Making a movie can be expensive. With CGI, filming locations and actor fees, it all starts to add up. In some movies, take Avatar for example, the expenditure is clear to see in the intricate CGI featured in the film. In other films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, it seems most of the budget is blown on landing the perfect actor for the role, regardless of the cost.
Whilst sometimes having a high budget leads to profit, sometimes the film can fail to land, leading to a substantial loss. Despite this, big budget movies are an integral part of Hollywood, and for many, it’s worth the risk.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 movies you wouldn’t expect to have had outrageously large budgets.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The fourth instalment of the successful Pirates of the Caribbean series, On Stranger Tides, had an impressively sizeable budget of $410.5 million, $55 million of which was spent on paying leading man Johnny Depp his dues.
Luckily, this big budget paid off, and the film raked in $1.45 billion worldwide, making it the 3rd highest-grossing 2011 film. Still, who would have thought that this would be the most expensive film ever made?
9. Evan Almighty
Bruce Almighty was a highlight in Jim Carrey’s career, topping the box office for weeks on initial release. However, its sequel, 2007’s Evan Almighty, left out one vital component: Jim Carrey.
Steve Carell took over the leading role in Evan Almighty, and the film had a budget of $175 million, the highest ever recorded for a comedy movie. Much of this was spent on animals, set construction and visual effects. Unfortunately, the film didn’t make the same splash as its predecessor – making $173 million worldwide, Evan Almighty failed even to recoup production costs.
8. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Perhaps the first question that comes to mind when we think of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is: “who thought it was a good idea to cast David Beckham in a movie?”
Starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, King Arthur had a budget of $175 million, but unfortunately failed to even claw its production costs back, making just $146.2 worldwide.
7. The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Eddie Murphy enjoyed a successful career throughout the 80s and 90s, but unfortunately his winning streak came to a dire end with the release of The Adventures of Pluto Nash in 2002.
The film is widely considered one of the worst films of the decade, and made a substantial loss, grossing just $7.1 million from a budget of $100 million (with another $20 million in marketing costs on top).
6. Monster Trucks
Considering Monster Trucks is a kids’ film, it was off to a bad start after children fled from the cinema in terror during initial test screenings.
In fact, the studio was prepared for the film to make a substantial loss even prior to its release. Despite its $125 million budget, Monster Trucks raked in just $64.5 worldwide.
5. The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger (2013) sees Johnny Depp don full Native American gear, a controversial decision which perhaps ultimately contributed to the film’s undoing.
Despite cast members agreeing to a 20% reduction from their salary, the film’s budget was still a sizeable $225-250 million, much of which was spent on CGI. This includes a CGI rendering of how the Golden Gate Bridge would have looked under construction in the 1930s. The film flopped, making just $260 million on release.
4. John Carter
Disney’s John Carter is one of the most expensive films ever made, with an estimated production budget of $263 million, and total expenses of $350 million.
Much of this budget was spent on sets and locations, and it’s true that the landscapes are in keeping with the other-worldly feel of the film. Despite this, the film failed to recuperate its losses, and grossed just $284 million at the box office.
We can only imagine a substantial portion of Battleship’s $220 million budget was splurged on its star-studded cast, with Rihanna for one making her initial foray into the world of acting.
However, despite featuring one of the biggest pop stars of all time, the film did not live up to expectations; grossing $303 million worldwide, the film is still thought to have made a loss when factoring in additional promotional costs.
2. The Mummy
With a few of them behind him, Tom Cruise is well versed in film flops by this point in his career, The Mummy being no exception. With a confusing plot, inconsistent tone and poor performances aplenty, The Mummy did not live up to expectations.
The Mummy had a $125 million budget and grossed $410 million, yet still made a substantial loss of $95 million due to its high production and marketing costs.
Hugh Jackman clearly had a ball portraying the infamous Blackbeard in 2015’s Pan; unfortunately, audiences did not. Much of the film’s $150 million production budget was splurged on CGI, but Pan was ultimately ill-received by critics, with many criticising the formulaic plot.
The film ended up grossing just $128.4 million, ensuring Pan ended up with a substantial financial loss.