Special Report

The Most Profitable Movies of All Time

“The Sound of Music,” the heart-warming 1965 musical starring Julie Andrews, and “Get Out,” the 2017 horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele, have something in common: They are both among the 75 movies that made the most money with the smallest budgets.

High-budget movies often make headlines. The most expensive production ever (thus far), Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” cost $376.5 million, after a tax credit, in 2011, and grossed $1 billion worldwide. While a profit of $623.5 million may look impressive, the return on investment is quite low. The film made only $2.70 for every dollar in the production budget. (These are the 50 top-grossing movies of all time.)

24/7 Tempo reviewed the worldwide gross for every dollar in the production budget using data from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. We obtained photos from IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. 

The movies on the list below returned at least $29 for every dollar in the production budget.

“The Sound of Music,” which had a production budget of $8.2 million, ran for four and a half years in its initial theatrical release. Its amazing longevity helped it build up its worldwide gross of $286.2 million.

More than five decades after that movie was released, “Get Out,” with a budget only 55% of the musical’s (not adjusted for inflation), returned $50.50 for every dollar it cost. (Here are 25 of the Oscars’ most egregious snubs.)

Click here to see movies that made the most money with the fewest dollars

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