Movie props are essential to creating a realistic movie. The props can range from costumes, backdrops, and the use of prop or replica money.
If you’ve seen the popular Netflix series Money Heist, you have seen prop money in the bank vault. Without props, producers wouldn’t be able to create the realistic shows and movies that you see on the TV and the big screen.
Sure, movies could still be created, but that excitement and adrenaline you get from the real feel experience just wouldn’t be there. Prop or replica money is one of the most important props in the movie industry.
You can view entertaining content from the big screen in multiplexes to the screen on your mobile phone. Creating realistic content that appeals to a wide cross-section of the audience is the success mantra for most producers. Let’s look at 5 ways that prop money helps the movie and TV show industry succeed.
Think of all movies and shows where you have seen money being blown up or set ablaze. It looks real, doesn’t it? Of course, there’s no way you could film these scenes with real money. It’s illegal to destroy real money, and it would raise the cost of production.
These scenes are only possible thanks to the use of prop money. If it weren’t for prop money companies a lot of these edge-of-your-seat moments wouldn’t be possible.
Think about your favorite films where ransom money packed in duffle bags and briefcases filled with $100 bills changed hands. How real did those bills look? As real as the ones in your wallet? That’s how close prop money is to the real thing. Movies and shows use prop money to film scenes like these because it’s too risky and expensive to use real money. You are setting yourself up for theft or an accident destroying millions.
Prop money gives you the impact of the real thing minus the risk (and headache) of using the real stuff.
Remember the days where bank robberies regularly made the news? This was the pre-digital era where banks had to keep a certain value of hard cash in their vaults. This could often run into millions of dollars, hence making them prime targets for hold-ups.
Now imagine a movie filming this robbery scene. When the robbers manage to open the vault door, what do you see? A vault stacked high with cash that looks real when the camera zooms in. What's actually in that vault? Prop money.
There is a good chance the vault itself was another prop. Movie companies now have access to a wide range of replica items that look real and cost less.
What about movies where money is flying around the street, or where the cash is literally raining down and people are scrambling around to collect it. This is prop money in action.
Imagine the risk and cost of shooting these scenes with real money. The movie or show would never get made.
A powerful fan or a money gun will let directors shoot some cool scenes. You can spew as much prop money around as you want without any risk or significant cost. The high rollers look the part, and you make the carefree appearance look as realistic as possible.
Prop money doesn’t only have to come in bags or stacks to look impressive. You can purchase crates or pallets of replica money for your dock drug deal scenes or your money laundering shots. When you are watching a movie and there is a pallet with cash stacks 4 feet high, rest assure that money is fake.
You can get full crates of cash from just about any motion picture money maker for a fraction of the cost of the real cash value. It makes this shot realistic and cheap to create. It sets the scene with a more dramatic feel.
Let’s look at some examples where prop money was used to create a realistic effect. Let us take a quick look at some iconic scenes using tons of replica money.
We’ve all have seen this 2008 batman movie. Remember the scene where Joker burns down a mountain of replica money bills? How real did that look? I’ll bet when you were watching the movie, you couldn’t tell that cash was fake.
This one is from the Fast and the Furious series. In the fifth movie of the series, there is a scene where the group steals a vault containing millions of dollars. Pulling it straight from the police station wall and driving it through the street while being chased, and still making it to their destination. Although this scene was iconic, those bills held no true value.
Anyone who loves a good action movie has seen Jackie Chan’s “money fight scene” in this 2001 Rush Hour 2 film. The money being flung around during a serious pursuit was all prop movie money. Without the prop money used here, so much cash would go wasted.
This 2019 superhero film has a great scene where the main character, Shazam, is showcasing his powers by blowing up an ATM where tons of money starts spewing out into the world. Not only does the prop industry show its talent with the money here, but also with the ATM.
In the 2017 Spiderman film, in this scene, robbers dressed in avenger masks are seen robbing ATMs. From across the street, a market owner is witnessing a tornado of money flying around the building while Spider-Man is fighting the bad guys. Although the scene looks real, rest assured no one is missing that fake money.
The movie industry has come a long way in creating films that seem so realistic it’s hard to believe they are fake. The movies and events listed above would never have captured the large audiences they have today without the creation of prop movie money. Thanks to talented fake money productions our movie thrillers and action-packed scenes are more exciting and fun to watch than ever before.