"I started shooting literally one month before the economic collapse in 2008," Gonzalez-Inarritu said. "This film would never be financed again. The fact that he's dying? It would just be impossible to make a film like that again. I was really privileged with the resources that I had. The budget I had was like $20 million, so it was expensive for a film like this."
But Gonzalez-Inarritu said finding distribution for the Mexican film, which stars best-actor nominee Javier Bardem, was difficult in the United States because of the film's dark tone.