How ‘Miami Vice’ Budgets Compared to ‘The Sopranos’

If you shoot on location, allow classic rock songs, and incorporate expensive land and seacraft in scripts, your TV series is about to run big budgets. In his eight years on HBO, The Sopranos (1999-2007) cost as much as anyone. But the classic mob show wasn’t the first to go all out on those luxuries.

In the 1980s, Miami Vice they started using songs by the Rolling Stones and Phil Collins (among others) in the pilot program – and never looked back. After a few events, it became clear that the Miami-set show would not be raining on pop music (or guest stars).

As time went on, the big budgets led to some struggle between the studio and Miami Vice star Don Johnson. That’s something Sopranos fans would read about it in the paper two decades later. Looking back, the classic shows ran budgets that may have pushed their networks to completion.

Miami Vice budgets ran $ 1-2 million per program early in the seasons

View from Miami Vice
MIAMI VICE: Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas play during a place shoot. | NBCUniversal through Getty Images

Miami Vice things started in September ’84 in high style. His pilot cost $ 5 million to do so, and you could see where he went on screen. After the opening lines in Chelsea and Lower Manhattan in New York, the story goes straight to a breaker on the streets of Miami.

In between, Jan Hammer ‘s original subject matter was in the forefront Miami Vice he tried to keep up for his five seasons. When Rolling Stone into the show’s set in ’85, producers spent “over $ 1 million” to get a program on the air.

After two seasons, it became more expensive to keep the machine running. Places on previously empty Miami streets became more expensive, and the stars needed higher salaries to keep going. In the summer of ’86, the AP he accounted for Johnson holding out until he was happy with his new pay package.

At that point, the AP reported Miami Vice budgets could stretch to $ 2 million (adjusted for inflation, $ 4.7 million in 2020). The boat races and explosions were not free, you see.

‘Sopranos’ budgets ranged from $ 2 million up to $ 6 million and above by last season

Members of 'Sopranos' in a cemetery
Male members of ‘The Sopranos’ Getty Images

When Sopranos Creator David Chase was buying his series around networks, no one believed he would get the green light for shooting in New Jersey. Chase remembered them basically smiling in his face with the thought that production could burn a place.

Chase, however, retained his guns and secured his places in Jersey. His production also got a huge budget to allow music, and Chase expanded the money as far as he could to go in that department. Early on, the community show cost $ 2 million per program to produce.

That changed later, for many of the same reasons that the budget was Miami Vice balloons. By the end of the Sopranosrunning star James Gandolfini earned $ 1 million per program. At the same time, his constellations were not terribly far behind. Episodes could cost more than $ 6 million ($ 7.7 million in 2020, adjusted for inflation) by the end.

But compared to shows like Game of Thrones, in which budgets reached $ 15 million, these fact – based demonstrations could be considered cheap.

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