Today’s big budget movies have mind staggering costs. They also sometimes make huge profits. One wonders why these movies cost so much since the technologies to make them at first assured the industry that they were cost effective such as CGI. Instead of building elaborate sets, movies can use a computer to create imaginary landscapes and buildings that otherwise would cost a fortune. Now the opposite has occurred and movies cost even more. A movie may cost $200 million to produce and cost another $100 million to advertise and promote so that means a film of that cost has to make over $300 million to show a profit. Today’s movies cost so much due to salaries of big named stars, rights needed to obtain permission for certain things, and legals. Some say the budgets are bloated on purpose but it takes an in depth look at the details. Here we’ll look at the costs of the top ten most expensive movies ever made.
10 – Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines – $251.4 million.
This film was highly anticipated to keep the Terminator franchise still working. Speculators figured that Arnold Schwartzenegger starring in the movie it would tank or make a profit. Some felt the franchise had played itself out. Regardless the movie made $433.4 million at the worldwide box office and more on DVD and other venues. Most of that cost was probably due to Arnold’s salary and cut of the box office take.
9 – Avatar – $255.5 million.
The biggest grossing movie of all time was money well spent. This James Cameron epic cost $255.5 million to produce and probably $200 million to promote but it grossed almost $3 billion worldwide and tons more via DVD and rentals. This movie set a new benchmark and although it may have lacked in story, it made up for that in astonishing visual effects. It changed much in the culture and allows Cameron to make more movies and keep people employed.
8 – Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – $258 million.
Another movie where money was well spent. The POTC franchise is one of the most successful in movie history, probably tied with the Harry Potter franchise. Fans can’t get enough of the adventures of Capt. Jack Sparrow and it looks like there will be more movies until the series dies out. Brilliant special effects, lots of humor, swashbuckling adventure, this series and this flick in particular keeps the franchise rolling. It alone brought in $1 billion worldwide.
7- Waterworld – $175 million.
This Kevin Costner vehicle is considered one of the biggest flops in history. It cost a fortune to produce yet only brought in $264.2 million worldwide. Perhaps it barely broke even from rentals and DVD, but the movie’s story and exasperating length left critics and movie goers high and dry. Perhaps it needed more water monsters instead of a brief appearance of just one.
6 – Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince – $269.6 million.
No Harry Potter movie can be considered a failure. This one cost a lot to produce but it brought in almost $934.4 million worldwide and tons more in DVDs and rentals. One of, if not the biggest franchises in movie history, the story of the boy wizard has ended but who knows what will happen when a product brings in as much money as this one did.
5 – Tangled – $275.8 million.
This Disney CGI animated film is a case in point of the high budgets of movies that used CGI but the costs didn’t drop. Where the money went in producing this movie is unknown but it didn’t go to the artists. It managed to haul in only $590.7 million worldwide and who knows how much via DVD and rentals. It looks like Disney barely, if at all made its money back but they did announce there would be no more Disney Princess movies after Tangled.
4 – Spider-Man 3 – $287.8 million.
Considered the worst of the three director Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy movies, it cost a fortune to produce but brought in a hefty $890.9 million and lots more with rentals and DVDs. Fans were disappointed at the “evil Peter Parker” scenes which were taxing and and absurd but the addition of the villains Venom and Sandman made up for it.
3 – Titanic – $288.2 million.
The number two movie of all time kept that mantle for almost a decade until director James Cameron eclipsed his own work with “Avatar”. This movie brought in over $2.2 billion and so much in rentals and DVDs that that revenue probably came close to the box office haul. This was more than just money well spent, this was a genius of investment capital and continues to generate capital to this day and will probably keep on doing so for decades to come.
2 – Cleopatra – $325 million.
This film is an oldie and might surprise one that it fits in this top ten list considering it was made 50 years ago. Adjusted for inflation it is the second highest budgeted movie. People in 1963 were astounded that $44 million was being spent on a movie. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were the biggest stars of the era and critics lashed out at the movie for its extravagance and length as well as historic inaccuracies. Even movie goers stayed away as word of mouth just about killed the flick.
1 – Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End – $334.5 million.
The top ten list rounds at at another Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End hauled in $963 million yet another success for the franchise. With the consistency of the box office wins of this series it justifies the exorbitant costs as DVDs, rentals, merchandise are far more than triple the cost of the movie.
So that’s the top ten highest budget movies of all time and one can see where money was well spent and good money was tossed out for bad.