Top 10 Most Expensive Movies Ever Made Till 2022
Whether it's a multi-million-dollar deal or even a shoestring budget, films need money to be made. Here is a list of some of the most expensive movies ever made.
It's astonishing to see how much money goes into Hollywood franchise movies. In between the actors' multi-million-dollar salaries and the salaries of nearly thousands of crew members to post-production and marketing, the budgets for some movies definitely make you realize just how little we, as an audience, are in comparison to the giants of the movie industry. It's certainly predictable which franchises and films will make it onto a list of the most expensive movies ever made, but the particular figures of each movie are sure to make you blink twice.
Obviously, a film with a high budget doesn't necessarily mean that it is most certain to make a satisfactory profit in return, or, for that matter, be a well-crafted or entertaining story. Disney, for example, invests millions into all of its projects, but that doesn't stop the major studio from undergoing its box office bombs every now and then.
Without further ado, here is a look at few of the most expensive movies ever made, unadjusted for inflation.
10/10 Spider-Man 3 (2007) – $258M
Sam Raimi’s final Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man 3, sees Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) fighting himself, after a collegial turns his suit black and brings out his dark side. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive movie to be ever made, with some even believing the budget exceeded past $300M -- which Sony denied. The film drew nearly $900M in box office earnings, and whilst the effects were praised, the rest of the reviews were more on the negative side, which in turn lead to the cancellation of future Maguire Spider-Man movies.
9/10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – $259M
J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens began the Star Wars sequel trilogy, continuing the story of the Skywalkers along with the new characters like Rey, Poe, and Finn. The film put its budget to good use with phenomenal special effects. It was a huge hit that earned over $2 billion at the box office and was the highest-grossing film that year. Although a lot felt the remaining trilogy films didn’t live up to its promise, it remains quite a strong opening.
8/10 The Lion King (2019) — $260M
Jon Favreau took on the directorial duties for The Lion King remake after steering the reimagining of The Jungle Book. Favreau and his team pushed the envelope of what existing CGI is competent of and created something that almost looked real. Some Disney followers were happy, but few others were not. Regardless, the very expensive end result surpassed Frozen as the highest-grossing animated movie of all time.
7/10 Tangled (2010) – $260M
The animated film Tangled retells the story of Rapunzel, a young princess with magical hair who is trapped in a tower, and starts an adventure when she is finally able to escape the tower. Per Comic Book Resources, its estimated around $260M budget would make it the most expensive animated movie ever made, with a combination of CGI and also traditional animation. The movie’s pretty visuals earned high praise, along with its story and characters, and was a great financial success.
6/10 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) — $262M
Following the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the movie’s sequel was given another massive production and marketing budget. But The Last Jedi proved to be the more divisive movie, specifically pertaining to the portrayal of Luke Skywalker. There are Star Wars fans who praise Rian Johnson's passionate storytelling, and there are also those who continue to disagree with a lot of his creative decisions. Nonetheless, Star Wars: The Last Jedi grossed over approximately $1 billion and is a financial success for Lucasfilm.
5/10 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) — $263M
A lot more than $260 million was used to make Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and yet it did not perform as good as Aquaman or Wonder Woman. The movie earned over three times its budget during its theatrical run, per Forbes, but suffered quite a major drop after an incredible opening weekend. Some fans argue the film lived up to the hype, and found content in seeing the DC trinity (Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot) united on screen. Others, however, are less keen about the film and criticize the darker tone and storytelling.
4/10 John Carter (2012) — $264M
John Carter is one in between the few movies that holds two drastically opposite titles: it's one of the most expensive films ever made, but it's also considered one of the biggest box office bombs even though its lead actor Taylor Kitsch would disagree. The sci-fi epic used a budget of around $264 million and only grossed around $73 million domestically. Disney obviously, did not expect this film to perform so poorly at the box office, as they thought to make a whole John Carter franchise.
3/10 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — $275M
The most expensive film of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is also considered as the lowest-grossing of the trilogy. However, it still managed to make a net profit of around $300 million and become amongst the highest-grossing movies of 2019. $275 million was put into making as well as marketing the film. The Rise of Skywalker was the last film to gross more than $1 billion before the COVID-19 pandemic, but fan reception to the grand finale of the Star Wars Skywalker saga resumes to be mixed.
2/10 Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) — $275M
The second live-action Star Wars anthology movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story centers on a young Han Solo that isn’t played by Harrison Ford. Solo is outrageously known for its difficult production, with original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller being removed far within the process of filmmaking. According to Vanity Fair, the movie became the first Star Wars box office bomb. It grossed around $393.2 million worldwide, which, in comparison, fell massively short of The Last Jedi's $1.333 billion. Due to the failure of the Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm hinged away from anthology films and moved their focus towards the series on Disney+.
1/10 Justice League (2017) — $300M
Time again it is proved that a high production budget does not necessarily equate to global success. The highly-anticipated Justice League cost $300 million to make, and yet it is another box office bomb that ended up losing Warner Bros. money. Justice League is an aim by the studio to change course after the negative reception to the previous film; Batman v. Superman. The very drastic course-correcting angered many fans, who were quite aware that Justice League did not represent director Zack Snyder's original vision. This led to years and years of demand for the fabled "Snyder Cut", which saw a release in 2021 on HBO Max and became a huge streaming success.
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