Thanks to technological developments, shooting a movie is easier than ever before. Despite this, Hollywood has produced over the last two decades some of the most expensive films ever made.
These mega budget films generally pay off from the studio’s perspective. Many of the most expensive movies of all time are also the top grossing movies of all time. Even when an extravagant film fails to recoup costs in the United States, it generally makes a profit in the global market.
24/7 Wall St. has identified the most expensive movies ever made, adjusting each film’s production budget for inflation.
All but four of the most expensive movies were produced after the year 2000. Further still, 29 of the 50 were produced in the last eight years. Since the rise of the “blockbuster,” Hollywood has trended towards producing a small number of movies that are extremely costly rather than many movies with smaller budgets. Not only do these big-ticket films frequently perform extremely well at the box office, but also they are more likely to produce other successful streams of revenue, such as merchandise.
The majority of the most expensive films are also part of a film franchise. There are four films from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, three Hobbit movies, and three Transformers. Once a franchise has developed a devoted following, it becomes less risky for the studio to put money into a new installment because the fans will likely show up.
The growing importance of international markets also certainly has influenced Hollywood’s economic model. Twenty-three of the 50 most expensive movies actually lost money in the domestic market. However, only one film failed to fully earn its production budget back at the worldwide box office — Walt Disney Pictures’ 2013 “The Lone Ranger.”