especially in very scenic locations like Hawaii, or at major landmarks that cost large amounts of money to hire out, such as the Empire State Building.
  • If it is an expensive prop, then we'll see a lot of the prop, and the plot will feature it heavily. Your only hope is that it isn't a Special Effects Failure.
  • If it is an expensive actor, then we'll see a lot of that actor. You got this guy because you didn't want the Poor Man's Substitute.
  • If it is an expensive set, then expect it to become the base of operations. If not, it might receive some minor redressing to represent other locations.
  • If it is animation, then you don't waste any shots, because you don't bother animating something you aren't going to use.

There isn't necessarily anything wrong with this. Making the most of your budget is what really makes the industry appreciate you, and having a good trailer image works in your favor. The only real pitfall is if you can get a better artistic effect by not shooting the money — for instance, how the expensive prop shark in Jaws was little seen in the film, but that made the shark scarier to the audience.

See also Stock Footage, Scenery Porn, Prop Recycling, Big Budget Beef-Up, Widescreen Shot, Leave the Camera Running, Tech-Demo Game.

Please do not confuse with Money-Making Shot. Or with using cash as ammo or pumping stacks of bills full of lead.


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  • While it's toned down in following and preceding works, the Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence team must have spent a ton of money on the CGI exterior and flyby shots, and they're damn well going to show them to you.

    Film — Animated 
  • The remake of The Lion King made a photorealistic recreation of Africa and its animals, and it wastes no time to show it. Meaning it wastes a lot of time to properly show it.
  • This trope is typically averted in animation — you might have a lot of cool scenes, but you have so much control over the setting that no one scene is that much more expensive than the other, and you don't have to pay the voice actors too much, even if they're otherwise big-name actors, because they just have to sit in a studio and record their lines.
    • Kung Fu Panda surprised many viewers by hiring Jackie Chan to voice a character with surprisingly few lines. In the end, they also wanted him to provide technical guidance for the fight scenes — he is, after all, the master of kung-fu comedy.
    • Pinocchio's opening multiplane camera shot on the morning Pinocchio goes to school, which barely lasts for a full minute, cost $50,000 to shoot — as much as the budget of an entire Disney short cartoon. The panning multiplane crane shot during the "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee" number, which lasts barely 33 seconds on screen, cost almost as much money, around $35,000.
    • Literally the entire reason The Thief and the Cobbler exists is for Richard Williams to show off every trick, technique, and method of hand-drawn animation he learned from the golden age masters. To Williams, money was no object: if it could be animated, it would, whether or not it was relevant or cost-effective.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey had a $10.5 million budget, and $6.5 million of it went to special effects. The first twenty-five minutes of the film is showing off the actors in the monkey suits (one real chimp was used for a baby), the space stations, and the moon colonies.
  • Armageddon (1998) has a large number of gratuitous shots of helicopters. They were clearly getting the most out of those rentals.
  • Avatar was the most expensive film ever made for a reason. The otherworldly environments and creatures get a lot of screen time, and many scenes seem to be designed specifically to show contemporary advances in 3D filmmaking.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron Tony Stark faces off against a mind controlled Hulk in the Veronica aka Hulk-Buster armor and has a long extended fight that he eventually wins and the armor returns in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers End Game piloted by Bruce Banner in Hulk's absence. This is in stark (pun unintended) contrast to the Hulk Buster's record in the comics where it is frequently reduced to scrap in seconds by the Hulk whenever they face off.
  • Back to the Future Part II showcased newly-developed technology to allow the cast to play their characters' past, present, or future counterparts alongside themselves.
  • Equilibrium's interrogation scenes between Preston and Mary, despite simply being two people speaking to each other, were incredibly expensive. Mary required multiple dresses of various shades of pink, and each scene required a smaller table than the one preceding it. Director Kurt Wimmer felt that it was absolutely necessary, despite squeezing the film's already tight budget, because the richer colors and the closing distance between the two characters showed that Preston was emotionally opening up and beginning to perceive beauty.
  • Inception takes this trope to a new level, given that it was shot in five different countries. There's quite a lot of Scenery Porn, but it doesn't end there, especially in Paris. We don't just see Paris; we see it fold into itself like a taco!
  • The 1995 film adaptation of the British comic book Judge Dredd starred Sylvester Stallone in the title role, even though said protagonist has a very distinctive Cool Helmet which he has practically never removed in the comic in its 30-plus-year history. The film producers, however, paid for Stallone, and the viewers were going to see Stallone, so Dredd ditches his helmet 20 minutes into the film and stays that way throughout.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie is a major Big Budget Beef-Up of the infamously low-budget children's TV show Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Just in case the audience doesn't catch the hint that it's a Big Budget Beef-Up, the very first scene of the movie is a lengthy sky-diving sequence. It isn't the slightest bit relevant to the plot — the whole stunt is supposedly a fundraising gig for the Angel Grove Youth Center — but it's an effective way to show off the budget.
  • Na Pali Coast took place in Hawaii, and had lots of beautiful scenery shots... filmed in Costa Rica.
  • North: Dan Aykroyd and Reba McEntire appear as the stereotypical Texan family, and sing the film's only song, a parody of the Bonanza theme song, despite North not being a musical (and despite Bonanza actually being set in Nevada). And it's also possibly Foreshadowing since the movie's All Just a Dream.
  • Pacific Rim built a fully functional Jaeger cockpit, mounted on hydraulics that would allow it to rotate, drop, and tilt to mimic the exterior behavior of the titanic mechs as they moved according to the actors' motions inside. Naturally, this set was redressed into all four of the Jaeger cockpit interiors we see, with frequent shots of the actors performing an action before cutting to the CG robots mimicking it.
  • Pulp Fiction: The Jackrabbit Slim's set was extremely elaborate and featured lots of extras in costume as 1950s stars. It was the most expensive set piece in the film, so it's easy to see why the camera does a sweeping tour through the whole establishment as Mia and Vincent find their seats.
  • Lampshaded in Soapdish, where a network executive mentions that the simulated ocean background for the Soap Within a Show cost the studio over $100,000.
  • The Soviet film version of Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, includes a long highway scene in the middle of the movie. It was a particularly ridiculous value of "money", as the film crew was aiming to travel to the 1970 Osaka Expo and film the futuristic stuff there, but by the time the Soviets gave them the approval to travel to Japan, the expo was over — so, with approval to go to Japan, they had to have something to show for it, and they filmed the byzantine Tokyo highway system.
  • In film adaptation of Frank Miller's The Spirit, the Octopus is played by Samuel L. Jackson. In the comics, the character is always hidden in shadows, but if you've paid for Samuel L. Jackson, you've got to show his face.
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture was kind of an odd case. Yes, there are a crapton of shots of the elaborate Enterprise model that clearly cost a lot to make. But that model wasn't made for the film, but rather for a putative sequel to the original TV series (converted to a film in a scramble, mostly because of the planned Paramount TV network it was supposed to anchor being mothballed, but also because of the then-recent success of Star Wars), where it would have been used more frequently. And the remaining effects were totally unusable, requiring the studio to scramble and get John Dykstra and Douglas Trumbull to work their rear ends off to make the final product, so the Paramount people figured that their hard work (and all that money) should probably be front-and-center in the movie. The problem was that doing so led to the deletion of several Character Development scenes that were important to the film.
  • Star Wars: The iconic opening space battle of A New Hope was actually due to this trope. The ship that was originally the Millennium Falcon was decided to be too close in appearance to a ship from Space: 1999, so they rushed out a new design at the last minute. In the meantime, the original Falcon's model was repurposed as the Tantive IV,note  Princess Leia's blockade runner. The model for the Tantive IV was twice as large and detailed as any other model made for the movie, but it only is in the film for around a minute.
  • Starship Troopers: The uniforms and helmets made for the movie would be used again and again in other science fiction productions, such as an episode of Firefly.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is often accused of spending an inordinate amount of screen time on April O'Neil to justify the hefty pricetag of hiring Megan Fox for the role, but this is unlikely considering the much more expensive CGI and Motion Capture for the Turtles themselves.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day, judging from its opening, intended to keep the presence of the T1000 ambiguous for a while, letting the audience think that Robert Patrick's character was another human sent back to stop another T-800. The trailers, of course, ignored that to show off the then-new and awesome morphing effects.
  • Titanic (1997) was the most expensive film made up to that point, and damned if you don't see every penny of it. The film is festooned with travelling shots showcasing the digital ship, inside and out, and showing the level of research that went into replicating the ship. The scene of the ship's sinking is long, drawn-out, and basically in real time.
  • Disney's pioneering 1982 CGI film TRON featured a relatively tiny amount of actual CGI, amounting to less than five minutes' worth in a feature-length film. However, the extensive use of footage from the famous Light Cycle sequence in television spots and trailers gave the impression that the entire film was computer generated.
  • TRON: Legacy would follow its predecessor, especially since the CGI team knew they working on a film that was the sequel to something most of them revered as 3D modelers and designers, so they made every dollar count. This, of course, is shown best during the new Light Cycle sequence.
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy kind of zig-zags it. Certainly, there are many many shots showing what exactly the trilogy's $285 million budget was used to make. In fact, the reason why the films and their large-scale CGI battles (where each fighter reacts independently thanks to the Weta-developed Massive engine) exist is because Peter Jackson had purchased some very expensive workstations for The Frighteners and needed to find a project that allowed him to get his money's worth out of the machines.
    • There were also minor things which were incredibly detailed and never shown on screen. For instance, in Return of the King, Éowyn wears an intricate dress for a scene in which she's only shot from the chest up (a fact lamented on the DVD Commentary by Miranda Otto), and Théoden's breastplate had beautiful and intricate stitching and details on the inside — but Bernard Hill still thinks it made it on screen in a sense, because it made him feel like a king when wearing it.
  • Aversions:
    • In Alien, the huge Space Jockey in its "pilot chair" was built by artist H. R. Giger for a lot of money and was used only in one scene. Then, 30 years later, it inspired a film of its own.
    • The Harry Potter films, in addition to their prolific use of seemingly every Classically-Trained Extra in Britain, have a lot of detail on set that's barely noticeable on screen. Particular instances include the animatronic hog's head mounted on the wall of the Hog's Head pub in Order of the Phoenix (which you'll notice only if you're looking for it) and a background extra in Half-Blood Prince dubbed "tattoo man", who required five hours of work from four makeup artists and ended up being cut from the film entirely. At least Warner Bros. would get their money's worth by showing off the detailed sets to visitors on their studio tour.
    • Jaws famously wanted to shoot the money, having made several animatronic Threatening Sharks, but they all looked so fake and were so plagued with mechanical difficulties that Steven Spielberg decided to minimize any focus on them. Most critics agree that this worked to the film's benefit, creating a more frightening atmosphere and increasing the effect when it does appear.
    • For King Kong (1976), a giant animatronic Kong was built at a cost of $1.7 million, but it was only used for a couple of seconds-long shots — because it wasn't convincing, and it was obvious.
    • Sahara (2005) tried — it had a 45-second scene of a plane crash that cost $2 million to film, but it was cut to make room for the Product Placement scenes. Let's hope those endorsements made up for that $2 million.

    Live Action TV 
  • The South American Soap Opera industry loves to do this. It's their way to say We Care and dispel the doubts about the quality of their productions.
    • Brazilian soap opera O Clone sent its crew to Morocco and filmed a lot of scenery and action there, even some scenes intended to happen much later in the story.
    • Venezuelan soap producers have a nasty habit of filming in gorgeous natural exteriors during the first chapters of a story, and then reusing the exterior location shots over and over while the rest of the show films on studio because most of the money was spent on those chapters.
    • When part of the action on Colombian soap Yo soy Betty, la fea moved from dull Bogotá to sunny Cartagena de Indias, there were a lot of scenes showing Betty wandering by the beautiful beaches and the pretty buildings of the latter city. The Mexican version La fea más bella did the same thing when it shifted from Mexico City to Acapulco and New York.
    • A Brazilian and Venezuelan fad during The '90s and early Nougties was to build their own Building of Adventure location, namely a small town (usually only the facades, but still), or a department store. In an infamous case (Torre de Babel), an entire small mall set was built, but when the soap tanked and the set became too expensive to maintain, they blew it up on camera to do the double feat of disposing of the set and adding more drama to the plot (incidentally using the explosion to dispose of the most unpopular characters).
  • Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda sure got their money's worth from the "asteroid base" cave set built for their fourth episode, as it appears over and over again for a variety of caves, asteroid bases, underground command centers, and so forth.
  • An episode of Angel had Angel being poisoned by a leech-like parasite that forced him to remain asleep and have crazy nightmares. The director, David Boreanaz himself, said that there were two main props of the leech, one crafted out of a spongy material with some slime on it and another that had full animatronics and cost them $85,000. He resorted to filming as little of the costly prop as possible because he felt it was too goofy looking and the cheaper sponge prop actually worked better. He wouldn't have used it at all if it wasn't for the fact it cost $85,000.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica:
    • The show was famous for overusing the Viper launch sequence, as it used very expensive high-tech special effects (for the time). Most battle scenes similarly used the same clips, rearranged to suit the needs of the script, occasionally with the shot flipped vertically for a little variety. The cockpit interiors were carefully matched to the actors called for in the script, but the cockpit set itself was a single set (later recycled for the Buck Rogers TV show). The show still cost over $1 million per episode.
    • The episode "The Lost Planet of the Gods" was shot on location in Egypt, and used a shot of the pyramids of Giza as an establishing shot for the lost human homeworld of Kobol.
  • The British series The Bill once had an end-of-season Cliffhanger involving a (no doubt expensive to hire) police helicopter. The helicopter features prominently in the ending, and there's lots of footage of London shown from the helicopter.
  • The Sci-Fi Channel original movie Dead Men Walking did this with a special effect. The admittedly cool-looking bit of zombies excavating a torso loses its shock value when it is seen again and again and again on completely different victims.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The characters in "The Ark in Space" spend an awful long time in the cryonic chamber (even though the useful controls, supplies, and computers are elsewhere in other rooms) because the set was extremely beautiful and expensive and one of the most ambitious sets the series had yet executed. All scenes that don't absolutely have to take place somewhere else in the ship take place in it.
    • Robert Holmes commissioned a Sontaran story for Season 12 because the Sontaran costume created for the previous season was so expensive that the producer wanted to reuse it. The result was the Bottle Episode "The Sontaran Experiment". The strange part is that a new, lighter Sontaran head was created for it, defeating the story's original purpose.
    • One of the reasons K9 was added to the cast was because his prop was too expensive to build solely for the character's planned role as quirky set dressing in a one-shot story. Unfortunately, the prop was badly made and the remote control interfered with the cameras, meaning the prop had to be replaced multiple times, negating the initial point.
    • The production team actually traveled to Paris for "City of Death", the first time a Doctor Who story was shot outside of Britain. Most of the story was set in Paris anyway, but the director made sure to include gratuitous shots of the Doctor and Romana walking around Parisian locations in the first episode. Less effective use was made of Amsterdam in "Arc of Infinity", but in "Planet of Fire" the island of Lanzarote doubled as itself and as an alien planet.
    • The Terileptils in "The Visitation", and the pioneering animatronic masks used to bring them to life, were intended to return. Those plans fell through. One mask did end up being reused in modified form on a delegate from Posikar in "The Trial of a Time Lord".
    • "Time-Flight" is a notorious example. Lavish attention is spent on the Concorde to show off that they paid to get a Concorde.
    • The model shot of the space station that opens "The Mysterious Planet" was the single most expensive special effects shot in the series up to that point; the show had just survived an attempt to cancel it that turned into an 18-month hiatus, and the producer spent lavishly on it to ensure that the show's return after its enforced hiatus made a big impact. The cost was offset by using it as an establishing shot in later episodes. (A decade later, the footage was used in promos for the US TV movie.)
    • Nicola Bryant was heard to remark that the huge, elaborate circular doorway from "Mindwarp" cost more than her fee for the story. It's also almost as visible on screen as she is.
    • In "Battlefield", producer John Nathan-Turner decided that Stock Footage of a helicopter simply wouldn't do, and the show really needed to blow its budget on an actual one. So we get long, lingering shots of the helicopter transporting The Brigadier around.
    • In the second episode of the Ninth Doctor's series, we are introduced to the Face of Boe, an enormous disembodied head in a tank, clearly an extremely expensive prop. It has practically no part in the story other than looking exotic. Fans with some grasp of the economics of television production knew they'd be seeing more of it. And so they did, as it returned in the following two series, complete with actual importance to the story.
    • Many alien species in the new series will frequently appear multiple times, as a way to justify their very well done special effects and costumes. The Ood have made multiple appearances, and so have the Sontarans, Judoon, and Slitheen. (Strangely enough, after their first appearance in "Rose", the Autons don't show up again until the end of Season 5.)
  • The sitcom The Facts of Life had a special set in Australia. Much footage of Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House was shown, as well as Uluru.
  • Game of Thrones: "Blackwater", "The Watchers on the Wall", and "Battle of the Bastards" are easily the most expensive episodes of the show. They use fewer locations than usual and discard most of the show's usual Four Lines, All Waiting. The production staff is pulling out all the stops for a truly expensive action sequence and making damn sure they get a whole episode's worth of material out of it.
  • The producers of The Graham Norton Show originally built the Big Red Chair for a one-off segment as a tribute to Ronnie Corbett but the prop and the associated hydraulics were so expensive that they turned it into a regular segment, which quickly became a trademark, to close each show to justify the cost.
  • A series 6 episode of House featured a video game developer who succumbs to a medical complaint while testing his new virtual reality game, depicted using very expensive-looking CGI. Not only do House's team find an excuse to give us another look by playing the game themselves while supposedly investigating his symptoms, but the patient is also obliging enough to develop hallucinations that incorporate similar CGI elements. In addition, whenever any future episodes show characters playing a video game, it is always this one. The controls have inexplicably been mapped from the original virtual reality system to standard console controllers while the graphics remain as pre-rendered shots from camera angles that would make gameplay very difficult, but at least it gives the show an excuse to reuse the CGI footage again.
  • Late Night with Conan O'Brien:
    • Lampshaded with a sketch that featured a giant whale costume with a functioning blowhole. After the sketch, Conan announced that it cost several thousand dollars, and thus they were going to feature the costume in as many sketches as possible to justify the expense. They ended up featuring it in eight separate episodes — about the length of a typical Running Gag on the show.
    • Zigzagged on Conan's last couple of weeks on NBC, where a pissed-off Conan decided to waste as much of NBC's money as he could. He pitched sketches along the lines of "purchased fossil of a ground sloth from the Smithsonian spraying an original Picasso with beluga caviar". However, all those sketches used either cheap substitutes or rentals. The music played in those segments, on the other hand, all had impossibly high royalty payments for even short snippets (playing "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones off the original master tapes isn't cheap). In fact, the music rights are so expensive that NBC cannot rerun it without paying tens of thousands of dollars per clip. And that's part of the reason why O'Brien's NBC run has been more or less locked away forever.
  • The History Channel must have spent a small fortune on creating the CGI collapse of the Space Needle in Seattle, because they used it over and over again in the original Life After People special.
  • The Vendaface machine on The Muppet Show was meant to be only used once, but executive producer David Lazer suggested that he should be used more often, as it was an expensive puppet to build.
  • Power Rangers Turbo premiered with a movie. While in the movie the Rangers only morphed once, they also got a much more elaborate morph sequence than prior morphs. When reused in the series, this unfortunately ate into the episodes' run times as the whole sequence took about two minutes, which was okay in a 90-minute movie but not a 22-minute episode. Notably, when 4/5 of the cast were swapped out mid-season, the replacement morph sequence was significantly shorter and less detailed.
  • Although The Prisoner (1967) seemed to make extensive use of Portmeirion, the location filming had been restricted to just a few weeks early in the production, and later episodes were mostly studio-bound. The directors nonetheless gave the impression that most of the series had been shot on location by carefully rationing the existing footage.
  • An unfortunate example was the Red Dwarf episode "Pete". The episode featured a dinosaur realized through a combination of models and CGI, but this ended up taking so much out of the budget that it was one of the big contributions to a production crisis that resulted in several planned episodes (including the originally intended finale) having to be abandoned because they could no longer afford them. "Pete" ended up expanding from a single episode to a two-parter, in part because they could claw back some of the money by using more of the dinosaur.
    • Another example from the same series (8) was the very expensive effect of blowing up Starbug in the first episode, which they ended up using noticeably way too many shots of in the opening credits.
  • A smaller version of Zoe was used for the Sesame Street special "Abby in Wonderland". However, it was reused for a few episodes in season 40 alongside the normal-sized Zoe.
  • The producers of Space: 1999 spent a tonne of cash on the show's modelwork and sets, and they made sure that they got their money's worth. Shots of the show's Eagles taking off and crashing and blowing up were used over and over again, and an alien spaceship popped up in several different guises in different episodes. BRIAN BLESSED even guest-starred as two completely different characters in two episodes a season apart.
  • Stargate:
    • The 200th episode special of Stargate SG-1 featured some very expensive puppetry (same as from Thunderbirds) setup. The subsequent skit went on for about three times as long as it should have. All for a cheap "wires cut" gag.
    • The Stargate production team built a very expensive medieval set for their Season 9 Ori story arc. It appeared quite regularly through the last 2 seasons of SG-1 and occasionally on Stargate Atlantis. After SG-1 finished, the Atlantis producers were able to use all the sets built, and the medieval set featured in every other episode.
    • The original "Kawoosh" effect involved firing a jet engine into a pool and filming it underwater from a lot of angles, so it had to be reusable.
    • "Full Circle", the last episode of series 7, features Anubis blowing up the pyramid on Abydos with a superweapon in an effect that, according to Word of God, was extremely expensive to pull off. As a result, this gets added to the opening credits for series 8, even though the effect is not that visually impressive and does not carry emotional weight without the viewer knowing the context that this is the pyramid from the original film being destroyed.
  • All the Star Trek series and films have generally been filmed in the greater Los Angeles area. So when they're not gallivanting around Kirk's Rock, you can bet they're going to show off their locations:
    • A lot of the studio models and CGI models of ships were recycled from one show to the next, sometimes as simply as flipping them upside down or recoloring them.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise must have spent a lot of money on the "cave" set from season 1, considering how often the crew would have to explore a cave, have a shuttle fall into a cave, explore an ice cave, have a shuttle fall into an ice cave, and so on.
    • Showing a high degree of savvy about the economics of television production, when Gene Roddenberry wrote the pilot for Star Trek: The Next Generation, he deliberately invoked this trope by adding a scene in Engineering, knowing that otherwise the costly set would never be built.
    • The Original Series offered up a kind of diffuse example. It was one of the first generation of television shows broadcast in color, but color televisions were still a luxury good, and color production equipment sure wasn't free either. Thus, all the sets were painted and lit in what is now considered incredibly garish color, to wring maximum spectacle out of the expensive gear. This wasn't the case initially, though, with the first pilot, "The Cage", even though it was filmed in color and gave us the Trope Namer for the Green-Skinned Space Babe; the set changes were made with the second pilot.
    • As a bit of potential Fridge Logic, this possibly explains why the crew went around in the iconic tunics — on CRT displays, the three "pixels" that make up a color image are blue, red and green note .
    • The main reason the Enterprise didn't send a shuttlecraft down to rescue Sulu's landing party in "The Enemy Within" when the transporter wasn't working properly was simply because NBC refused to budget for one. Even with scripts explicitly calling for shuttles, NBC wouldn't budge. The full-size model and interior set were ultimately funded by model kit maker AMT, who received the license to market Star Trek model kits in exchange (a license that continues with their parent company Ertl to this day, though not exclusively), and the studio got a lot of mileage out of the model shots for "The Galileo Seven". Amusingly, a genuine commercial AMT Enterprise kit made it into the series proper, as the destroyed Constellation in "The Doomsday Machine", as a way to save money.
    • For that matter, the reason why Star Trek has a transporter was because the budget didn't allow for regular shuttle landings, so they needed an alternate explanation for how the away team got onto the planet. And when the budget wouldn't allow for the visual beam-in effect, they just played the transporter sound between scene cuts.
    • A variation occurred in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Terry Farrell. Originally, she would have had the same Rubber-Forehead Aliens makup as Odan from TNG episode "The Host". Farrell had been fitted for the makup and several variations were even used in early test filming. However because Paramount paid to cast a beautiful woman in the part of Jadzia, they wanted to show a beautiful woman. The studio refused to allow Farrell to be covered by prosthetics. Thus the Rubber Forehead went away and she got her spots instead.
  • In Sweet Home (2020) they appear to have paid handsomely for the rights to use the song Warrior by Imagine Dragons, because it accompanies multiple action scenes throughout the first season and they play quite a lot of it each time.
  • Top Gear:
    • The show's specials will spend a lot of time on shots of the local scenery and culture. They're so elaborate that even non-gearheads enjoy watching them.
    • In addition to dedicating an entire episode to their Japanese car-vs-train race (despite it not strictly being a special), the show filmed several reviews of Japanese cars while in the country. Clarkson taking the GTR to a racetrack after racing the Japanese railway system is in a separate episode.
    • Subverted in Clarkson's review of the BMW X6 in the final episode of Series 14. Clarkson claims they've run out of money, so they have to economise on the shooting — and then proceeds to visit exotic locales for brief periods and trivial reasons to conduct his "review". He goes to Spain to see if the handling is better there (it isn't), to Switzerland to see if it can deal with snow (it can't), to Hong Kong in search of a metaphor (an expensive skyscraper), and to Australia to see if the glovebox works upside down (it does!). Hammond, meanwhile, uses extensive, gratuitous, and costly CGI in his review to show off his car's features. The end result is that there's no money left for May's segment, and he has to cobble one together where he has tea with the woman who invented the modern road sign.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles took pride in filming each episode on location, all over the world. Cue lots and lots of Scenery Porn.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! features a huge cast and a surprising number of set pieces, explosions, and stunts for a sitcom based on catchphrases, wordplay, and the whereabouts of a painting and its forgeries. This is because the BBC lavished the production with an unusually large budget, so they took full advantage and went as big as they could whenever possible.

  • You can bet that this is how a lot of theatres operate, especially community theatres that operate on a shoestring. If, for example, a patron of the arts donates a large amount of clothing that's very period-specific to, say, The '60s, expect them to find a play set in the Sixties so they can use it.
  • Averted in Miss Saigon, where the helicopter is the most expensive and most iconic part of the show — and is only on stage for a minute or two.

    Video Games 
  • This is why Full Motion Video video games were so prevalent on the Sega CD, the 3DO, and pretty much anything that ran CDs in the early '90s. Switching to CD-drive-based technology was expensive, but the actual gameplay rarely required more than the 8 megabytes that you could fit on a simple cartridge. So what are we going to fill all this extra space with? Why, video files! The gimmick then lost its appeal quite quickly — actors, props, and sets are expensive, even more so when they're good — and was quickly phased out in favour of pre-rendered cutscenes, which at least didn't take up such a disproportionate chunk of the budget. Games then starting using the space for voice acting, music, and 3D assets instead.
  • This is also why motion controls were all the rage during the seventh generation, essentially being required in all games of the era. They ranged from "obviously limited but still usable" (most Wii games) to bad enough to indirectly kill companies (Lair).
  • Myst. Everything about Myst.
  • If a game has realistic physics (Havok or otherwise), it will have physics puzzles, and consequently it will probably have telekinesis or a gravity weapon. Even if the game is not actually supposed to feature a lot of throwing barrels and cans at enemies.
  • Hydrophobia owes its existence to Dark Energy Digital having spent five years on their Hydroengine, an engine in which water flows realistically. As you might expect, it's based on a flooding boat.
  • Presumably, the reason why Silver was introduced as a new character in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was so that Sonic Team could make the most out of the Havok physics engine by creating a character whose sole gimmick is that he can manipulate physics-enabled objects with his mind. The rest of the game is also chock-full of physics objects to show off the engine, but the manner in which they were implemented wasn't quite perfect.
  • Evidently, this the reason why every campaign in Command & Conquer: Generals involved a dam blowing up and changing water levels, using the exact same dam model to boot.
  • The Transformation Sequence for each goddess are clearly where the original Hyperdimension Neptunia spent most of it non-existent budget, lasting over thirty seconds and being unskippable every time (also masking some pretty horrendous optimization issues — the new model took about that long to load, which is why it was unskippable). This became a theme in the series, and even as late as Megadimension Neptunia VII new transformations are usually shown off in unskippable glory during pivotal cutscenes at least once.

    Web Comics 
  • In The B-Movie Comic, one behind-the-scenes sequence explains that they had to cut Snuka's best scene short to make room for their three-minute-long unabridged sequence of the mummy strangling a Red Shirt: Lee (Snuka's actor) is paid (far) below minimum wage, while the CGI mummy cost money.

    Western Animation 
  • This trope, coupled with availability and scheduling conflicts, is why Rita and Runt stopped appearing after a while in Animaniacs. Not only was Bernadette Peters expensive, each segment required an original song that needed to be written, scored, and recorded, significantly adding pressure to the show's small budget.
  • Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet: Gerry Anderson Productions had spent a small fortune acquiring the latest and greatest in CGI animation technology and talent, and by 'eck they were going to give it a workout. Scenery Porn, Technology Porn, and all the elaborate and detailed visual effects they could devise ensued. Episodes like "Swarm" and "Rain of Terror" were rather obviously written around a fancy new trick the techies had come up with, but the results did look pretty damn cool.
  • Played with in The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror VI" segment "Homer³", where Homer enters the third dimension and is subsequently rendered in CGI, where upon he remarks that he "feels like I'm wasting a fortune just standing here".
  • Joked about in Sam & Max: Freelance Police where, in the series finale parodying clip shows, Sam tells Max to stop talking, as it costs money.