10 Most Profitable Low Budget Movies of All Time

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In the movie world, you don’t necessarily need big budgets to get big returns, as this list proves beyond all doubt. Big budget flicks might seem like a sure thing, but audiences decide with their feet. Avatar might have pulled in $2.7 billion, but with a budget in the hundreds of millions and a marketing push to match it could hardly not have been a Hollywood heavyweight contender. More exciting by half are

More exciting by half are micro-budget movies that made it big – pulling in hundreds or thousands of times their budget and becoming the most successful movies of all time, based on return on investment.

The most expensive of our top 10 most profitable movies of all time had a budget of a piddling $1 million, and in Hollywood, that’s less than you’d find under the cushions of a casting couch.

The percentage returns here assume that only 50% of receipts at the box office made their way back to the studio and don’t include DVD, TV and merchandising earnings, so the numbers are likely to be considerably higher.

We also haven’t included any documentary or pornographic films that might have made the cut with an unfair advantage. These are good old-fashioned fictional entertainment at their best and cheapest.

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  • Just like in good business that start from small I don’t think the producers of these movies imagined they could make so much money when they started it. But the world has it’s way and lucky us the people who get to experience it.

  • I know Americans can not remember back more that 3 weeks under normal conditions for movies maybe 3 years. There was a real low budget movie in the 50’s called “Charlie”. It was made by it’s studio to be a loser to lose money as a tax wright off. It was made in Black & White when all the movies were now being made in color and it had the look of a play being filmed. Ernest Borgnine was the star. But the studio was wrong the movie was a big box office hit. It won several Academy Awards and really help launch Ernest Borgnine’s career. If you are reading this I highly recommend you try to locate a copy of this movie and watch it. There are a number of “hard to find” video sites on the net now, so check it out. PS: You can find a rent over the net and watch on your computer sites also.

  • Juliana

    correction I meant: Ah well it doesn’t surprise me that the LOW film budgets have the chance of being the most profitable. If you produce a film on megabucks at a few hundred MILLION dollars; 300m USD, and make only 10% profit you’re still making a few million back. If a low budget film made on less than a million makes a few million back, of course you’re going to be making 100′s of percent back!

  • tassie devil

    While I thought the articles were well written and informative, the page layout was terrible. Why were the images so large? It took too much effort just to navigate through the list. Very user unfriendly. Thanks, anyway.

  • Michael

    Saw with a worldwide gross of 87 million and a 1 – 1.2 million dollar budget. Was it not added because it had a high marker of 1.2 million or was it less profit than I am thinking that is?

    Is it figured out a different way?