"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further." -- George Lucas to Darth Vader
In fact, almost no movie ever has. A whopping 80 percent of all Hollywood films record that they lost money and made zero profit. Holy s**t, how does the industry even exist? To find out, we need to dive into the bats**t world of Hollywood accounting. Here's how it works: If you read the credits at the end of any high-budget movie, you'll usually see a credit to something like "Batman v. Superman LLC Inc." That's because every movie is set up as its own company, independent but answerable to the studio that produces it. The studio then proceeds to charge the shell company several times what it truly costs to make the movie, so even if the film makes crazy profits at the box office, the shell company will never be able to pay the studio back. That's okay, because the shell company and the studio are the same people. On the books, however, the movie records a loss, which means they don't have to pay anyone stupid enough to accept "net" points in their contract. Always get the gross points, kids.
How is all this legal, you ask? Hahaha, you sweet innocent fool with ribbons in your hair. It's not! But like any giant industry, how much that matters depends on how good your lawyer is. One lawyer, Neville Johnson, has spent his career fighting the studios over this bulls**t, and in most cases, the studios wind up settling out of court. Which, in case you've still retained some of those hair ribbons, is legal speak for "We're guilty, but we'll give you some money to pretend we're not."