Hollywood producers believe in the maxim that you will always get what you pay for. If you want a movie that the public would talk about and want to see, you better get ready to pay big bucks in order to rake in huge revenues. While this may have already been proven wrong several times in the past, it has not stopped producers from opening up their wallets for their big productions. After all, if they sincerely believe in their product, they should put their money where their mouth is.
Of course, the problem is that for every Gone with the Wind, Titanic, Avatar, Star Wars and The Sound of Music, there will be a John Carter, Speed Racer, Waterworld and Ishtar! This is proof that not even high-tech effects or the presence of megawatt stars will guarantee a movie’s success in the box-office.
Here then are the top ten most expensive movies that were ever made:
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – $300 million
It was the third installment of a hugely successful movie franchise. It had Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in its lineup of stars. It had a character that had caught the fancy of the moviegoers in Captain Jack Sparrow, a role portrayed excellently by Depp. Money certainly was not an issue in the production of this movie. They shot in locations from Singapore and Molokai in the Hawaiian archipelago to California and the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. In the end, At World’s End did not earn as much as its predecessor, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. But a billion dollars in revenue is still nothing to scoff about.
2. Tangled – $260 million
Who would have ever thought that a film geekily described as made with “computer generated imagery and traditional animation, combined with non photorealistic rendering” would be the second most expensive movie ever made? While decent stars in Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi lent their voices to the film, they were far from the big-named stars of other movies. Still, Walt Disney did not spare a cent for its 50th animated feature. The movie is based on the popular Grimm folk tale called Rapunzel. As a matter of fact, it was originally entitled Rapunzel before it was renamed Tangled just before it got release. No analysis was made if it made an impact on the movie’s gross earnings, which amounted to a decent $591 million.
3. Spiderman 3 – $258 million
This is the last installment of the Spiderman trilogy by Sam Raimi. The main stars were back for this one, with Tobey Maguire reprising the role of Peter Parker, with Kirsten Dunst as his main squeeze. Based on the fictional Marvel Comics character who got stung by a radioactive insect, Spiderman crawled its way to almost $891 million in worldwide sales.
4. John Carter – $250 million
John Carter is a science fantasy film about the interplanetary adventures of its main character. It starred Taylor Kitsch, known for his sensitive portrayal of a football player in Friday Night Lights, a critically acclaimed television series that did not quite hit it off with the audience. Alas, his movie did the same, as moviegoers generally shunned the film. Though it eventually recouped its investment because of decent overseas numbers, John Carter’s sojourn to Mars was probably the last trip the movie would make.
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $250 million
This is the sixth installment of the well-loved Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Potter falls in love in this movie and has gotten hold of the memory that holds the key to the downfall of Lord Voldemort. He also holds the key to box-office success as the audience has fallen in love with the series, with this movie alone earning upwards of $930 million.
6. Avatar – $237 million
Avatar is a futuristic movie set in the 22nd century about real 21st century environmental concerns and the problem of over-mining and its effect on the local community. The James Cameron flick starred Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez. Critics generally loved it, and moviegoers agreed to the tune of $2.8 billion.
7. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – $225 million
A movie based on the CS Lewis masterpiece series, The Chronicles of Narnia, it follows the adventure of the four lead characters in their return to Narnia to help Prince Caspian, who is involved in a power struggle with a corrupt uncle. It is actually the second in the series, after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. To ensure continuity, shooting for Prince Caspian started before the first movie was even released, lest the actors portraying the lead characters get too old. It earned a decent profit for the producers, with the movie grossing less than $420 million.
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – $225 million
The second movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series to be included in the list, Dead Man’s Chest featured magnificent visual effects that garnered for the film an Academy Award. Aside from the effects, however, the movie itself got mixed reviews, as its convoluted story line and extended running time took a toll on moviegoers. It was not much of a burden, though, as the movie went on to garner more than a billion dollars.
9. Avengers – $220 million
This is a super movie about several Marvel superhero characters. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk combine forces from an alien attacker, who happens to be Thor’s adoptive brother. With Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson providing the star power, Avengers became the third highest grossing movie of all time, earning more than $1.5 billion in worldwide sales.
10. Men in Black 3 – $215 million
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith have always made fighting naughty aliens look good. Dressed in dapper black suits, Men in Black 3 is the third installment of a series that started in 1997. After earning almost $625 million, it looks like the duo are not yet done.
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