although I'm surprised this is not going to be a major Hollywood $300 million budget type movie
seeker78 kindly tell me the last couple movies that had a 300 million dollar budget? The last movie to have a 300 million dollar budget that I have found in years was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Here's a breakdown of production budgets for some of the more successful movies to come out over the years.
Spider-man 3 - 258 million
Spider-man 2 - 200 million
Superman Returns - 250 million
POTC: Deadman's Chest - 225 million
The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - 180 million
Shrek the Third - 160 million
Shrek 2 - 150 million
Mission Impossible III - 150 million
Beowulf - 150 million
Batman Begins - 150 million
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - 150 million
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix - 150 million
Transformers - 150 million
Ratatouille - 150 million
War of the Worlds - 132 million
National Treasure : Book of Secrets - 125 million
I Am Legend - 120 million
Cars - 120 million
Live Free or Die Hard - 110 million
Happy Feet - 100 million
Lord of the Rings (Fellowship) - 93 million
LOTR - Two Towers - 94 million
LOTR - Return of the King - 94 million
Finding Nemo - 94 million
The Incredibles - 92 million
The Matrix - 63 million
The Matrix Reloaded - 150 million
The Matrix Revolutions - 150 million
The average production budget is between 94-150 million dollars and increases mostly upon the success of it's previous release (if applicable). So the figure you are quoting is incredibly inaccurate in regards to how much money it takes to make a "Major Hollywood" type movie these days. Budgets do matter as well as star power but I think people would agree that story and direction and not the production budget is what seperates a movie from the type you watch once and the ones you want to see again and again.
Research is key when quoting statistics. I hope this broadens your understanding of production budgets and the movie making business.
As far as Popular Mechanics goes, I know they like to do a lot of hypothetical ideas like explaining the technology of Star Wars but in this instance if they really were "messing" around, publishing those ideas were entirely unecessary since they know that two brands are in competition with one another, it's just not productive other then to start conflict between older fans of the original show and the ones who choose to support the new one. Very unprofessional in my opinion. I am not convinced it is not a ploy to garner acceptance of NBCU's backdoor pilot by stating that their choice of KITT is superior to the older model. It is more likely they were paid off just like the other media outlets to aid in NBCU's media campaign.
This is the sort of discussion you have with your friends that you never actually talk about in public.