10 Most Expensive Music Videos
Published 06 February 2007 by markzmann
10. "November Rain"
Artist: Guns N' Roses
First aired: June 1992
Directed by: Andy Morahan
"November Rain" video tells a story of singer Axl Rose and his girlfriend at that time, Stephanie Seymour, getting married and then the death of Seymour. This excellent video combines storytelling with live performance at Carnegie Hall. Lead guitarist Slash is featured in some of the video's most memorable scenes, including the sequence of helicopter shots swooping around him as he plays the first guitar solo and a later scene where he plays while standing on Axl's piano onstage at Carnegie Hall.
Renting a symphony orchestra: $25,000
Specially constructed chapel: $150,000
Wedding dress: $8,000
Specially constructed coffin: $8,000
First aired: August 1999
Directed by: Paul Hunter
Even though their "Waterfalls" video was technologically more advanced and seemed more expensive, "Unpretty" ended up costing more because the girls argued over every little detail and that doubled the project cost. The story of the video is focused on women unhappy with their bodies trying to change it by going to plastic surgeon. All the while, TLC sits on these weird floating pods and watch their struggle.
Floating yoga pods: $60,000
Field of purple flowers: $50,000
Laptop computer animating breast enhancements: $63,000
Flying robot camera: $35,000
8. "She's a Bitch"
Artist: Missy Elliot
First aired: May 1999
Directed by: Hype Williams
"She's a Bitch" video is similar to other Missy Elliot videos, with extensive use of special effects, unconventional costumes and unique sets with plenty of back-up dancers. Highlights of the video are Missy Elliot and her dancers being raised from underwater on a huge hydraulic "M", and also a complete set made from Electro Luminescent lightning.
Missy Elliot's rubber wardrobe: $10,500
Glow-in-the-dark cape: $3,500
M-shaped stage: $30,000
Silver suits for the extras: $12,000
Total set: $850,000
Special effects for a stormy sky: $20,000
Artist: Will Smith
First aired: December 1998
Directed by: Wayne Isham
For "Miami" video, Will Smith chose to focus on computer morphing techniques and that is the reason this video is so expensive. The entire music video consists of him morphing from location to location (there were dozens of morphs in there) and each morph costs around $14,000. The story of the video is pretty standard: beautiful girls, expensive cars, yachts, private jets and plenty of dancing.
Private jet rental: $15,000
Each morph transition: $14,000
Floating Miami set: $500,000
6. "Larger Than Life"
Artist: Backstreet Boys
First aired: September 1999
Directed by: Joseph Kahn
"Larger Than Life" takes place in futuristic space setting and includes elaborate special effects and computer animation. The video was so expensive that it went over the budget, supposedly, this was the reason the Howie Dorough's scenes were not particularly elaborate. The story of the video doesn't make much sense, basically there is a lot of dancing in huge groups and a lot of space stuff mixed all together.
Cryogenic chamber model: $20,000
Flying surfboard scene at beginning: $90,000
3-D animated models: $45,000
Robot costumes for the B-Boys: $56,000
Exterior shot of the space station: $70,000
Dance stage: $80,000
The cost to fly the crew to the set: $150,000
Director's fee: $150,000 (for just 4 days of shooting)
Total special effects: $600,000
5. "What's It Gonna Be"
Artist: Busta Rhymes featuring Janet Jackson
First aired: March 1999
Directed by: Hype Williams & Busta Rhymes
The music video for "What's It Gonna Be" cost $2.4 million and you can see where the money went. Tons of special effects were used to make Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson morph in various shapes and forms. In "What's It Gonna Be" Janet and Busta sing and constantly mush around each other, sometimes in transparent and sometimes reflective forms.
Virtual set: $100,000
Each morph: $30,000
Busta's glass costume: $40,000
Janet and Busta's explosion: $20,000
Artist: Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z
First aired: August 1999
Directed by: Brett Ratner
"Heartbreaker" is Mariah Carey's most expensive music video and 4th place on this list. In it her friends urge her to confront her unfaithful boyfriend (played by Jerry O'Connell), who is inside a movie theater on a date with Carey's alter ego, Bianca.
Movie theater rental: $100,000
Mansion rental (in the movie): $40,000
Dog and its trainer: $6,000
Fight coordinator: $7,000
Jerry O'Connell's cameo fee: $10,000
Artist: Puff Daddy featuring Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes
First aired: March 1998
Directed by: Marcus Nispel
This video has it all, explosions, shootouts, helicopters and and suicidal leaps from buildings. The story in the video is about a man running from the police who are accusing him of a crime he didn't commit. Danny DeVito and Dennis Hopper have brief appearances in "Victory".
Building an airplane and blowing it up: $55,000
Pyrotechnic special effects: $100,000
Artificial rain: $10,000
Helicopter rental: $21,000
Stuntman fee: $5,000 per jump from building to building
Security on the set: $10,000
2. "Die Another Day"
First aired: October 2002
Directed by: Traktor
Madonna's "Die Another Day" video is second most expensive music video ever. Due to the heavy use of special effects, production cost for "Die Another Day" was over $6 million. The directing team of the video, Traktor, explained that "for various reasons, there are effects in almost every shot. It is a testament to the skills of the merry artisans of MPC that you think there are none. As with modern underwear, the best effects are always the ones that don't show through your slacks."
The video shows Madonna beaten and tortured, her head is shoved underwater, and she is strapped into an electric chair. Meanwhile, in her subconscious, black (evil) and white (good) versions of herself battle each other with various weapons.
Artist: Michael Jackson featuring Janet Jackson
First aired: June 1995
Directed by: Mark Romanek
With production cost of $7 million "Scream", by Michael and Janet Jackson, is the most expensive music video of all time. "Scream" has futuristic theme and a lot of special effects were used during the entire video. The "Scream" video won several MTV VMA Awards and a Grammy for Best Music Video.
Computer-generated spaceship: $65,000
Breaking guitars: $53,000
Morphing artworks: $50,000
Michael's makeup: $3,000
Janet's makeup: $8,000 a day
Giant video screen: $80,000
Total cost of 11 sets: $5,000,000
Sources: SoYouWanna (www.soyouwanna.com), Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org)