Movies & Television

It Cost HOW Much: The Five Most Expensive Movies Ever Made

It is easy to watch a great film from the seat of a movie theater and awe at the spectacle before you, not even being slightly aware of just how many elements add together to make the movie work. A big part of that “unknown aspect” for most fans is just how much a movie can cost to actually get made. Between hiring everyone who is needed to building sets and getting film crew, gone are the days of people making movies for $10,000.00. That is a laughable thought these days. For the most part, $30-100 million is more accurate, and still on the lower end of things.

But there are always exceptions.

Here are five movies that cost so much to make, they could have taken some third world countries out of debt had they chose to use their funds differently.


Avatar: $237 million

It is a given that the cost of the whole Avatar franchise, by the time it finishes it’s three movies, will be in the billions. They will be the most expensive movies ever made as a whole (though very close to entry number one further down, but no peeking).

The truth is, Avatar was a CG and effects heavy film, and you will see from this list, that is the main financial downfall when it comes to movie production.

Yes, movies where you make everything look prettier in a computer cost a great deal more than movies that you just film with cameras.


Amazing Spider-Man 2: $255 million

It was a real shame this series tanked (Spider-Man was just rebooted, again) because it’s heart was in the right place (as was its wallet) but the problem was, the producers and director of this film wanted to throw so much cool stuff at us it ended up being overload, and made the movie feel more like 3 movies in one than just one, cohesive story.

People don’t even factor in modern day marketing budgets for movies this big, either. A BIG chunk of a major releases money goes into marketing, pushing the brand via TV & cinema ads, as well as marketing firms for PR,  adwords management , and getting publicity for the film.

It is like the behind-the-scenes on a site like this. You think you get a polished finished product, but between editing and photo work, a lot goes into all this that NO ONE sees. Sadly though the numbers just didnt add up in the end.


John Carter: $301 million

This is another one that’s failure was such a shame because it is a series of stories (John Carter books) that geeks fans have loved for decades now.

The problem was, no one went and saw it. It was one of those flukes, people don’t even really know why. The movie was cheesy but based off a cheesy novel series of the same name (man fighting martians on other planet) so that was to be expected, but because they had put SO MUCH into the FX budget, the movie cost over $300 million to make and made back barely a sliver of that.

That is why there is no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to Hollywood movies anymore, big budget or not.

It’s just kind of a crapshoot.


Avengers 2: Age of Ultron: $330 million

One cannot be too surprised to see a Marvel movie almost top the list of most expensive movies ever made. I bet had we waited a bit, Infinity Wars would trump this movie’s cost (as Infinity Wars is supposed to have most of the characters we have seen in the Marvel U all in one movie. Now think about the cost of paying all those big-budget actors for one movie) but for now, Age of Ultron takes the cake.

The Avengers second movie outing did not skimp on action, nor did it skimp on effects. The good news for this one is, this film actually made back all its money and THEN some.

Which is why we get the luxury of a part three, very soon.

And now, drum roll please…..


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $411 million

Much like Avatar, if you add all the Pirates movies together and add their budgets together, you have a series of movies that cost well into the BILLIONS to make. The funny part is, they have made that back tenfold with this series, which is why new ones are STILL seemingly coming out every year.

It is also rumored that Johnny Depp has made the most money of any actor alive off this series, and still continues to roll in the doubloons.

Hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

So there you have it. The five most expensive movies ever made, with some insights into why they cost so much. Crazy to think that Jaws cost $7 million to make in 1975 and made ten times that. A $7 million dollar budget wouldn’t even cover the craft services table now.


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