5 Most Expensive Movies in Cinema History, Ranked
Surprisingly, Avatar did not make it into the Top 5.
If you invest a lot of money in a project and hire the best actors, directors, screenwriters, you should get a good movie… in theory. That is the formula that Hollywood's major studios often rely upon, throwing an ungodly amount of money into their projects.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron – $365M
During filming, the movie's budget ballooned to $365 million, even surpassing Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War.
Part of this was due to production problems. The producers didn't like director Joss Whedon's vision and cut a lot of scenes like the characters' dreams and hallucinations. The budget was also inflated because of extensive international filming: the team had to travel to South Africa, South Korea, and Italy.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $379M
On Stranger Tides turned out to be the most expensive movie of the franchise because director Rob Marshall decided to shoot the entire film with 3D cameras, just like James Cameron did for Avatar.
Considering that expensive equipment had to be shipped across the oceans and dragged all over Hawaii, it is not surprising that the budget slightly exceeded expectations and reached as much as $379 million.
Moreover, Johnny Depp was paid $55 million — more than a third of the budget for the first Pirates of the Caribbean.
3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – $416M
Because the director for the movie had to be replaced, the shooting took longer and the final budget grew accordingly. However, The Rise of Skywalker earned more than a billion dollars at the box office, so the huge production cost was worth it.
At the same time, the film did not receive positive reviews: it was criticized for exploiting the legacy of the previous Star Wars installments.
2. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – $432M
It was probably because of the sheer amount of high-quality CGI that the film's budget ballooned to over $400 million.
The movie follows two characters as they try to save dinosaurs from extinction on the island of Isla Nublar, on which Jurassic Park is located. For those who like to fantasize about living dinosaurs, Fallen Kingdom is a godsend — if dinosaurs were alive, they would most likely look like they do in the movie.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $447M
Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm was met with mixed reactions from fans, but the new installment of Star Wars was still eagerly awaited. The interest was fueled by the return of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, who had not appeared in the movies since 1983.
Who would've thought that The Force Awakens, which was considered to be nothing more than a convenient plot parasitizing on nostalgia, would end up being the best new episode of the rebooted franchise? That was predictable, however, as the budget of almost $450 million evidently paid off, and the movie grossed over $2 billion.