30. El Mariachi

This 1992 film from writer and director Robert Rodriguez is an incredible, low budget success story. El Mariachi is a thrilling tale of mistaken identity about a mariachi who is mistaken for a killer known for packing heat in his guitar case. The titular mariachi unwittingly finds himself running for his life from a cold-blooded drug lord and his relentless henchmen.

El Mariachi, low budget movie
Columbia Pictures/IMDb

Rodriguez actually worked as a test subject for medical experiments to raise money to make his movie. With a budget of just $7,000, El Mariachi brought in $2 million at the box office. Following El Mariachi’s success, Rodriguez went on to direct big budget hit movies like Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Talk about an incredible low budget success!

NEXT: Making this comedy on the cheap launched its director’s career.

29. Clerks

Here’s another low budget movie that launched the successful career of its writer/director. Kevin Smith’s 1994 movie Clerks is a day-in-the-life flick that follows two convenience store clerks as they debate the minutiae of Star Wars trivia, endure romantic woes, and shut down the shop to play hockey on the roof. Although at times it’s really obvious that Smith was working with amateur actors, the strength of his comedic writing still shines through brilliantly.

Clerks, low budget movies
Miramax/IMDb

Shot entirely in black and white for just $27,000, Clerks made $3.9 million at the box office and remains a cult favorite of slackers everywhere. It even spawned a sequel, 2006’s Clerks II, and a spin-off, 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Looks like in this case, a slacker mentality turned out to be pretty darn profitable.

NEXT: This movie is so money, even though nobody expected it.

28. Swingers

This 1996 romantic comedy with an all-star cast doesn’t seem like a low budget film, but that’s Hollywood magic for you! Starring Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Heather Graham, Swingers tells the story of two struggling actors in Los Angeles trying to navigate the dating scene. If you’ve ever waited three days to call a new love interest, you can thank Swingers for popularizing the notion that waiting a few days to call is totally “money”.

Miramax/IMDb

Star Jon Favreau wrote Swingers, and it was directed by Doug Liman. They made Swingers for just $200,000, but it made $4.6 million at the box office and is still a fan favorite today.  Before getting his big break in Swingers, Favreau played a clown in an episode of Seinfeld. Now, he’s landing roles in films like 2013’s Wolf of Wall Street and 2015’s Entourage.

NEXT: This bizarre cult classic is a low budget wonder!

27. Eraserhead

Ready to get weird? David Lynch’s dark 1977 horror classic Eraserhead is a low budget movie that packs a big punch. This black and white body-horror tale follows the struggles of a man who discovers his newborn baby is a terrifying mutant who will not stop screaming. Ah, the joys of parenthood! Lynch creates a world in this film that is dark, surreal, and capable of haunting your nightmares for years to come.

Eraserhead, low budget movies
rulenumberone2/Flickr

Eraserhead stars Jack Nance, a Lynch favorite who would go on to act in many of the director’s other projects, including cult classics Blue Velvet and the original Twin Peaks series. Made for just $100,000, Eraserhead brought in $7 million at the box office. Not too shabby for a nightmarish indie movie that only kind of makes sense.

NEXT: Get your tissues ready, we’ve got a sob-fest coming up.

26. Blue Valentine

2010’s Blue Valentine is a tear-jerker starring Michelle Williams and my future husband Ryan Gosling. The drama moves back and forth in time to tell the story of a marriage slowly coming apart and the dysfunctional background stories of both partners. Michelle Williams was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of the unhappy wife Cindy.

Blue Valentine, low budget movies
The Weinstein Company/IMDb

Despite the big name cast, Blue Valentine was made for just $1 million. Williams’ and Gosling’s stunningly raw performances drew in tons of viewers, however, and the movie made $16.6 million at the box office. Unfortunately, there’s no data on Kleenex sales generated by the movie, but I’m willing to bet there are a few more millions there.

NEXT: Do you want fries with that? Next up is a documentary that takes on the fast food industry.

25. Super Size Me

Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me explores what a diet of nothing but McDonalds for one month can do to your health. Spurlock used himself as a guinea pig in this experiment, eating at McDonalds three times a day for 30 days. As if that’s not unhealthy enough, he also pledged to super size his fries every time a cashier asked.

Samuel Goldwyn Films/IMDb

Not surprisingly, eating McDonald’s every day was really bad for Spurlock’s physical health, though it did do wonders for his wallet. He made Super Size Me for just $65,000 and made $20.6 million on the movie at the box office. Here’s hoping he spent some of that on fitness classes and kale!

NEXT: It didn’t cost much to make this love story told through songs.

24. Once

This 2007 musical about a street musician and a Czech immigrant in Dublin was a surprise smash hit. Once tells how this unlikely pair fell in love and expressed their feelings to each other in their songs. Featuring a gorgeous soundtrack and a romance sure to tug at your heartstrings, Once took the world by storm and became an instant classic.

Once, low budget movies
Aaronsc/Wikimedia Commons

With a budget of just $150,000, nobody expected Once to take off the way it did. Ultimately, the movie made $20.7 million at the box office and took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly.”

NEXT: Keep your eyes open for this classic low budget horror movie.

23. The Hills Have Eyes

This truly chilling horror flick was brought to us by Wes Craven, one of the masters of the genre. The Hills Have Eyes follows a regular family on their way to California who get stranded in the desert. While they attempt to continue their journey, a violent family of inbred cannibals preys on them with deadly results.

The Hills Have Eyes, low budget movies
Blood Relations Co./IMDb

Craven made The Hills Have Eyes in 1977 for just $230,000, and it made $25 million at the box office. The movie was followed by a 1985 sequel and a 2006 remake. The remake, in turn, had its own sequel in 2007. There must be a lot of money in the hills, too.

NEXT: You don’t have to be “Material Girl” to love this crime comedy.

22. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Set in London, this 1998 movie shows how a card game gone wrong causes a motley crew of gangsters, pot growers, loan sharks, and other unsavory characters to clash in a series of unexpected events. This hilarious romp through London’s seedy underbelly was a big hit in the UK and across the pond in America, too.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, low budget movies
Polygram/IMDb

Madonna’s ex-guy Guy Ritchie directed Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which was made for just $1.35 million. This movie must have been Ritchie’s “Lucky Star,” as it grossed $28.1 million at the box office. After this success, Ritchie directed another beloved heist film, Snatch, snatching him even more box office cash.

NEXT: There are more scares ahead! Have you seen one of your favorite movies on the list yet?

21. The Evil Dead

It doesn’t take big bucks to create big scares, and writer/director Sam Raimi’s 1981 movie The Evil Dead is just another example of the power of cheap thrills. In the film, a group of friends vacationing in a cabin accidentally call on an evil spirit that kills them one by one.

The Evil Dead, low budget movies
Rosebud Releasing Corporation/IMDb

Raimi made The Evil Dead for just $400,000, but it went on to make $29.4 million at the box office. Since the 80s, The Evil Dead has become a true cult classic, inspiring sequels, remakes, video games, comic books, and even a stage musical. Over the years, rabid horror fans have done everything they can to keep the evil alive.

NEXT: Keep on screaming with this black and white horror classic.

20. Night of the Living Dead

Shocking audiences in 1968 with its gory depiction of flesh-eating zombies, The Night of the Living Dead continues to scare movie-lovers and inspire filmmakers today. In the film, a group of people hide out in a farmhouse during an outbreak of a zombie plague. Sound familiar to any fans of The Walking Dead?

Night of the Living Dead, low budget movies
Pictorial Parade/Getty Images

Director George Romero made Night of the Living Dead for a mere $114,00, and the rest is history. After the movie made $30 million at the box office, Romero turned the living dead into a zombie empire. Romero made five sequels to the film, and there have been a number of remakes since the original movie entered the public domain.

NEXT: You’ll never look at power tools the same way again after this!

19. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Here comes another great low budget slasher! From 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by the true crimes of serial killer Ed Gein. In the movie, a group of teenagers is picked off one at a time by some creepy, power-tool loving cannibals.

IMDb

Often cited as the first true slasher movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a budget of $300,000. Because the movie was so violent for its time, they had trouble getting distribution, but it ultimately made $30.8 million. Like many other great scary movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has inspired sequels, prequels, and remakes, but it’s alone in the great honor of having a Ramones song written about it.

NEXT: This offbeat teen comedy surprised everyone with its box office success.

18. Napoleon Dynamite

This quirky indie comedy from 2004 follows a charmingly awkward teenager Napoleon in his efforts to help another outsider, his friend Pedro, win the title of class president. Napoleon also has an endearingly strange family, a predilection for tater tots, and a heartwarming crush on a classmate. Deadpan acting and a weird 80’s inspired aesthetic helped propel this indie sleeper to mainstream success.

Napoleon Dynamite, low budget movies
Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb

Made in Idaho for just $400,00, Napoleon Dynamite brought in $46.1 million at the box office. That’s a lot of tots, Napoleon! By embracing outsiders and awkwardness and letting geeks win the day, Napoleon Dynamite captured lots of hearts, leading to tons of Napoleon merchandise and even Halloween costumes.

NEXT: Trick or treat! This scary movie will have you on the edge of your seat!

17. Halloween

This 1978 slasher by John Carpenter features a young Jamie Lee Curtis in her first starring role. Curtis plays a teenage babysitter who, along with her friends, is terrorized by a deranged killer on Halloween night. Carpenter’s tight direction and ominous score make this horror flick feel like a million bucks, though it was made for much, much less.

Halloween, low budget movies
Ryan Green/Universal Pictures via IMDb

With a $325,000 budget, Carpenter’s original Halloween made more than anyone involved thought possible. The box office total came to $47 million, and it led to sequels, remakes, and a recent podcast called Halloween Unmasked that digs into the fascinating details of how this iconic film was made.

NEXT: This low budget movie went on to win Best Picture!

16. Moonlight

In his 2016 film Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins follows a young Black gay man’s coming of age in a bad neighborhood in Miami. Based on the book In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the movie unfolds in three parts, showing scenes from the protagonist’s childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

Moonlight, low budget movies
Earl Gibson III/GettyImages via IMDb

Despite its humble low budget beginnings, Moonlight ended up making history as the first film featuring an all black cast and the first LGBTQ+ movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Made for just $1.5 million, Moonlight earned $65 million at the box office and made movie history. Jenkins just released another beautiful film about the black experience in America, If Beale Street Could Talk.

NEXT: This 1984 action blockbuster will have you saying, “I’ll be back.”

15. The Terminator

In this classic action movie, an Austrian bodybuilder plays an indestructible android sent back in time to kill a waitress whose future son is destined to lead an uprising against machines. This 1984 flick was a breakout success for blockbuster director James Cameron and for its musclebound star.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. / IMDb

The Terminator was made for $6.4 million dollars, making it one of the more expensive low budget movies we’ve looked at so far. It wound up bringing in $78.3 million at the box office and the Terminator was back as promised for several sequels. The Terminator has also inspired novelizations and comic books.

NEXT: Time to hit the road! This next movie takes road rage to another level.

14. Mad Max

Set in a near-future dystopia, the 1979 movie Mad Max is the story of a highway cop out for revenge after violent road gangs murder his wife and child. Filmed in Australia with real outlaw bikers portraying gang members, this movie also gave Mel Gibson his first breakthrough role.

Mad Max, low budget movies
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc./IMDb

Director George Miller made Mad Max on a $200,000 budget. The movie raked in $99.75 million at the box office and ignited a blockbuster franchise. Stars like Tina Turner and Charlize Theron have appeared in sequels, and it looks like there may be even more Mad Max on the road ahead.

NEXT: Let’s get some sunshine. This indie comedy is a real charmer.

13. Little Miss Sunshine

This hit indie comedy starring Toni Collette, Steve Carell, and Greg Kinnear is a quirky road trip movie about a dysfunctional family on a quest to see their daughter in the finals of a beauty pageant. Over the course of their trip, the family faces challenges together and ultimately grows closer in the process.

Little Miss Sunshine, low budget movies
Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb

With a relatively small budget of $8 million, Little Miss Sunshine shone brightly at the box office, bringing in $100.5 million. In addition to raking in the dough, Little Miss Sunshine racked up quite a few nominations and awards, including the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

NEXT: This terrifying low budget thriller would go on to become a franchise worth millions.

12. Saw

Do you want to play a game? This 2004 movie kicked off a seriously twisted franchise with one low budget horror flick with a simple premise. Two strangers wake up trapped in the serial killer Jigsaw’s game. The killer pits the two men against each other in a horrifying battle for their lives.

Saw, low budget films
Lions Gate Films/IMDb

Saw was made on a $1.2 million budget, but you’d never know it from the big box office numbers. Bringing in $104.7 million, Saw was made on a tight schedule in just 18 days. Although movie critics weren’t enamored with Saw or its sequels, Saw’s torture scenes and suspenseful plot have earned it a passionate fan following.

NEXT: You don’t need a translator to enjoy this indie flick.

11. Lost in Translation

This 2003 film from writer/director Sofia Coppola stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Murray plays an older actor who travels to Japan to shoot a whiskey commercial. While there, he meets Johansson as a young, unhappily married woman and the two strike up an unlikely friendship.

Lost in Translation, low budget movies
Yoshio Sato/Focus Features via IMDb

Coppola shot Lost in Translation in Japan with a budget of $4 million. At the box office, the film made $119.7 million. It was also critically acclaimed and nominated for several Oscars, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Though this touchingly quiet film leaves a lot unsaid, it’s clear that it won’t be lost to time.

NEXT: The first George Lucas movie on the list is coming up!

10. American Graffiti

George Lucas’ 1973 flick American Graffiti is a great American classic. Set on the last night of summer vacation in 1962, the movie follows two friends through their last night of freedom before going away to college. Inspired by Lucas’ youth and starring Ron Howard, American Graffiti serves up a slice of life look at American small town living in the ’60s.

Universal Pictures via IMDb

American Graffiti had a tiny budget of just $770,000, but at the box office it scored big. Coming in at $140 million, American Graffiti proves that George Lucas doesn’t need spaceships or special effects to make a big hit movie.

NEXT: A found-footage inspired style kept costs low on this insanely profitable low budget movie.

9. Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity (2007) is yet another low budget horror flick with big scares. It tells the story of a young couple who move into a new house in San Diego. Frightened by nightly supernatural episodes, they set up cameras to capture evidence of a demonic presence.

Paranormal Activity, low budget movies
Tom Small/Flickr

Shot on home video cameras with a meager budget of $15,000, Paranormal Activity is widely considered to be one of the most profitable movies of all time in terms of return on investment. The movie racked up an incredible $193 million at the box office and led to a series of successful sequels and a VR game.

NEXT: In France, they call this “un bon film.”

8. Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit Pulp Fiction boasts an all-star ensemble cast, an innovative plot, and a killer soundtrack. Told in a nonlinear format, Pulp Fiction pieces together stories about two hit men, a boxer, a pair of robbers, and a gangster’s lonely wife. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Uma Thurman, it’s hard to believe this movie was made on a relatively small budget.

Miramax via IMDb

Pulp Fiction cost just $8.5 million to make, but it made a killing at the box office. Coming in at $213 million, Pulp Fiction also took home an Oscar that year for Best Original Screenplay. The movie’s stylish direction, witty banter, and unique storytelling have made it an iconic modern classic.

NEXT: This underdog movie knocked out the competition and came out on top at the box office.

7. Rocky

Sylvester Stallone’s breakout performance as Rocky Balboa in this 1976 movie launched his career and this seemingly endless franchise of great boxing movies. Stallone plays a young, poor fighter in Philadelphia who gets the chance to fight a heavy-weight champion.

Rocky, low budget movies
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc./IMDb

Made on a low budget of just $1.1 million, Rocky became the highest grossing movie in 1976, earning $225 million at the box office. In addition to being acclaimed as one of the best sports movies of all time, Rocky is also famous for its often parodied training montage in which Stallone is shown running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

NEXT: Horror and laughs collide in this smart black comedy.

6. Get Out

Comedian Jordan Peele made his directorial debut with this 2017 horror film. Get Out centers on a young black man who goes away for a weekend with his white girlfriend to meet her family. His visit to their estate grows progressively stranger until he discovers a terrifying secret.

Get Out, low budget movies
Universal Pictures via IMDb

Peele made Get Out with a budget of $4 million. It was an incredible success at the box office, making over $230 million. Combining humor, horror, and sharp racial comedy, Get Out was the movie everyone was talking about in 2017. It was nominated for Best Picture and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

NEXT: This movie will have you reaching for your hamburger shaped phone.

5. Juno

Starring Michael Cera and Ellen Page, this sharp 2007 indie comedy made a big splash at the box office. Page plays a teenager who discovers she has accidentally gotten pregnant. While considering terminating her pregnancy, she changes her mind and decides to give birth and give the child up for adoption.

Juno, low budget movies
Fox Searchlight via IMDb

Despite the unusual subject matter for a comedy, Juno was a hit. It cost just $7.5 million to make and earned $231 million at the box office. The soundtrack, largely written and performed by indie rocker Kimya Dawson, was also a chart topper. This quirky little indie comedy also won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

NEXT: You won’t believe how much this frightening mockumentary made with its tiny budget.

4. The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is the story of three students who went into the woods to make a documentary. Intrigued by local tales of a supernatural presence in the forest, they went in search of the truth and never returned. The movie is presented as the real footage of their final days.

The Blair Witch Project, low budget movies
Artisan Entertainment/IMDb

Although it was fully fictional, many viewers mistook The Blair Witch Project for an actual documentary. Its profits, however, are totally nonfiction. Made on a shoestring budget of $600,000, The Blair Witch Project made $248 million at the box office. The movie was shot in just eight days with no script.

NEXT: This movie is not afraid to bare it all.

3. The Full Monty

This 1997 British comedy became a surprise worldwide hit. It tells the story of six men who have been laid off. Struggling to make ends meet for their families, the men band together and start a striptease act. To differentiate themselves from other male strippers, the men vow to show “the full monty” and strip completely nude.

The Full Monty, low budget movies
Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb

The Full Monty was made with a budget of $3.5 million, and it made $257 million. It was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for several Oscars. The Full Monty has since been adapted to a stage play and a musical.

NEXT: This big, fat movie was made on a teeny, tiny budget!

2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

This 2002 indie romantic comedy struck a major chord with audiences, despite its humble beginnings. It tells the story of a young Greek-American woman whose family wants her to marry a Greek man. However, she gets engaged to a WASPy outsider. As she introduces him to her family and their customs, hilarity ensues.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding, low budget movies
IFC Films/IMDb

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was made for just $5 million, but it made $368 million at the box office. The movie still holds the title for the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. Pretty impressive for a movie that began as a one-woman show written by its star Nia Vardalos.

NEXT: At number one, we’ve got another entry from George Lucas!

1. Star Wars: A New Hope

Finally, this 1977 space fantasy is the highest earning low budget movie on the list. Star Wars follows young Luke Skywalker, a bored teenager on a desert planet who wants more excitement in his life. He teams up with droids, a wookie, and a smuggler to save a rebel princess from the evil Darth Vader.

Star Wars, low budget movies
Sunset Boulevard/IMDb

George Lucas made the first Star Wars with a budget of $11 million. At the box office, it made $775 million. This beloved movie revolutionized special effects and sparked a franchise that is still going strong. With two trilogies complete and one in progress, two animated TV series, rides at Disneyland, and an army of fans worldwide, Star Wars fever is still going strong.

Honorable Mention: Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 2 was a slasher film from the early 1980s. It was the first of 11 sequels to the original smash-hit. It was the first film of the series to utilize Jason Voorhees as the killer begins to carry out his revenge for the death of his mother. In the first film, Jason was only seen in flashbacks and hallucinations. You might also be surprised to hear he didn’t acquire his trademark hockey mask until the third film, which was preceded by a burlap sack.

Friday the 13th, low budget movies
Paramount Home Entertainment/IMDb

Although it did not gross as much as the original and still received negative reviews, the sequel grossed over $21.7 million in the United States on a budget of $1.25 million. The movie was a commercial success, although critics gave the movie mostly negative reviews. Retrospectively, the film has gained warmer reception and is now considered a cult classic.

NEXT: Let’s take a look at some of the biggest movie flops of all time. 

39. The Wolfman — 2010

Estimated loss, nominal: $76,000,000–80,000,000
This film is about werewolves — not the heartthrob one from Twilight, mind you, so don’t get excited. An American man was bitten and then cursed by a werewolf, as he returned to his ancestor’s homeland. It stars some big names like Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.

The Wolfman, box office flops
Universal Studios/IMDb

Turns out that A-list actors can’t save a movie from a box office bomb. The Wolfman received mixed reviews from critics and lost a lot of money. However, this is one of the films that’s become a cult classic.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $85,000,000–90,000,000
Production budget: $150,000,000
Gross: $139,800,000
NEXT: Roger Ebert rated this film two stars.

38. Windtalkers — 2002

Estimated loss, nominal: $76,000,000–81,000,000
In Windtalkers, a film starring Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach, two U.S. Marines must protect Navajo Marines. The Navajo use their language to communicate secretly via radio so enemies can’t decipher their messages. An interesting premise as Native American soldiers are rarely portrayed in Hollywood films.

biggest movie flops
Metro Goldwyn Mayer/IMDB

Unfortunately, this film received a lot of negative feedback from critics. Renowned critic Roger Ebert had some harsh words for Windtalkers: “the filmmakers have buried it beneath battlefield clichés while centering the story on a white character played by Nicolas Cage.”
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $104,000,000–110,000,000
Production budget: $115,000,000–120,000,000
Gross: $77,600,000
NEXT: Most of George Clooney’s movies are highly regarded — not this one though!

37. Tomorrowland — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $76,000,000–150,000,000
Starring A-list actor George Clooney and Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland tells the story of teen fascinated with science and a former boy-genius inventor. Their mission takes them on an adventure trying to find out secrets of time and space that exists in their memories. Sounds like a cool premise, no?

biggest movie flops
Disney Enterprises Inc./IMDB

Unfortunately, it wasn’t executed well enough to do well with critics and at the box office. It did a bit better with critics than some other films on our list — Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 50 percent approval rating at one point.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $79,000,000–155,000,000
Production budget: $180,000,000–190,000,000
Gross: $209,200,000
NEXT: The Power Rangers movie didn’t go, go, go like we thought it would.

36. Power Rangers — 2017

Estimated loss, nominal: $76,000,000
Many probably got nostalgic remembering their childhood Saturday morning TV watching days when they saw this movie. Based on the Power Rangers franchise, this was, unfortunately, a big-time bomb. Starring Dacre Montgomery and Naomi Scott, this flick is about a group of high school students with superhero powers.

biggest movie flops 2018
Kimberley French/Lions Gate Ent. Inc.

They don cool outfits and save the world. Although it was a bomb, it was the first superhero film to feature LGBTQ and autistic characters. Members of these communities were probably happy to see their likeness on the big screen!
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: Same
Production budget: $100,000,000
Gross: $142,300,000
NEXT: America’s sweetheart was caught up in this big time flop.

35. How Do You Know — 2010

Estimated loss, nominal: $76,000,000–105,000,000
This bomb starred some of the U.S.’ favorite actors — Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson (oh wow!). Lisa (Witherspoon) is cut from the U.S. softball team and feeling past her prime. A corporate businessman type (Rudd) competes for her attention with her baseball-player boyfriend (Wilson). Her boyfriend proves he is cheating on her and Rudd’s character is in trouble with the Feds — who will she choose?!

biggest movie flops
David James/Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.

With this love triangle and major life choices, Lisa finds herself rethinking her life choices. Although it had a likable cast of A-list actors, it bombed at the box office and received mixed reviews.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $85,000,000–118,000,000
Production budget: $100,000,000
Gross: $48,700,000
NEXT: This NWA co-founder was in this box office bomb.

34. xXx: State of the Union — 2005

Estimated loss, nominal: $78,000,000
This action-packed sequel to the movie xXx (2002) didn’t do as well as expected. Critics slammed it for its poor acting, the story, and overuse of CGI. Starring rapper and actor Ice Cube, this flick became the last of the xXx franchise to be distributed by Columbia.

biggest movie flops
Zade Rosenthal/Columbia Pictures, Inc.

Did its bombing have something to do with that? Either way, the franchise got picked up by another film giant, Paramount. Guess it’s good it kept on keepin’ on despite this major bomb!
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $98,000,000
Production budget: $113,100,000
Gross: $71,000,000
NEXT: Its gross revenue was as dry as the Sahara itself.

33. Sahara — 2005

Estimated loss, nominal: $78,400,000–100,000,000
Sometimes the book is better than the movie — this might have been the case for Sahara, starring Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penélope Cruz. The film takes place in present-day Mali, where Cruz plays a WHO doctor researching a disease running rampant in the country.

biggest movie flops
Paramount Pictures

Mali’s dictator, General Kazim, is intent on stopping Cruz from completing her work. This comedy-action flick was considered a bomb, earning $119.3 million with a $160 million production budget. Critics didn’t like it either judging by the fact it held a 38 percent Rotten Tomatoes review.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $98,000,000–126,000,000
Production budget: $160,000,000
Gross: $119,300,000
NEXT: This next film’s casting choices were poorly received by critics.

32. Gods of Egypt — 2016

Estimated loss, nominal: $79,000,000–90,000,000
This fantasy-action film that was set in Egypt, tells the story of a mortal that saves the world from god Set and rescues his lover with the help of another god, Horus. In typical Hollywood fashion, Gods of Egypt cast mostly white actors in the roles of Egyptians.

Gods of Egypt
Sachyn/Wikimedia Commons

Gods of Egypt received plenty of backlash for casting choices, which distributor Lionsgate and director Alex Proyas apologized for. Critics also slammed the flick’s acting, script, and special effects.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $81,000,000–92,000,000
Production budget: $140,000,000
Gross: $150,700,000
NEXT: Rights were obtained in 1994 for this flop but it wasn’t released until 2015!

31. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $80,000,000
This film’s development process was long but still lost Warner Brothers about $80 million. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a spy movie based on a 1964 TV series with the same name. Rights to adapt the TV show were obtained way back in 1994 by producer John Davis.

biggest movie flops
Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It didn’t release until 2015 because of many film rewrites. Despite its rewrites to reach ultimate big screen perfection, it received mixed reviews from critics — 66 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $83,000,000
Production budget: $75,000,000
Gross: $109,800,000
NEXT: This flick’s gross revenue wasn’t as fantastic as the title suggests.

30. Fantastic Four — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $80,000,000–100,000,000
Superhero films are popular to make into big screen productions. However, not all of them are successful. Based on the story by comic legend, Stan Lee, Fantastic Four received mostly bad reviews from critics. It was criticized for its pacing, special effects, screenplay, and more.

biggest movie flops
Marvel & Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film held a 9 percent approval rating… The acting received praise, however. Fantastic Four actors were probably very pleased with that.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $83,000,000–103,000,000
Production budget: $120,000,000–125,000,000
Gross: $168,000,000
NEXT: The sequel to this 80s cult classic did well with critics and fans but didn’t make nearly enough to not flop.

29. Blade Runner 2049 — 2017

Estimated loss, nominal: $80 million
This film, a sequel to the ’80s Blade Runner, did pretty well with critics — 87 percent on film review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes. However, it didn’t manage to break even with its costs. Some critics attributed the flop to its long run time. With a 163-minute run time, this limited the number of showtimes the theaters could run.

Blade Runner 2049, biggest box office bombs
Stephen Vaughan/Alcon Entertainment, LLC. via IMDb

Long run times sometimes rub viewers the wrong way, no matter how good the film is. Time to spare? Definitely watch this sequel to the ’80s classic.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: Same
Gross: $259.1 million
Production budget: $150–$185 million
NEXT: This film got a zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
NEXT: MGM predicted this film wouldn’t do well.

28. Supernova — 2000

Estimated loss, nominal: $83 million
Supernova? More like “superflop,” amiright?! Supernova is a Swiss-American science fiction horror film that definitely fits into the flop category. It grossed only $14.8 million but lost $83 million. MGM saw it coming — it predicted Supernova wouldn’t do well at the box office. Turns out that prediction was right.

supernova
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Inc. via IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes gave Supernova 10 percent approval with the consensus: “This is an insult to the Sci-fi genre with no excitement and bad [effects].”
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $118 million
Production budget: $90 million
Gross: $14.8 million
NEXT: This flick grossed a good amount but couldn’t recoup its costs.

27. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets — 2017

Estimated loss, nominal: $84 million
Popular model and actress Cara Delevingne stars in this space opera film with a fellow British actor, Clive Owen. Valerian was based on comic books of the same name. It did gross a good amount of cash, but its high production and advertising costs set it back into the flop category.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, biggest box office bombs
STX Entertainment/IMDb

It received mixed reviews with critics blasting the plot and casting. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 43 percent approval rating and Metacritic was 51 out of 100.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: Same
Production budget: $177.2–$180 million
Gross: $225.9 million
NEXT: Unlikable characters + bad editing = big flop.

26. Town & Country — 2001

Estimated loss, nominal: $85 million
Entertainment publication The Hollywood Reporter lists this movie, starring Hollywood heavyweights Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, as the fifth-largest flop of the 2000s. That’s an honor most actors wouldn’t want to be bestowed upon them. Three years after filming began it finally made it into theaters and bombed — big time.

Town & Country
New Line Cinema/IMDb

Some critics claimed Town & Country was having an identity crisis. Between unlikable characters and poor editing, the result was a choppy, confusing movie.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $117 million
Production budget: $90 million
Gross: $10.4 million
NEXT: It was nominated for Best Animated Feature but still bombed.

25. Treasure Planet — 2002

Estimated loss, nominal: $85 million
Sometimes sci-fi adaptations of classics bomb tremendously, like this adaption of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Lots of critics agreed that although the animation was beautiful and imaginative, the characters in Treasure Planet lacked development. Some were harsher like A.O. Scott who called it a “brainless, mechanical picture.” Yikes!

Treasure Planet
Walt Disney Studios/IMDb

Critics are vicious when they want to be! Treasure did get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature but lost to Spirited Away.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $116 million
Production budget: $140 million
Gross: $109.6 million
NEXT: Some critics like Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges but that’s about it.

24. Seventh Son — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $85 million
This fantasy film starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore is loosely based on the novel The Spook’s Apprentice. Thomas Ward is the “seventh son of a seventh son,” and the apprentice of the Spook. It’s safe to say that critics did not like Seventh Son one bit. Some of the stars “saved it,” however.

Seventh Son
Warner Brothers Picture/IMDb

The New York Daily News liked that Moore and Bridges reunited for the first time since The Big Lebowski, saying they rescued this film “from the ash heap.”
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $88 million
Production budget: $95 million
Gross: $114.2 million
NEXT: This flop did well in home video sales.

23. The Good Dinosaur — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $85 million
This Pixar produced, Disney released movie sounds like a cute premise. However, this flick about a dinosaur named Arlo meeting a human friend didn’t do as well as anticipated at the box office. It became Pixar’s lowest grossing film but actually did pretty well in the home video sales category.

The Good Dinosaur
The Good Dinosaur/IMDb

It was praised by critics for its visuals and animation. Many said it was entertaining but wasn’t a groundbreaking film like past Pixar creations.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $88 million
Production budget: $175–$200 million
Gross: $332.2 million
NEXT: Not having big stars might have attributed to this next flop.

22. Pan — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $86–$150 million
Pan mostly suffered negative reviews with critics slamming it for having a formulaic plot and being heavily reliant on CGI. Unluckily for this Peter Pan remake, it not only had a massive budget of $150 million but spent a whopping $100-$125 million on marketing. The darn marketing — it can either save or sink a film!

Pan, biggest box office bombs
Laurie Sparham/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via IMDb

Its failure might have been caused by a weak script, a lack of big stars and its soundtrack, according to critics like Scott Mendelson.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $89–$155 million
Production budget: $150 million
Gross: $128.4 million
NEXT: It had great visuals AND Oprah but still missed the mark.

21. A Wrinkle in Time — 2018

Estimated loss, nominal: $86–$186 million
Everyone remembers gobbling this 1962 published book up when they were just youngsters. People weren’t loving the movie adaption of Madeleine L’Engle’s book, however, even though Oprah Winfrey starred. Its visuals and big-heartedness impressed critics, but some thought it was “wildly ambitious to a fault.”

A Wrinkle in Time, biggest box office bombs
Disney Enterprises/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 41 percent approval rating while Metacritic had a weighted average of 53 out of 100. Seems like a pile of mixed reviews! Either way, it was nice to see Oprah Winfrey on the big screen once again.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: Same
Production budget: $130 million
Gross: $132.7 million
NEXT: Jack can slay giants but not box offices.

20. Jack the Giant Slayer — 2013

Estimated loss, nominal: $86–$106 million
Bland impersonal story? Overwhelming digital effects? This film has both of those, according to the general consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. The review aggregator gave the flick mixed reviews — a 51 percent approval rating based on about 195 reviews. But some major movie reviewers enjoyed watching Jack the Giant Slayer.

Jack the Giant Slayer, biggest box office bombs
Warner Brothers Picture/IMDb

Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter said it was better than The Hobbit, an adaption of the J.R.R. Tolkien book. Richard Roeper called it an “original and thoroughly entertaining adventure.” However, it was a bomb at the end of the day and lost folks some money.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $90–$111 million
Production budget: $185–200 million
Gross: $197.7 million
NEXT: People weren’t feeling this “space opera.”

19. Jupiter Ascending — 2015

Estimated loss, nominal: $87–120 million
There was no ascending for Jupiter when it came to those box office sales. Despite Warner Brothers’ ambition with this movie, it acquired just $47 million from domestic audiences. This film was a “space opera,” a concept that maybe audiences were tired of. There are quite a lot of space films aren’t there?

Jupiter Ascending, biggest box office bombs
Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc/IMDb

Critics didn’t like it either, calling its script “incoherent,” criticizing its characterization and over-reliance on special effects. Despite this, Jupiter Ascending is at least beautiful to watch, especially for people that love special effects.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $90–124 million
Production budget: $175 million
Gross: $184 million
NEXT: The guardians didn’t “rise” like this movie title suggested.

18. Rise of the Guardians — 2012

Estimated loss, nominal: $87 million
Here’s another situation where the book was probably better than the movie. Rise of the Guardians was based on writer and illustrator William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book. Some big names voiced the characters, like Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher, but it lost mucho dinero for the studio. Nobody likes losing money.

Rise of the Guardians, biggest box office bombs
Courtesy of DreamW/DreamWorks Animation LLC. via IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes reviews weren’t bad for this film compared to others on our list today: About a 74 percent and a consensus that this was like Avengers for kids. We imagine children liked this flick better than adults!
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $93 million
Production budget: $145 million
Gross: $306.9 million
NEXT: This was the most expensive comedy film at the time.

17. Evan Almighty — 2007

Estimated loss, nominal: $88 million
This comedy didn’t do all that almighty at the box office. Evan Almighty, starring The Office actor Steve Carrell, is a spin-off and sequel to 2003’s Bruce Almighty, but looks like it couldn’t live up to its predecessor. Critics slammed it for being big on special effects but short on laughs.

Evan Almighty, biggest box office bombs
T.J. Hawk/Flickr

Jim Carrey was commended for declining to reprise his roles in “three of the worst sequels of all time” (Evan Almighty, Dumb and Dumberer, When Harry Met Lloyd, Son of the Mask). Guess Carrey made some smart career moves…
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $104 million
Production budget: $175 million
Gross: $173.4 million
NEXT: Pirates almost didn’t happen because of this.

16. Cutthroat Island — 1995

Estimated loss, nominal: $89 million
After this film flopped, Hollywood steered clear of all things pirates. Thankfully Disney didn’t listen and hit gold with Pirates of Caribbean, but Cutthroat wasn’t as lucky… Its gross box office sales kept it in the Guinness Book of World Records “largest box office flop” category. Many people want to be in the Book of World Records but not this way…

Cutthroat Island, biggest box office bombs
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)/IMDb

Guinness got rid of this category — probably much to Cutthroat creators’ relief. Its production was notoriously chaotic and troubled, which probably caused this major motion picture flop.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $143 million
Production budget: $98 million
Gross: $18.3 million
NEXT: R.I.P., R.I.P.D.

15. R.I.P.D. — 2013

Estimated loss, nominal: $91–$115 million
Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges are buddy cops in this action flick based on the comic book, Rest in Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov. Guess we have another common problem here: the book was better than the movie! R.I.P.D. was both a commercial and critical failure.

RIPD
Universial Pictures/IMDb

You’ll never guess what rating Rotten Tomatoes gave this flop. FOURTEEN percent with 95 reviews! Poor Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges… That’s not the lowest rating the review aggregator has given a movie, however.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $96–$121 million
Production budget: $130–$154 million
Gross: $78.3 million
NEXT: The studio insists the main point of The Promise wasn’t to make money.

14. The Promise — 2016

Estimated loss, nominal: $94–$102.1 million
There were a ton of films named The Promise. To tell them apart, remember that the 2016 version was the major bomb. The studio insisted the film’s point was to draw attention to the story, not make money. Hey — at least they didn’t promise the studio any money. Amiright?!

The Promise, biggest box office bombs
Survival Pictures/IMDb

Just kidding, most movies promise those that invested will get their money back. This film details a love triangle set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. In the triangle — an Armenian medical student, an American journalist, and an Armenian woman.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $96–$104 million
Production budget: $90 million
Gross: $10.5 million
NEXT: Remember The Alamo? We don’t either…

13. The Alamo — 2004

Estimated loss, nominal: $94 million
Remakes are tricky to make, especially if it’s a John Wayne flick — you know he’s got some real passionate fans. This remake had one of the largest sets in North America at the time, thus adding to its massive budgets. After disastrous previews, its release had to be pushed back.

The Alamo, biggest box office bombs
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc./IMDb

Thankfully, its length was trimmed from its original three hours to 135 minutes, but it had to compete with The Passion of the Christ which audiences were turning out in droves for.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $122 million
Production budget: $107 million
Gross: $25.8 million
NEXT: This film’s advanced technology might have put it over budget.

12. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within — 2001

Estimated loss, nominal: $94 million
The film’s groundbreaking animation was meant to blow moviegoers’ minds but, instead, it broke the studio’s bank. Final Fantasy‘s advanced animation processes created photorealistic imagery but also pushed the film’s budget to $137 million. It also roped in stars like Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, and Ving Rhames but still couldn’t break even.

Final Fantasy The Spirits Within
Columbia Pictures/IMDb

Perhaps, it had something to do with the quality of the animation? Characters came across as awkward and stiff, despite the advanced technology used. That “uncanny valley” always throws viewers off.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $130 million
Production budget: $137 million
Gross: $85.1 million
NEXT: Disney and Johnny Depp tried and failed to get the same Pirates of the Caribbean success.

11. The Lone Ranger — 2013

Estimated loss, nominal: $95–$190 million
Johnny Depp had major success starring in the Disney franchise Pirates of the Caribbean, but couldn’t replicate that with The Lone Ranger, another Disney flick. It lost the studio a lot of money with a hefty production and marketing budget and a lack of ticket buying.

The Lone Ranger
Peter Mountain/Disney Enterprises via IMDb

Critics weren’t very pleased with the creative choice of having a white man (Depp) play a Native American character. They also bash its bland script, length, and “blaring action overkill.”
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $100–$200 million
Production budget: $225–250 million
Gross: $260.5 million
NEXT: This flop was the biggest global debut of Tom Cruise’s career.

10. The Mummy — 2017

Estimated loss, nominal: $95 million
Turns out it was a wrap for The Mummy (get it?!). There were other films in the franchise but this one did the worst, unfortunately. Its underperformance was attributed to poor critic and audience reactions as well as “blockbuster fatigue,” according to Deadline Hollywood. Think audiences are sick of blockbusters?

The Mummy
Universal Studios/IMDb

It did SO bad that it was pulled from over 800 theaters in just its THIRD weekend. This was, however, star Tom Cruise’s biggest global debut. Perhaps, in retrospect, he wished another film was his global debut?
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: Same
Production budget: $195 million
Gross: $409.1 million
NEXT: This might be the worst performing film in Eddie Murphy’s career.

9. The Adventures of Pluto Nash — 2002

Estimated loss, nominal: $96 million
Eddie Murphy had been enjoying box office success consistently through the 80’s and 90’s until he starred in The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The film didn’t get close to breaking even, pulling in just a little over $7 million after spending $100 million on production, plus $20 million more for marketing.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash, biggest box office bombs
Bruce McBroom/Warner Brothers

There’s no argument that this is probably the worst performing film of Murphy’s career. Murphy starred as a nightclub owner in space that refuses to sell his business to “lunar gangsters.”
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $131 million
Production budget: $100 million
Gross: $7.1 million
NEXT: Roger Ebert said this film was a “dumbed-down Top Gun.”

8. Stealth — 2005

Estimated loss, nominal: $96 million
This action movie follows three fighter pilots as they join an automated stealth aircraft program. Seems like an interesting premise, but its execution wasn’t so. It opened at 4th place, then lost over half its audience its second weekend. Critics weren’t kind to Stealth either.

Sleath, biggest box office bombs
Jasin Boland/Columbia, TriStar via IMDb

Roger Ebert said it was a “dumbed-down Top Gun crossed with the HAL 9000 plot from 2001.” Top Gun was already pretty cheesy — if you added any more cheese you’d get a heart attack. Guess that’s what happened with Stealth? It ended up one of the worst bombs ever.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $120 million
Production budget: $135 million
Gross: $76.9 million
NEXT: Casting actors unfamiliar to American audiences might have been this film’s problem.

7. 47 Ronin — 2013

Estimated loss, nominal: $97–$150 million
This film had multiple problems from the get-go, Cheat Sheet reports. It shared the same name with a Japanese epic but had nothing to do with that story. Changing the name only confused fans rather than adding legitimacy to the flick. Secondly, they used actors unknown to U.S. audiences.

47 Ronin, biggest box office bombs
Frank Conner/Universal Pictures via IMDb

Besides Keanu Reeves, American moviegoers weren’t going to recognize the unknown Japanese actors in 47 Ronin (no matter how good they were). Perhaps if this movie was for Japanese audiences, it would have done well in Japan?
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $102–$158 million
Production budget: $175–$225 million
Gross: $151.8 million
NEXT: Titan A.E. made only $36.8 million at the box office.

6. Titan A.E. — 2000

Estimated loss, nominal: $100 million
This cartoon action flick had some big names attached to it like Matt Damon, Nathan Lane and Drew Barrymore, but still lost the studio a ton of money. It opened at number 5, then drastically lost audiences in its second weekend. People just weren’t feeling Titan A.E. Turns out a movie needs a lot more than some famous actors.

Titan A.E., biggest box office bombs
Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb

Critics thought it was “meh.” Along with a 51 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the general consensus was: “Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies.” Sci-fi has almost been overdone at this point — it’s hard to get unique!
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $142 million
Production budget: $75–90 million
Gross: $36.8 million
NEXT: A classic tale of overspending.

5. Mars Needs Moms — 2011

Estimated loss, nominal: $100–$144 million
Mars Needs Moms is an example of classic overspending in Hollywood. Its $150 million budget dwarfed some of the biggest films’ budgets, making it difficult for even huge animation studio Pixar to profit from it. On top of the $25 million spent on marketing, Mars Needs Moms was light years away from breaking even.

Mars Needs Moms, biggest box office bombs
Walt Disney Pictures/IMDb

The film only made a mere $39 million at the box office. Critics hated it too — only a 37 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a bummer because it sounds like a cool concept — we think every planet in our solar system needs moms. <3
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $109–$157 million
Production budget: $150 million
Gross: $39 million
NEXT: Monster Trucks? More like “Monster Flop.”

4. Monster Trucks — 2016

Estimated loss, nominal: $109–$123.1 million
Not everyone likes monster trucks it turns out. Besides it losing the studio a ton of money, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 31 percent based on 85 reviews. On Metacritic, Monster Trucks got more mixed reviews — 41 out of 100 based on 23 critics.

Monster Trucks, biggest box office bombs
Paramount/IMDb

“Despite flashes of inspiration, the singularly high-concept Monster Trucks shows that it takes more than monsters and trucks to create a compelling feature film,” was Rotten Tomatoes’ overall consensus.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $111–$126 million
Production budget: $125 million
Gross: $64.5 million
NEXT: King Arthur flopped in part due to jaded viewers.

3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword — 2017

Estimated loss, nominal: $115–$153.2 million
A reimagining of the classic King Arthur story, King Arthur was supposed to be a big blockbuster with rising star Charlie Hunnam and big-name director, Guy Ritchie. However, it flopped due to poor planning, poor timing and jaded viewers, says The Guardian. Sounds like the recipe for a box office bomb, no?

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, biggest box office bombs
Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Village Roadshow Films North America Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC – – U.S., C via IMDb

In addition, the film was in development for six years, failed to attract big-name actors and had weak source material (King Arthur flicks have dwindled in popularity, according to reports).
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $115–$153 million
Production budget: $175 million
Gross: $148.7 million
NEXT: Critics had some harsh words for this Disney movie.

2. John Carter — 2012

Estimated loss, nominal: $122–$200 million
Critics had some harsh words for John Carter. Here’s what one said on Rotten Tomatoes: “While John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization.” These mistakes proved very costly to everyone that invested in this flick.

John Carter, biggest box office bombs
Frank Connor/Disney Enterprises Inc. via IMDb

This was Disney’s attempt at a movie franchise based off Edgar Rice Burroughs’ science fantasy novels. With John Carter being a financial disaster, however, that plan was put on hold — most likely, indefinitely.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $130–$213 million
Production budget: $263.7 million
Gross: $284.1 million
NEXT: This flick couldn’t compete with Finding Nemo.

1. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas — 2003

Estimated loss, nominal: $125 million
Fun fact: Sinbad was the last hand-drawn animation by Dreamworks. Not so fun fact: It lost the greatest amount of money on our list today. Apparently, it lost so much that it almost bankrupted Dreamworks. It tried an aggressive marketing strategy to no avail. Guess what threw them off?

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, biggest box office bombs
Dreamworks/IMDb

Dreamworks couldn’t compete with a Pixar film released around the same time. Ever heard of a little flick called Finding Nemo? Because of the fish-centric animated movie starring Ellen DeGeneres, Sinbad almost drowned. Nemo, on the other hand, made over $940 million worldwide.
Estimated loss, adjusted for inflation: $166 million
Production budget: $60 million
Gross: $80.8 million

NEXT: ON THE FLIP-SIDE, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE LOWEST BUDGET MOVIES THAT WERE SURPRISINGLY SUCCESSFUL 

30. El Mariachi

This 1992 film from writer and director Robert Rodriguez is an incredible, low budget success story. El Mariachi is a thrilling tale of mistaken identity about a mariachi who is mistaken for a killer known for packing heat in his guitar case. The titular mariachi unwittingly finds himself running for his life from a cold-blooded drug lord and his relentless henchmen.

El Mariachi
IMDB

Rodriguez actually worked as a test subject for medical experiments to raise money to make his movie. With a budget of just $7,000, El Mariachi brought in $2 million at the box office. Following El Mariachi’s success, Rodriguez went on to direct big budget hit movies like Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Talk about an incredible low budget success!

NEXT: Making this comedy on the cheap launched its director’s career.

29. Clerks

Here’s another low budget movie that launched the successful career of its writer/director. Kevin Smith’s 1994 movie Clerks is a day-in-the-life flick that follows two convenience store clerks as they debate the minutiae of Star Wars trivia, endure romantic woes, and shut down the shop to play hockey on the roof. Although at times it’s really obvious that Smith was working with amateur actors, the strength of his comedic writing still shines through brilliantly.

IMDB

Shot entirely in black and white for just $27,000, Clerks made $3.9 million at the box office and remains a cult favorite of slackers everywhere. It even spawned a sequel, 2006’s Clerks II, and a spin-off, 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Looks like in this case, a slacker mentality turned out to be pretty darn profitable.

NEXT: This movie is so money, even though nobody expected it.

28. Swingers

This 1996 romantic comedy with an all-star cast doesn’t seem like a low budget film, but that’s Hollywood magic for you! Starring Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Heather Graham, Swingers tells the story of two struggling actors in Los Angeles trying to navigate the dating scene. If you’ve ever waited three days to call a new love interest, you can thank Swingers for popularizing the notion that waiting a few days to call is totally “money”.

Miramax

Star Jon Favreau wrote Swingers, and it was directed by Doug Liman. They made Swingers for just $200,000, but it made $4.6 million at the box office and is still a fan favorite today.  Before getting his big break in Swingers, Favreau played a clown in an episode of Seinfeld. Now, he’s landing roles in films like 2013’s Wolf of Wall Street and 2015’s Entourage.

NEXT: This bizarre cult classic is a low budget wonder!

27. Eraserhead

Ready to get weird? David Lynch’s dark 1977 horror classic Eraserhead is a low budget movie that packs a big punch. This black and white body-horror tale follows the struggles of a man who discovers his newborn baby is a terrifying mutant who will not stop screaming. Ah, the joys of parenthood! Lynch creates a world in this film that is dark, surreal, and capable of haunting your nightmares for years to come.

IMDB

Eraserhead stars Jack Nance, a Lynch favorite who would go on to act in many of the director’s other projects, including cult classics Blue Velvet and the original Twin Peaks series. Made for just $100,000, Eraserhead brought in $7 million at the box office. Not too shabby for a nightmarish indie movie that only kind of makes sense.

NEXT: Get your tissues ready, we’ve got a sob-fest coming up.

26. Blue Valentine

2010’s Blue Valentine is a tear-jerker starring Michelle Williams and my future husband Ryan Gosling. The drama moves back and forth in time to tell the story of a marriage slowly coming apart and the dysfunctional background stories of both partners. Michelle Williams was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of the unhappy wife Cindy.

IMDB

Despite the big name cast, Blue Valentine was made for just $1 million. Williams’ and Gosling’s stunningly raw performances drew in tons of viewers, however, and the movie made $16.6 million at the box office. Unfortunately, there’s no data on Kleenex sales generated by the movie, but I’m willing to bet there are a few more millions there.

NEXT: Do you want fries with that? Next up is a documentary that takes on the fast food industry.

25. Super Size Me

Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me explores what a diet of nothing but McDonalds for one month can do to your health. Spurlock used himself as a guinea pig in this experiment, eating at McDonalds three times a day for 30 days. As if that’s not unhealthy enough, he also pledged to super size his fries every time a cashier asked.

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Not surprisingly, eating McDonald’s every day was really bad for Spurlock’s physical health, though it did do wonders for his wallet. He made Super Size Me for just $65,000 and made $20.6 million on the movie at the box office. Here’s hoping he spent some of that on fitness classes and kale!

NEXT: It didn’t cost much to make this love story told through songs.

24. Once

This 2007 musical about a street musician and a Czech immigrant in Dublin was a surprise smash hit. Once tells how this unlikely pair fell in love and expressed their feelings to each other in their songs. Featuring a gorgeous soundtrack and a romance sure to tug at your heartstrings, Once took the world by storm and became an instant classic.

Irish Film Board

With a budget of just $150,000, nobody expected Once to take off the way it did. Ultimately, the movie made $20.7 million at the box office and took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly”.

NEXT: Keep your eyes open for this classic low budget horror movie.

23. The Hills Have Eyes

This truly chilling horror flick was brought to us by Wes Craven, one of the masters of the genre. The Hills Have Eyes follows a regular family on their way to California who get stranded in the desert. While they attempt to continue their journey, a violent family of inbred cannibals preys on them with deadly results.

IMDB

Craven made The Hills Have Eyes in 1977 for just $230,000, and it made $25 million at the box office. The movie was followed by a 1985 sequel and a 2006 remake. The remake, in turn, had its own sequel in 2007. There must be a lot of money in the hills, too.

NEXT: You don’t have to be “Material Girl” to love this crime comedy.

22. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Set in London, this 1998 movie shows how a card game gone wrong causes a motley crew of gangsters, pot growers, loan sharks, and other unsavory characters to clash in a series of unexpected events. This hilarious romp through London’s seedy underbelly was a big hit in the UK and across the pond in America, too.

IMDB

Madonna’s ex-guy Guy Ritchie directed Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which was made for just $1.35 million. This movie must have been Ritchie’s “Lucky Star,” as it grossed $28.1 million at the box office. After this success, Ritchie directed another beloved heist film, Snatch, snatching him even more box office cash.

NEXT: There are more scares ahead! Have you seen one of your favorite movies on the list yet?

21. The Evil Dead

It doesn’t take big bucks to create big scares, and writer/director Sam Raimi’s 1981 movie The Evil Dead is just another example of the power of cheap thrills. In the film, a group of friends vacationing in a cabin accidentally call on an evil spirit that kills them one by one.

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Raimi made The Evil Dead for just $400,000, but it went on to make $29.4 million at the box office. Since the ’80s, The Evil Dead has become a true cult classic, inspiring sequels, remakes, video games, comic books, and even a stage musical. Over the years, rabid horror fans have done everything they can to keep the evil alive.

NEXT: Keep on screaming with this black and white horror classic.

20. Night of the Living Dead

Shocking audiences in 1968 with its gory depiction of flesh-eating zombies, The Night of the Living Dead continues to scare movie-lovers and inspire filmmakers today. In the film, a group of people hide out in a farmhouse during an outbreak of a zombie plague. Sound familiar to any fans of The Walking Dead?

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Director George Romero made Night of the Living Dead for a mere $114,00, and the rest is history. After the movie made $30 million at the box office, Romero turned the living dead into a zombie empire. Romero made five sequels to the film, and there have been a number of remakes since the original movie entered the public domain.

NEXT: You’ll never look at power tools the same way again after this!

19. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Here comes another great low budget slasher! From 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by the true crimes of serial killer Ed Gein. In the movie, a group of teenagers is picked off one at a time by some creepy, power-tool loving cannibals.

IMDB

Often cited as the first true slasher movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a budget of $300,000. Because the movie was so violent for its time, they had trouble getting distribution, but it ultimately made $30.8 million. Like many other great scary movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has inspired sequels, prequels, and remakes, but it’s alone in the great honor of having a Ramones song written about it.

NEXT: This offbeat teen comedy surprised everyone with its box office success.

18. Napoleon Dynamite

This quirky indie comedy from 2004 follows a charmingly awkward teenager Napoleon in his efforts to help another outsider, his friend Pedro, win the title of class president. Napoleon also has an endearingly strange family, a predilection for tater tots, and a heartwarming crush on a classmate. Deadpan acting and a weird 80’s inspired aesthetic helped propel this indie sleeper to mainstream success.

IMDB

Made in Idaho for just $400,00, Napoleon Dynamite brought in $46.1 million at the box office. That’s a lot of tots, Napoleon! By embracing outsiders and awkwardness and letting geeks win the day, Napoleon Dynamite captured lots of hearts, leading to tons of Napoleon merchandise and even Halloween costumes.

NEXT: Trick or treat! This scary movie will have you on the edge of your seat!

17. Halloween

This 1978 slasher by John Carpenter features a young Jamie Lee Curtis in her first starring role. Curtis plays a teenaged babysitter who, along with her friends, is terrorized by a deranged killer on Halloween night. Carpenter’s tight direction and ominous score make this horror flick feel like a million bucks, though it was made for much, much less.

IMDB

With a $325,000 budget, Carpenter’s original Halloween made more than anyone involved thought possible. The box office total came to $47 million, and it led to sequels, remakes, and a recent podcast called Halloween Unmasked that digs into the fascinating details of how this iconic film was made.

NEXT: This low budget movie went on to win Best Picture!

16. Moonlight

In his 2016 film Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins follows a young African-American gay man’s coming of age in a bad neighborhood in Miami. Based on the book In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the movie unfolds in three parts, showing scenes from the protagonist’s childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

IMDB

Despite its humble low budget beginnings, Moonlight ended up making history as the first film featuring an all black cast and the first LGBTQ movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Made for just $1.5 million, Moonlight earned $65 million at the box office and made movie history. Jenkins just released another beautiful film about the black experience in America, If Beale Street Could Talk.

NEXT: This 1984 action blockbuster will have you saying, “I’ll be back.”

15. The Terminator

In this classic action movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an indestructible android sent back in time to kill a waitress whose future son is destined to lead an uprising against machines. This 1984 flick was a breakout success for blockbuster director James Cameron and for Schwarzenegger its star.

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IMDB

The Terminator was made for $6.4 million dollars, making it one of the more expensive low budget movies we’ve looked at so far. It wound up bringing in $78.3 million at the box office and Schwarzenegger was back as promised for several sequels. The Terminator has also inspired novelizations and comic books.

NEXT: Time to hit the road! This next movie takes road rage to another level.

14. Mad Max

Set in a near-future dystopia, the 1979 movie Mad Max is the story of a highway cop out for revenge after violent road gangs murder his wife and child. Filmed in Australia with real outlaw bikers portraying gang members, this movie also gave Mel Gibson his first breakthrough role.

IMDB

Director George Miller made Mad Max on a $200,000 budget. The movie raked in $99.75 million at the box office and ignited a blockbuster franchise. Stars like Tina Turner and Charlize Theron have appeared in sequels, and it looks like there may be even more Mad Max on the road ahead.

NEXT: Let’s get some sunshine. This indie comedy is a real charmer.

13. Little Miss Sunshine

This hit indie comedy starring Toni Collette, Steve Carell, and Greg Kinnear is a quirky road trip movie about a dysfunctional family on a quest to see their daughter in the finals of a beauty pageant. Over the course of their trip, the family faces challenges together and ultimately grows closer in the process.

IMDB

With a relatively small budget of $8 million, Little Miss Sunshine shone brightly at the box office, bringing in $100.5 million. In addition to raking in the dough, Little Miss Sunshine racked up quite a few nominations and awards, including the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

NEXT: This terrifying low budget thriller would go on to become a franchise worth millions.

12. Saw

Do you want to play a game? This 2004 movie kicked off a seriously twisted franchise with one low budget horror flick with a simple premise. Two strangers wake up trapped in the serial killer Jigsaw’s game. The killer pits the two men against each other in a horrifying battle for their lives.

IMDB

Saw was made on a $1.2 million budget, but you’d never know it from the big box office numbers. Bringing in $104.7 million, Saw was made on a tight schedule in just 18 days. Although movie critics weren’t enamored with Saw or its sequels, Saw’s torture scenes and suspenseful plot have earned it a passionate fan following.

NEXT: You don’t need a translator to enjoy this indie flick.

11. Lost in Translation

This 2003 film from writer/director Sofia Coppola stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Murray plays an older actor who travels to Japan to shoot a whiskey commercial. While there, he meets Johansson as a young, unhappily married woman and the two strike up an unlikely friendship.

IMDB

Coppola shot Lost in Translation in Japan with a budget of $4 million. At the box office, the film made $119.7 million. It was also critically acclaimed and nominated for several Oscars, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Though this touchingly quiet film leaves a lot unsaid, it’s clear that it won’t be lost to time.

NEXT: The first George Lucas movie on the list is coming up!

10. American Graffiti

George Lucas’ 1973 flick American Graffiti is a great American classic. Set on the last night of summer vacation in 1962, the movie follows two friends through their last night of freedom before going away to college. Inspired by Lucas’ youth and starring Ron Howard, American Graffiti serves up a slice of life look at American small town living in the ’60s.

Universal Pictures

American Graffiti had a tiny budget of just $770,000, but at the box office it scored big. Coming in at $140 million, American Graffiti proves that George Lucas doesn’t need spaceships or special effects to make a big hit movie.

NEXT: A found-footage inspired style kept costs low on this insanely profitable low budget movie.

9. Paranormal Activity

2007’s Paranormal Activity is yet another low budget horror flick with big scares. It tells the story of a young couple who move into a new house in San Diego. Frightened by nightly supernatural episodes, they set up cameras to capture evidence of a demonic presence.

IMDB

Shot on home video cameras with a meager budget of $15,000, Paranormal Activity is widely considered to be one of the most profitable movies of all time in terms of return on investment. The movie racked up an incredible $193 million at the box office and led to a series of successful sequels and a VR game.

NEXT: In France, they call this “un bon film.”

8. Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit Pulp Fiction boasts an all-star ensemble cast, an innovative plot, and a killer soundtrack. Told in a nonlinear format, Pulp Fiction pieces together stories about two hitmen, a boxer, a pair of robbers, and a gangster’s lonely wife. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Uma Thurman, it’s hard to believe this movie was made on a relatively small budget.

Miramax

Pulp Fiction cost just $8.5 million to make, but it made a killing at the box office. Coming in at $213 million, Pulp Fiction also took home an Oscar that year for Best Original Screenplay. The movie’s stylish direction, witty banter, and unique storytelling have made it an iconic modern classic.

NEXT: This underdog movie knocked out the competition and came out on top at the box office.

7. Rocky

Sylvester Stallone’s breakout performance as Rocky Balboa in this 1976 movie launched his career and this seemingly endless franchise of great boxing movies. Stallone plays a young, poor fighter in Philadelphia who gets the chance to fight a heavy-weight champion.

IMDB

Made on a low budget of just $1.1 million, Rocky became the highest grossing movie in 1976, earning $225 million at the box office. In addition to being acclaimed as one of the best sports movies of all time, Rocky is also famous for its often parodied training montage in which Stallone is shown running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

NEXT: Horror and laughs collide in this smart black comedy.

6. Get Out

Comedian Jordan Peele made his directorial debut with this 2017 horror film. Get Out centers on a young black man who goes away for a weekend with his white girlfriend to meet her family. His visit to their estate grows progressively stranger until he discovers a terrifying secret.

Universal Pictures

Peele made Get Out with a budget of $4 million. It was an incredible success at the box office, making over $230 million. Combining humor, horror, and sharp racial comedy, Get Out was the movie everyone was talking about in 2017. It was nominated for Best Picture and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

NEXT: This movie will have you reaching for your hamburger shaped phone.

5. Juno

Starring Michael Cera and Ellen Page, this sharp 2007 indie comedy made a big splash at the box office. Page plays a teenager who discovers she has accidentally gotten pregnant. While considering terminating her pregnancy, she changes her mind and decides to have the child and give it up for adoption.

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Despite the unusual subject matter for a comedy, Juno was a hit. It cost just $7.5 million to make and earned $231 million at the box office. The soundtrack, largely written and performed by indie rocker Kimya Dawson, was also a chart topper. This quirky little indie comedy also won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

NEXT: You won’t believe how much this frightening mockumentary made with its tiny budget.

4. The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is the story of three students who went into the woods to make a documentary. Intrigued by local tales of a supernatural presence in the forest, they went in search of the truth and never returned. The movie is presented as the real footage of their final days.

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Although it was fully fictional, many viewers mistook The Blair Witch Project for an actual documentary. Its profits, however, are totally nonfiction. Made on a shoestring budget of $600,000, The Blair Witch Project made $248 million at the box office. The movie was shot in just eight days with no script.

NEXT: This movie is not afraid to bare it all.

3. The Full Monty

This 1997 British comedy became a surprise worldwide hit. It tells the story of six men who have been laid off. Struggling to make ends meet for their families, the men band together and start a striptease act. To differentiate themselves from other male strippers, the men vow to show “the full monty” and strip completely nude.

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The Full Monty was made with a budget of $3.5 million, and it made $257 million. It was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for several Oscars. The Full Monty has since been adapted to a stage play and a musical.

NEXT: This big, fat movie was made on a teeny, tiny budget!

2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

This 2002 indie romantic comedy struck a major chord with audiences, despite its humble beginnings. It tells the story of a young Greek-American woman whose family wants her to marry a Greek man. However, she gets engaged to a WASPy outsider. As she introduces him to her family and their customs, hilarity ensues.

Keystone Press

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was made for just $5 million, but it made $368 million at the box office. The movie still holds the title for the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. Pretty impressive for a movie that began as a one-woman show written by its star Nia Vardalos.

NEXT: At number one, we’ve got another entry from George Lucas!

1. Star Wars: A New Hope

Finally, this 1977 space fantasy is the highest earning low budget movie on the list. Star Wars follows young Luke Skywalker, a bored teenager on a desert planet who wants more excitement in his life. He teams up with droids, a wookie, and a smuggler to save a rebel princess from the evil Darth Vader.

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IMDB

George Lucas made the first Star Wars with a budget of $11 million. At the box office, it made $775 million. This beloved movie revolutionized special effects and sparked a franchise that is still going strong. With two trilogies complete and one in progress, two animated TV series, rides at Disneyland, and an army of fans worldwide, Star Wars fever is still going strong.

Honorable Mention: Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 2 was a slasher film from the early 1980s. It was the first of 11 sequels to the original smash-hit. It was the first film of the series to utilize Jason Voorhees as the killer begins to carry out his revenge for the death of his mother. In the first film, Jason was only seen in flashbacks and hallucinations. You might also be surprised to hear he didn’t acquire his trademark hockey mask until the third film, which was preceded by a burlap sack.

Paramount Pictures/Georgetown Productions

Although it did not gross as much as the original and still received negative reviews, the sequel grossed over $21.7 million in the United States on a budget of $1.25 million. The movie was a commercial success, although critics gave the movie mostly negative reviews. Retrospectively, the film has gained warmer reception and is now considered a cult classic.