In an age of movies where $100 million dollar budgets are the norm,
there are still sometimes films with tiny budgets that make a fortune at
the box office.
While The Lego Movie had a solid $60 million dollar budget, it’s already
pulled in nearly $90 million during its release this weekend and is
expected to pull in another $200+ million.
Here are a few movies that broke the mold and made fortunes while
staying under Hollywood’s current trend of swollen budgets.
The Conjuring (2013)
Budget: $20M Box Office: $318M
The Conjuring landed in theaters in 2013 and took everyone by surprise
as it blew past The Lone Ranger to become a massive hit.
The film was made with a $20 million dollar budget and would go on to
make a staggering $318 million worldwide. A sequel was recently
announced to be in the works and why wouldn’t it be?
Budget: $1.2M Box Office: $103M
Starting a resurgence of gruesome horror flicks, Saw was made on a
budget of $1.2 million. The gory puzzle creator would go on to pull in
$103 million worldwide while attempting to “fix” his victims.
Saw essentially started its own type of horror genre and everyone was
trying to repackage and reproduce the film’s success. Six sequels have
been released since the original.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Budget: $400K Box Office: $46M
Napoleon Dynamite was an obscure indie film which starred essentially
unknown actors. With a budget of $400,000, Napoleon Dynamite
pulled in $46 million and became a pop culture phenomenon.
Quotes from the film remain relevant even today and sometimes we
still see the random person wearing “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Budget: $60K Box Office: $248M
The Blair Witch Project cost a measly $60,000 (some reports say even
less). This handheld camera monster movie was an incredibly surprising
hit with audiences, pulling in $248 million worldwide.
It was one of the first movies to go “viral” due to a brilliant website
detailing the tale of the Blair Witch. This resulted in some moviegoers to
believe it was real footage for quite some time until the actors started
doing interviews once the film became a success. Hitting theaters in
1999, it’s seen as the first film to ever take advantage of a viral online
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Budget: $15K Box Office: $193M
Director Oren Peli filmed Paranormal Activity over seven days at his
own house for $15,000. The spooky handheld camera horror film
became a massive hit via word of mouth. The movie ended up pulling
in $193 million worldwide, which sparked the production of four sequels
(with more on the way).
The five Paranormal Activity movies have now grossed a combined
worldwide total of $805 million, with the most recent sequel pulling in
$86 million on a $5 million dollar budget. The original remains the most
profitable film of all time.