Films are expensive to make. They start with a budget in mind and end up overshooting the budget many times over. The story is the same all over the world. There have been many expensive movies made over the times. However, the lack of proper data regarding the adjustment for inflation ensures that these films remain out of contention.
However, for this article, we have adjusted the films for inflation. Hence, you can find two lists, one for the Top 10 most expensive movies ever made depending on the budget. The second list is of five films that could have gained a place in this list if you account for the inflation factor.
If you see the amounts, you can see that they are quite astronomical. However, that is Hollywood for you. Here are the top 10 most expensive movies ever made until 2019. For movies made before 2019, we are furnishing the adjusted budget as well to enable the readers to get a proper perspective.
10. Captain America: Civil War (2016): $250 million
Inspired by Marvel Comics, this superhero adventure film starring Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), etc. ran up a huge budget of $250 million to make. This was natural because of the huge sets and computer graphics. This film recovered its cost easily grossing over $1.15 billion. Hence, the No 10 movie on this list is a blockbuster hit as well recovering its cost four times over.
09. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016): $250 million
Here we have another superhero film at No 9 on the list. It seems that the superhero films have superhero budgets as well. This time, it is the turn of the DC Comics. Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck as the Batman and Henry Cavill as the Superman, this film released in the US in 2016. Costing $250 million to make, this film has earned $873.3 million at the box office. Hence, you can term this film as a super hit having recovered its cost three times over.
08. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): $250 million, Adjusted figure: $253 million
The third installment of the Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies is a fantasy cum action film. Starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen in the lead roles, this film cost $250 million to make. In fact, the trilogy cost the producers as whopping $623 million. However, this film raked in $956 million at the box office. Therefore, you can call this film a blockbuster film. For its initial cost of $250 million, it is a four-way tie.
07. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009): $250 million, Adjusted figure: $279 million
This Harry Potter film is the sixth in the Harry Potter series. Of course, the main theme is the same. Directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros, this film stars the same actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint in their iconic roles. Made at a cost of $250 million, this film warned $934.4 million at the box office. Therefore, it is a blockbuster hit.
06. Spider-Man 3 (2007): $258 million, Adjusted Figure: $298 million
From the world of fantasy and magic, we come to the superhero theme again. The third installment of the Spiderman series, this film based on the Marvel Comics characters has Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spiderman with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. Costing $258 million to make in 2007, the figure jumps to $298 million if we account for the inflation factor. This film earned $890.9 million. Hence, it is a super hit film by all means.
05. Tangled (2010): $260 million, Adjusted Figure: $286 million
An animation film produced under the Walt Disney Animation Studios banner, Tangled has the famed character, Rapunzel as its inspiration. This is the most expensive animation film ever made. Made in 2010 at a cost of $260 million, this film features the voice makeover of Mandy Moore and Zachara Levi among others. Adjusted for inflation, the revised budget comes to around $298 million. This film is a moderate hit having netted revenue of $591.8 million.
04. John Carter (2012): $263.70 million, Adjusted figure: $275 million
A science fantasy film based on the novel, A Princess of Mars, John Carter has Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in the lead roles. This Walt Disney film cost $263.70 million to make. Once you adjust for the inflation factor, the amount jumps up to $275 million. John Carter, at No 6, can count as a below average because it has just managed to break even with earnings of $284.1 million.
03. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): $279.90 million, Adjusted figure: $283 million
The marvel Comics superheroes are back in action with the second installment of the Avengers, Age of Ultron. This is an expensive film because of the nature of gadgets used in the film. Maybe, the Iron Man suit itself would have cost a fortune. This film is in the top three as far as the list of most expensive films is concerned with an overall budget of $279.9 million. As far as earnings are concerned, this film has earned its investment and many more as well. The net earnings of this film work out to $1405.40 million. This film is a blockbuster hit by any stretch of imagination.
02. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007): $300 million, Adjusted figure: $347 million
Now, we come to final two films. Both of them belong to the same production company, Walt Disney Pictures. The third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, At World’s End, Te legendary Johnny Depp plays the pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow in the entire series. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley play the supporting roles to perfection. Costing around $300 million to make in 2007 (adjusted figure $347 million), this film earned gross revenue of $963.4 million. Hence, this film at the No 2 spot is a super hit.
01. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011): $378.50, Adjusted figure: $403 million
When the third installment of the series cost $300 million to make and earned $963 million in the bargain, it means that the formula is a successful one. This prompts the producers Walt Disney pictures to come out with the fourth installment on a bigger and grander budget. The No 1 film on this list, On Stranger Tides, cost $378.50 million in 2011. Adjusted for inflation, the film costs $403 million making it the most expensive Hollywood film made until date. This film is a super hit as well giving rolled over its investment more than two and a half times with gross earnings of $1.045 billion.
We have seen the top ten most expensive films ever made until date. All these films belong to the twenty-first century. There are other films as well, made earlier which could have a higher cost if you factor in the inflation. We produce the list of five expensive films of their times. There could be one surprise waiting for you here as you can find Cleopatra as No 2 on this list. That was at one point in time the most expensive film ever made.
All time high budgets Adjusted for Inflation:
05: Avatar (2009): Original Cost: $237 million, Adjusted Budget: $265 million
04: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: Original Cost: $225 million, Adjusted Budget: $267 million
03: Waterworld (1995): Original Cost: $172 million, Adjusted Budget: $270 million
02: Cleopatra (1963): Original Cost: $44 million, Adjusted Budget: $286.40 million
01: Titanic (1997): Original Cost: $200 million, Adjusted Budget: $298 million
Films are expensive. You can judge from the fact that the cost of constructing a building as high and magnificent as the Empire State Building can cost about $41 million. Therefore, one can construct about nine Empire State Buildings at the cost of making a movie like The Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides. On the flip side, does the Empire State building earn you a revenue as this movie did.