Top 10 Most Expensive Films ever made

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Every day, scores of movies are released worldwide in the film industry.  Hollywood shines under its broad genres of film making and owing to its international acclaim; it is home to the some of the most expensive movies ever to be made. The box office has its own tales to tell of the highs and lows of movie releases. While some movies make a stand in the minds of the public, some bomb at the box office. But has anyone of us wondered how much of capital actually goes into the making of a film?

An increasing number of movies are crossing the production cost of $200 million. Hollywood doesn’t release official budget reports although details of production, marketing and advertising can be found out. Ben-Hur (1925) and Cleopatra were the most expensive films, holding the record for 20 and 30 years respectively. The Pirates of the Caribbean-At World’s End is considered to be the most expensive movie to be ever made in the modern era. Its production cost was estimated at a record breaking $450 million as it shot following the filming of Dead Man’s Chest. Stumped? Well, read on and you”ll be so ever more. The movies below are listed as per increasing expenses accounted for in their making, when adjusted for inflation.

10. King Kong ($243 million)

King Kong

One of the most famous movies of the previous decade, King Kong apparently made news in 2005 when it was reported that an amount of nearly $243 million (adjusted to inflation) was spent in making the movie, a record it held at that time. The 2005 fiction was directed by Peter Jackson who was obsessed with the movie since he watched the 1933 movie of the same name, when he was 9. King Kong received positive responses from critics worldwide and grossed about $600 million apart from winning 3 Academy Awards, one of them under the Best Visual effects category.

9. John Carter ($250 million)

John Carter

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Andrew Stanton, John Carter was released in March 2012 to mostly negative reviews. Inspite of its pre-release hype concerning its swollen budget of $250 million, the movie was generally considered a box office bomb although it still made a slight margin of profit due to profitable sales in the overseas markets. The President of reported, “John Carter’s bloated budget would have required it to generate worldwide tickets sales of more than $600 million to break even a height reached by only 63 films in the history of movie making”. The production costs rose due to delays and incorporating visual effects on par with the modern technology.

8. Avatar ($254 million)


It took a James Cameron movie to break the record of a James Cameron movie. Avatar broke the record for the highest gross box office revenue ever, held by Titanic for nearly 12 years, in the year 2009 when it became the first movie to exceed $2 billion in return. The movie featured the cliché world “Pandora”. Avatar was developed way back in 1994 although the idea of filming the script was pushed several years down the line as the visual effects to be portrayed couldn’t be developed using the technology of those days. The science fiction film was made at an expense of $254 million and was nominated for 9 Academy awards winning 3 of them, including the one for Best Visual Effects.

7. Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest ($256 million)


The movie that made Captain Jack Sparrow eternal, The Dead Man’s Chest was a critical and commercial success and is the 10th highest grossing movie of all time. Made at a staggering $256 million, Dead Man’s Chest surpassed the $1 billion mark smashing box office records. Davy Jones, the main antagonist was developed using advanced visual effects for which the movie won an Academy Award as well as widespread acclaim. The movie is the most successful of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It was released in the summer of 2006 and was instantly declared a global blockbuster.

6. Waterworld ($259 million)


Directed by Kevin Reynolds, the movie was the most expensive one ever to be made, when it was released in 1995. Distributed by Universal Pictures at an estimated budget of $259 upon inflation adjustments, the movie was generally considered a box office flop. It was basically a scientific fiction film featuring a post-apocalyptic scene. The film exceeded the expected budget cut offs right from the very beginning of the film with rumours that there were clashes between the producer and the director.

5. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince ($268 million)

Half Blood Prince

The sixth instalment of the Harry Potter series, The Half Blood Prince was made at a whopping $268 million and is considered one of the best of the films released under the banner of Harry Potter series. Distributed by Warner Bros. and directed by David Yates based on the novel of J.K Rowling, the film broke box office records ultimately grossing $934 million in response to its international acclaim. The film sees many secrets of the previous sequels revealed and was followed by The Deathly Hallows. The movie was nominated under Best Cinematography. The film received very positive reviews from critics who praised its overall production. The film was also noted for its visual effects.

4. Tangled ($274 million)


$274 million was poured into what made this 2010 animated fantasy film strike the theatres. Yes, you read it right. One of the all time expensive movies to be ever released, Tangled spent nearly 6 years under production with enhancements on visual effects and story line. The movie generated 590 million in response to its bloated budget and was reviewed with positive responses by critics and public alike. The animation strategies used were unique and were greatly appreciated. Tangled was also a musical film receiving a nomination for Best Original song at the Academy Awards.

3. Spider Man 3 ($286 million)

Spider man 3

Spider Man 3 is a 2007 super hero film and the final installment of the Spider Man trilogy. Directed By Sam Riami, the movie was a commercial success inspite of receiving mixed reviews from critics. The film relies on computer generated visual effects.  It was distributed by Columbia Pictures. John Dykstra was the Visual effects supervisor for Spider man -2. However, he dropped the offer to work on the third film. Scott Stokdyk later took over the visual effects and introduced many innovative ideas. This heavy emphasis on visual effects hiked up the cost of production as the movie also saw the introduction of a second antagonist as compared to its previous sequels.

2. Titanic ($286 million)


One of the best movies ever made in the film industry, Titanic was  directed and co-produced by James Cameron. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in lead roles in a tragic love story based on the 1912 Titanic disaster. The film was made on an estimated $286 million when adjusted for inflation and set a record at its time for the same. Reconstructing of the ship was the major expensive the production team had to bear apart from the visual effects of the breaking of the ship. The film went on to be nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 11 of them. It also grossed about $2.18 billion after the 3D version  of the movie was released in April.  One of the colossal hits of the millennium, Titanic is a tragic romantic film that is to this day viewed as one of the best movies ever made.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End ($332 million)

Pirates of the caribbean (2)

The third film in the mega hit Pirates of the Caribbean series; At World’s End was produced at a mind blowing $332 million grossing close to $1 billion. At World’s End marks the end of the original storyline that started with Pirates of the Caribbean – The Curse of the Black Pearl. The portrayal of Davy Jones and the concept of the historical East India Company combined with a pirate storyline was well received by the public. The movie also garnered positive responses from the critics. The movie directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, was released in 2007. It was shot back to back with The Dead Man’s Chest.  It is the most expensive movie ever made in history.


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