Top 30 Most Expensive Movies
As far as entertainment goes, movies are probably the most popular and appreciated way of passing the time for many of us. However, the making of a successful motion picture requires vast sums of money, most modern films boasting budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. And even though not many people actually have access to Hollywood’s accounting books, we still have plenty of information regarding the budgets of some of the most incredible films produced in the last few years. Here is our top 30 regarding the most expensive movies in Hollywood. Enjoy!
1. Robin Hood
The classic story of Robin Hood is showcased vividly and in great detail in this 2010 British-American adventure film that stars Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. The movie was released in May 2010 in many countries around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, the United States and Canada. Filming locations included the Mock Castle in Surrey, UK and the beaches of Freshwater West in Wales.
Due to Russell’s Crowe’s outstanding performance, the film was nominated for two awards in 2011, namely in the Favorite Action Film category at the People’s Choice Awards and in the Stunt Ensemble category at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Robin Hood had a budget of $155 million.
Widely considered one of the most amazing science-fiction films of 2010, Inception was written, co-produced, and directed by British screenwriter and film director Christopher Nolan. The cast involves some of the world’s most acclaimed movie stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The movie received a series of awards especially in technical categories, some of the most important including Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing at the Academy Awards. With a budget of $160 million, the film managed to cash in $825 million worldwide.
3. Shrek 3
Shrek the Third is a 2007 computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg for DreamWorks animation. The fairy-tale based comedy was highly appreciated by film critics and received a number of awards, including the Favorite Family Movie at the People’s Choice Awards.
The cast includes Eddie Murphy, Justin Timberlake and Antonio Banderas among many others. Eddie Murphy actually won the Favorite Voice From An Animated Movie Award at the Kid’s Choice Awards. The budget for this extraordinary film was $160 million, and just like Inception, its box office earnings were much higher than that.
4. Fast & Furious 6
Automobile and street racing enthusiasts got a chance to get their fix of adrenaline-pumping action and roaring engines in 2013 thanks to the sixth Fast & Furious film, which was directed by Justin Lin. The movie boasted the same impressive cast consisting of Vin Diesel, Paul Waker, Michelle Rodriguez but also Dwayne Johnson. Even though the film had its faults, it was still very successful in the box office, earning up to $788 million on a budget of just $160 million.
5. Cowboys & Aliens
If you ever wanted to see Daniel Craig in a western, well this is your chance. Agent 007 is now an amnesiac outlaw that ends up fighting off an alien invasion. The science-fiction Western film was released in 2011 and had a total budget of $163 million. Despite these generous numbers, the film didn’t do all that well in the box office, earning just $174 million.
The cast includes Olivia Wilde, Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell and Harrison Ford.
6. How to Train Your Dragon
How to Train Your Dragon is a lovely American 3D computer-animated fantasy film that was based on the English book series of the same name written by Cressida Cowell. The story revolves around a young Viking boy that forms a strong bond with a powerful dragon, even though the dragons were known as the Vikings’ mortal enemies at the time.
Highly successful both commercially and critically, the film was released on March 26, 2010. Cast members include late night show host Craig Ferguson and fellow Scotsman Gerard Butler. The movie had a budget of $165 million and managed to bring in $494 million. How to Train Your Dragon also received many awards, especially from the Visual Effects Society.
7. Tron: Legacy
The original Tron science fiction film dates back to 1982, but in 2010 Walt Disney Pictures released Tron: Legacy – a remarkable sequel directed by Joseph Kosinski and produced by Steven Lisberger. Apart from boasting outstanding visual effects and a professional cast, the film also included a stunning soundtrack produced by the famed French group Daft Punk.
Cast members include Michael Sheen, Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde. Tron: Legacy had a total budget of $170 million and managed to bring in $400 in return.
8. Iron Man 2
The incredible story of Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron man, was further developed in 2010 with the launch of Iron Man 2. The producers roped in some of the world’s most talented and acclaimed actors for this exceptional motion picture, including Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow and, of course, Robert Downey Jr.
The movie had a budget of $200 million and box office earnings of $623 million, which means it was a remarkable financial success. Iron Man 2 was nominated at a great number of categories but won just 2 important awards: Favorite Action Movie at the People’s Choice Awards and the Visual Effects of the Year at the Hollywood Film Awards.
9. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Rise of Cobra is a science fiction action film based on the G.I. Joe toy franchise. The movie was also inspired by the cartoon series and the comic books G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Released in 2009, the film was directed by Stephen Sommers and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura. A moderate financial success, Rise of Cobra managed to gross $302 million, while its budget was $175 million.
Cast members include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rachel Nichols and Ray Park.
10. Snow White and the Huntsman
This 2012 American fantasy and action film was based on the German fairy tale “Snow White” created by the Grim Brothers. With a cast that included Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart, the film proved to be remarkable success, since it managed to earn as much as $396 million on a budget of $170 million.
Up was probably one of the most appreciated animated movies of 2009, which is why it managed to bring in dollars in the hundreds of millions. The film tells the story of an elderly widower named Carl Fredrickse, who sets off on a journey to the wilds of South America at the age of 78. In order to create the stunning 3D animated world seen in the film, several Pixar artists actually went on a trip to Tepuis in Venezuela for inspiration.
The cast involves Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai and Bob Peterson, and the total budget for the movie was $175 million. “Up” proved to be a total success that grossed a total of $731 million.
WALL-E is an American CGI science-fiction romantic comedy film that was produced in 2008 by Pixar. The film tells the touching story of a robot that was designed and programmed to clean up the Earth of chemical waste. The movie was distributed by Disney Motion Pictures and released on June 23, 2008 in Los Angeles.
WALL-E had a budget of $180 million and brought in $521 million, $23.2 million of which were earned on its opening day.
13. Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim is a highly appreciated 2013 American science fiction film that stars Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Hunnam. The movie is set in 2020 and shows humanity’s struggle against a race of massive intergalactic monsters that arrived on Earth through a portal hidden on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Pacific Rim had a budget of $190 million and managed to bring in $407 million worldwide.
14. The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass is yet another acclaimed fantasy-adventure motion picture that was released in 2007 by New Line Cinema. The film is based on Philip Pullman’s novel named Northern Lights and highlights the life of an orphan called Lyra Belacqua. The Golden Compass earned an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects as well as the 2008 BAFTA Award for Special Visual Effects.
The movie had a budget of $180 million and brought in as much as $372 million.
15. The Dark Knight
As one of Christopher Nolan’s most valued masterpieces, The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film that centers around one of the most iconic superheroes in the world: Batman. The role of Batman is played by Christian Bale, while his butler is aptly brought to life by Michael Caine.
Due to its extraordinary financial gains, The Dark Knight became the fourth movie in the world to earn over $1 billion. By comparison, the movie had a budget of just $180 million.
16. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The fourth film of the Indiana Jones franchise was released in 2008 under the name of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The story involves the adventures of Indiana Jones as he searches for a special crystal skull while fending off Soviet Agents. The cast includes Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett, both being widely applauded for their performance.
The movie had a total budget of $185 million but managed to bring in considerably more, $786 million to be precise.
17. Jack the Giant Slayer
This movie is actually based on the “Jack the Giant Killer” English fairy tales, and it was released in 2013 telling the story of a farmhand named Jack who accidentally opened a portal to a realm of giants. The cast involves famed names in the movie industry such as Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson and Ewan McGregor. Despite this, the movie proved to be a giant disappointment financially, since it never actually managed to score a decent profit. This could have been because the producers could not attract an audience efficiently, since the film would not appeal particularity to either children or adults.
The production costs for Jack the Giant Slayer were somewhere between $185 and $200 million, while its earnings did not surpass $197 million.
Brave is an exceptional animated fantasy film that highlights the adventures of a young princess named Merida, who utterly dislikes the idea of being betrothed. She eventually turns her own mother into a bear by accident and sets off on a quest to undo the spell. The movie was released in 2012 and managed to bring in $538 million, while its overall budget was no bigger than $185 million.
The movie earned the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
19. Star Trek Into Darkness
As the twelfth installment in the Star Trek film franchise and the sequel to the 2009 film Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness is set one year after the events of the first movie. Released in 2013, this science fiction action film stars Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, while Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana and the other cast members seen in the previous film retained their respective roles.
The movie was made on a budget of $190 million and grossed $466 million in total.
20. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Released in 2011, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a science fiction action film based on the Transformers toy line, representing the third part of the live-action Transformers film series. The story is set three years after the events of the second movie, when the Autobots were collaborating with the NEST military force.
Directed by Michael Bay, this groundbreaking motion picture had a budget of $195 million, and it actually managed to bring in $1.1 billion, which made it the tenth film in cinematic history to earn more than $1 billion.
21. Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 was definitely one of the most anticipated and successful films of 2013, representing the seventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story further depicts the life of billionaire and genius Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man.
The film was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and had a budget of no less than $200 million, while its earnings soared as high as $1.2 billion, which made Iron Man 3 the highest-grossing 2013 film and the highest-grossing film of the Iron Man series.
22. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
In 2012, Lord of the Rings fans were exhilarated to receive the first installment of the three-part film series The Hobbit, which would act as a prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The cast included Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, and James Nesbitt along with Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood.
Set sixty years before the events that took place in The Lord of the Rings, the story tells the tale of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.
From a financial point of view, the movie was a groundbreaking success, since it managed to rope in no less than $1 billion, while its budget revolved around $250 million.
23. Men in Black 3
Men in Black 3 is a 2013 3D science fiction action comedy film that stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones among other highly talented cast members. As the third installment in the Men in Black film series, the story takes a somewhat unexpected turn that involves time travel.
The film was made on a budget of $215 million, while its earnings exceeded $600 million. Due to its remarkable success and positive feedback, the producers confirmed the making of a fourth Men in Black movie.
24. The Avengers
Marvel’s The Avengers was released in 2012 and represented a dream come true for superhero fans. The movie brought together some of the most iconic superheroes in the movie industry, including Captain America, Thor, Loki, Iron Man, The Hulk and Black Widow. All superheroes were cast by their respective known actors, and so the film became one of the most impressive Hollywood masterpieces in existence.
If you were wondering about the film’s budget, then we can tell you that the production costs came up to $220 million. If you think that’s much, then you will be stunned to find out that The Avengers actually grossed $1.5 billion, becoming the highest grossing superhero film and the highest-grossing film ever released by Disney.
25. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is the second film of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and it was released in 2006. Even though it received some mixed feedback regarding its length and plot, the movie was highly acclaimed for its visual effects.
The second adventure of Jack Sparrow had a budget of $225 million, and it managed to earn a little over $1 billion.
26. The Dark Knight Rises
As the sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises is the second movie of the modern Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan. The film was released in July 2012 and tells the story of a weakened Bruce Wayne who is forced to come out of “retirement” and save the city of Gotham once more.
The cast includes Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine, each playing the role of Batman, Catwoman and Alfred respectively. The budget of the film was $230 million after tax credits, and the earnings were very close to $1.1 billion.
Avatar was one of the most anticipated and appreciated films of 2009, mainly because of its unique story and high-end special effects. The story is set in the mid-22nd century, when the human race was mining a rare mineral on a lush, green moon named Pandora.
Directed by James Cameron, this 2009 masterpiece had a budget of $237 million, while its earnings soared to – get ready for it – $2.7 billion. This meant that Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time, surpassing the previous record held by Titanic in this regard.
28. Spider Man 3
Spider man 3 was released in 2007 in Tokyo and starred Tobey Maguire, Kristen Dunst and James Franco. The movie is set a few months after the events of Spider Man 2, and shows Peter Parker as he became a real cultural phenomenon.
Despite the fact that the film received mixed feedback, Spider Man 3 is the most financially successful film in the trilogy, earning as much as $890 million on a budget of $258 million.
Tangled is a computer animated musical fantasy-comedy film that was produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film had an exceptionally high budget for an animated production, and it was based on the “Rapunzel” German fairy tale. The story was narrated by Zachary Levi, while the cast included Donna Murphy and Mandy Moore.
Highly successful, Tangled was released in 2010 and boasted a budget of $260 million, while its earnings added up to $590 million.
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Finally, the movie flaunting the highest budget so far is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, since it required $300 million to complete. This 2007 adventure fantasy swashbuckler film represents the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and it stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and more.
“At World’s End” grossed $963 million, representing the highest earning movie of the series. At the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, Johnny Depp earned the Best Comedic Performance award, and the film was also nominated at two categories at the 80th Academy Awards.