Celebrating Great Films

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How much does it cost to make a film?

$218. That's how much it costs to make a film.

At least, that's how much it cost Jonathan Caouette to make Tarnation, released in 2003. And it grossed well over half a million at the worldwide box office, making it the film with the second highest return on investment ever (the highest being The Blair Witch Project with a 354,614% return on investment - eat that William Hill).

Ironically, IMDb users rate Tarnation as a better film than Titanic, which is one of the costliest films ever made.

Face on Mars
The whole Mars Pathfinder mission cost
millions less than the film Titanic

A quick glance over The Numbers list of Movie Budget Records reveals what a terrifying risk studios take when they agree to spend a 9 digit sum to make a film. God knows how Warner Bros. is still solvent after losing some $96million on The Adventures of Pluto Nash. That's the same amount that Bush Senior and Clinton managed to raise for their entire Hurricane Katrina Fund.

And yet it's Warner Bros. that are about to release the most expensive movie ever made. The budget for Superman Returns is $250,000,000. A quarter of a billion simoleons. That's the Queen of England's whole fortune. No pressure, then, folks.

Personally, I quite like the idea of spending the $218 I have in my bank account on making a film.


  1. Anonymous6:22 pm

    what the hell is this

  2. Marcel11:12 am

    Excellent post! I'm not sure if you'd agree, but it seems strange that we would rather make bad, expensive movies than fund what Sagan called "a grand tour of the solar system". I don't get it..

  3. Where and how do I make a movie so cheap and effectively? How do I get it on T.V.?

  4. Anonymous4:57 pm

    could i get famous actors in my movie if i wanted to have a small budget?

  5. The short answer is yes.

    If you've got a great script and the right connections, you can get famous actors in a low-budget film, and there are plenty of examples.

    Having said that, it depends on how you define low-budget. If you're talking micro-budget like Paranormal Activity or Primer, then forget it.

  6. Anonymous9:44 pm

    Depends what film you make.. you can make a film for $100 but it will be complete bull.

    Also, in the UK, to get your film shown on T.V it costs £20,000 per minute. So thats $10,000 per minute. And what if your running time is over 100 minutes (which it normally is)

  7. Anonymous2:47 pm

    Can somebody tell me how much it cost to make grease and how much it cost to make high school musical? Ive looked all over. Please!


  8. Mandy,

    According to IMDb, Grease cost $6,000,000 (estimated) and High School Musical cost $4,200,000 (estimated).

    Both relatively low-budget for mainstream Hollywood, but keep in mind Grease cost more when you factor in 30 years of inflation.

  9. Anonymous9:43 pm

    Good post but btw so you know for the future, she's the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not just England.

  10. And the Commonwealth realm!

  11. Anonymous10:05 am

    lol, all hail the queen? wankers...

  12. Anonymous11:50 am

    Hey de this is Bongane from south africa I'm kindly looking for a sponsor I just wrote my first script if you have something or know a company that can please contact me on bmkhabeza@gmail.com