There’s that saying that you have to spend money to make money. The bigger you invest, the bigger the returns. However, there are the lucky few who are able to turn in a big buck without having to shell out a lot. Every so often, a movie project is launched with practically no budget for production, marketing or promotional efforts. Fortunately, the project skyrockets and becomes a box office hit. Not very many B-movies can proudly boast of this success.
What exactly is a B-movie? Contrary to the general perception, the B doesn’t mean “bad.” The B can actually stand for low-budget or second calibre, meaning the movie is an independent film with no major financial backing from a big studio. In other words, a B-movie is on its own.
Majority of B-movies don’t come into the radar of the mainstream public, focusing instead on a very targeted niche. It’s not expected to reap in huge profits, as most of the films are done merely for the love of art and creativity.
Like commercial films, B-movies fall into a chosen genre. Back in the 1940's, the most popular genre for B-movies was horror. Low-budget, tacky horror films were rampant in Hollywood during this decade and most were shown as a double feature, an opening act to the main performance of a big-budget studio film.
Today, production of a B-movie can cost anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million. The cost may seem high, but the minimal cost to produce a film by a big studio is already at $50 million, so the B-movie budget is still low by comparison.
Many B-movies became not just cult classics, but box-office hits. Not very many are lucky enough to have a profitable B-movie as a claim to fame. So who were the lucky ones?
10 Once: $9.25 Million In Profit
9 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: $30.77 Million In Profit
8 Night of the Living Dead: $41.88 Million In Profit
7 Napoleon Dynamite: $44.1 Million In Profit
6 Full Monty: $46.5 Million In Profit
5 Halloween: $46.6 Million In Profit
4 Mad Max: $99.6 Million In Profit
3 Paranormal Activity: $107.8 Million In Profit
2 Rocky: $224 Million In Profit
1 The Blair Witch Project: $249.9 Million In Profit
By its unique style of filming alone, the 1999 horror film The Blair Witch Project is the most profitable B-movie of all time. It was so close to a reality documentary that many people thought the film was a true story and that the students in the film had really mysteriously disappeared. With an initial budget of only $22,000, the film raked in $250 million and paved the way for other movies with similar filming styles. It also spawned a trilogy of video games and a series of young adult books, hereby establishing it as a cult classic.
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