When it comes to science fiction movies, most of them like to feature technology that’s unimaginable in power and style. While the high-tech fantasy worlds seem almost effortlessly nimble and adaptable in the movies, they usually cost producers a fortune to create. Of course, it makes perfect sense, as these films usually require heavy CGI and seamless editing in order to appear believable. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Avatar, sci-fi movies have shaped the childhoods of countless generations. We'll take a look at the ten most expensive (and rightfully popular) sci-fi movies ever made.
Waterworld is an intriguing mix of sci-fi and dystopian settings, featuring a post-apocalyptic world of the future. The characters are lead on an exciting and unpredictable adventure over the unfamiliar Earth, and a tale of love, trust, and action is built. Due to unique plot events and other factors, the budget for Waterworld was an astonishing 175 million dollars, making it the most expensive film ever at the time. This 1995 film received conflicting reviews but eventually managed to turn a profit. The film was dubbed too expensive for its actual quality and wasn’t as popular as its producers hoped in the United States.
The $237 million that the producers spent is still one of the most expensive investments in a sci-fi movie. The film focuses on the human colonization of Pandora, a distant moon, and the encounters with the mysterious indigenous species found there. The director conducted a thrilling, emotional tale that attracted viewers of all ages, leading to an astonishing $2.7 billion dollars in revenue, the highest the world has ever seen (that is, until Endgame).
8 Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This $245 million movie hauled in over $2 billion worldwide, winning it the title of the highest-grossing film of 2015. Its insane profit more than makes up for the pricey budget, and it seems that every penny was put in the right spot. The Force Awakens features a refreshing change from the six movies before it, with all-new visual effects and prop integration for the smoothest transition ever. Viewers could almost feel Chewbacca’s growls and envision themselves in the Millennium Falcon.
7 John Carter
Some love sci-fi for the potentially thrilling fantasies, while others enjoy the excitement of a new world. Whatever your reason may be, chances are that you can find some aspect of it in John Carter. The film plays with the idea of life on Mars and builds into a fantastic adventure packed with action, bravery, and just a touch of sci-fi nerdiness. To ensure that everything comes to life perfectly, the film’s budget was a hefty $250 million. However, the cost was too high for the film to pull in a profit, and the company lost some cash due to the high budget.
6 Solo: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars fans were overjoyed to hear about a movie surrounding one of the most popular characters in the franchise, Han Solo. Lucasfilm twisted the timeline around, bringing the heroes to a nostalgic time prior to the events of the first movie. Science fiction fans from all over the world were anticipating great effects, a sound plot, and exciting twists. Of course, with high expectations comes a high price tag. Lucasfilm used $275 million on the production of this prequel, making Solo one of the most pricey science fiction films to ever be created. Sadly, the producers heavily miscalculated their predictions and basically messed up the movie completely, costing Disney millions in losses.
5 Justice League
Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe holds several insanely expensive movies, all of them saw tremendous success at the box office, hauling at least over a billion dollars. However, DC didn’t have nearly as much good fortune in recent years. The Justice League movie took $300 million to create, yet only brought in a little over $650 million globally, putting it near the bottom of the list for movie profits in 2018. While sci-fi fans were beyond excited for the mystical team’s debut, they were disappointed by the mediocre effects and disorganized plot. That being said, even though the movie doesn’t live up to the $300 million hype, it still provided a good story for fans to enjoy.
4 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Star Wars movie franchise is probably the first thing on anyone’s mind when they think about big budget sci-fi. Children all over the world have fallen deeply in love with the various characters and their journeys across space. Although the first few films had a measly budget of about 15 million dollars, The Last Jedi broke records, using $317 million during its production. The result was fantastic, featuring life-like fight scenes with fantasy creatures like never before, so it makes perfect sense to have hauled in over a billion dollars.
3 Avengers: Infinity War
Surprise! The top three most expensive sci-fi movies are all part of the Avengers franchise. Although Endgame knocked Infinity War right out of the water, it was this prequel that caused Endgame’s massive success. While the introduction of the evil alien Thanos and the heroes’ journey was captivating, fans were left screaming with rage when the ending turned out to be an awfully cruel cliff-hanger. Even so, Infinity War remains to be massively successful, hauling in the highest-grossing opening weekend ever prior to Endgame. The budget for this amazing sci-fi movie was $321 million, earning it a spot at the top.
2 Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame is not only known as the epic ending to a whole era in the MCU, but also as the movie that finally dethroned Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time. The film was exceptional, capturing the hearts of millions of fans around the world. Its awesome interplanetary plotline even managed to impress the toughest of critics, scoring 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
The secret behind Thanos’ amazing realistic look and Dr. Strange’s magic circles lie in the $356 million that was invested in the film. Of course, its massive $2.795 billion profit definitely makes it a huge win in the end for the Russo Brothers.
1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
The most expensive sci-fi movie, as it turns out, is also the second most expensive movie ever made. Although its opening weekend can’t compare to that of Endgame, Ultron is still one of the highest-grossing films in the MCU. Fans loved the sequel to the original Avengers film, and it turns out to be worth every penny of the hefty $365 million that the film took to produce. In the movie, our heroes are battling Ultron, the villain whose only goal is to destroy the world. It’s no surprise that a giant humanoid alien takes a pretty penny to construct, and the team did a wonderful job with Ultron. In fact, the final battle scene is considered one of the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.