In 2015 there were 700 films released across the globe, the likes of which included the long awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World. These 700 movies made around $11,128 million! That’s right, that is 11 thousand millions, crazy right? To put it into context, that’s around the same GDP as Albania, a country with a population of just under three million people.
So, in order to make money, you’ve got to spend money! A movie studio is (usually) very selective about which movies they will finance and to what extent they will pile money into them. For example, 50 Shades of Grey made $569 million on "just" a $40 million budget. The movie studios are selective about which films they finance and which they don’t. So with that in mind, here is a list of the most expensive movies ever made, (with inflation being taken into account) as well as how much money they actually made.
15 Man of Steel (Released 2013) Cost $225 million – Made $668 million
2013 saw the release of a Superman film for the first time since 2006 (remember Brandon Routh?) and a lot of expectation came with the movie. Stars such as Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner and the impressive Michael Shannon all signed on, not to mention the star man, Henry Cavill, the handsome devil that he is. Cavill famously transformed his body for the role and put on a whole load of muscle in order to fill out the famous suit.
14 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Released 2013) Cost $225 million – Made $959 million
13 The Dark Knight Rises (Released 2012) Cost $230 million – Made $1.085 billion
In the world of cinema, Christopher Nolan can do no wrong, hell, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him undertake a remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral and absolutely nail it. He remade Batman into a dark and brooding character and fully stripped him back to leave nothing but the man, before he made the legend. This is as far away from Tim Burton’s neon-clad re-imagining as you can physically get (something I’m personally very happy about) and he brought a new generation of fans to the famous hero of Gotham. Add into the mix Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and you have a winner.
12 Avatar (Released 2009) Cost $237 million – Made $2.78 billion
Avatar is nothing less than a phenomenon; a behemoth which no film has ever matched, and which every future film will hope to match. James Cameron changed the face of cinema when he made this movie. He actually had to wait for twenty years for technology to catch up with his vision, now that is impressive. Avatar tells the story of human colonization in space, where they are mining a beautiful and distant planet for the rare material "Unobtanium".
11 Spectre (Released 2015) Cost $245 million – Made $880 million
Daniel Craig as James Bond is something that was hotly debated when he took over the role in 2005 when he starred in Casino Royale. But it is safe to say that now, there is no denying his ability to bring a certain reality and gruffness to Ian Fleming’s hero. Spectre is the fourth film in which Daniel Craig has played James Bond (and it may yet be his final film) and follows his fight against an unknown organisation that aims to bring down MI6. This drags up Bond’s past and pits him against the most evil and, arguably well-known Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Christophe Waltz in a pair of slippers).
10 Captain America: Civil War (Released 2016) Cost $250 million – Made $1.15 billion
9 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Released 2016) Cost $250 million – Made $872 million
Now we find ourselves in the DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU?) an altogether darker and more immoral take on the superhero genre. It brings together two of the most recognisable, and most often re-imagined, superheroes ever created and pits them against each other. Batman is played by someone other than Christian Bale for the first time in 11 years and everybody was eager to see what Ben Affleck would do with the character (if anything else, he’s got the chin for it). Cavill returned as the Man of Steel and the movie wasn’t half bad.
8 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Released 2014) Cost $250 million – Made $956 million
7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Released 2009) Cost $250 million – Made $934 million
6 Spider-Man 3 (Released 2007) Cost $258 million – Made $890 million
The final instalment of the original Spider-Man films proved to be as crowd inducing as the first two films. It introduced a darker side to Peter Parker after he was taken over by Venom for a short period of time. This was a good thing (for the most part) as it gave the viewers a more edgy Toby Maguire and he didn’t do such a bad job. The part that wasn’t so great (stop reading if you cringe easily)? There is a part of this film where he is strutting down the street, wearing a pair of sunglasses and wearing increasingly darker/leather-type clothes and winking at women as he passes them. It makes me shudder just thinking about it.
5 Tangled (Released 2010) Cost $260 million – Made $591 million
4 John Carter (Released 2012) Cost $306 million – Made $284 million
3 Avengers: Age of Ultron (Released 2015) Cost $316 million – Made $1.4 billion
2 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Released 2007) Cost $300 million – Made $963 million
Johnny Depp’s drunken Keith Richards impression took the world by storm when the first and second instalments in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was released, and it made enough money to warrant a blockbuster budget by Disney Studios (yep, them again). The third instalment of the film went down a treat and brought in audiences en masse. It cost $300 million, mainly because of the sets that they had to use. For example, they had to build multiple pirate ships and create a water set where a lot of the action would take place. Also take into account the costuming and the luxurious locations and you have yourself a sure-fire expensive movie.
1 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Released 2011) Cost $378 million – Made $1.046 billion
Let’s face it. This film was never going to flop was it? The previous instalment made $963 million so this was always going to come close to that total. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has an overall cost of around $1 billion and with a total income of around $3.7 billion, you can see why Disney were so keen to carry on funding these movies. Johnny Depp reinvented himself as Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush was great throughout.
The action in the films is stunning and there is swashbuckling for the duration. Piracy isn’t to be laughed at unless it’s in one of these movies, and laugh you will. Overall I think it’s the world that people really bought into, it has something for everyone. There are fantasy elements and creatures from the sea, a literal skeleton crew and Davy Jones is embodied brilliantly. The quest is one that takes the band of pirates to the far reaches of the earth/sea and under it as well. These movies are brilliant.
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