Hollywood has come a long way from its black and white, silent picture beginnings, and each decade of advancement and improvement of film technologies has also seen film budgets rise to even greater proportions. With 2020 still three years away, the 2010’s have proved one of the most expensive decades in the history of film production.
Making a feature film is a massive undertaking, with equipment and props, sets and locations, myriad audio and visual staff, actors, marketing, and other aspects requiring larger and larger investment to match audience demands for greater cinematic spectacles. These three movies, all released within the past decade, have so far managed to top the list as the most expensive films of all time.
3. John Carter
Based on a popular book series by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, this science fiction adventure from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures follows the adventures of the titular character on the planet Mars. Released in 2012, the film boasted cutting edge special effects and numerous big name cast members, including legend Willem Dafoe, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, and young up-and-comer Taylor Kitsch.
Despite Disney’s best efforts, the movie was plagued with many scenes requiring reshooting, making filming take much longer than expected. Furthermore, post-production involved the addition of more than 2,000 visual effects, further elevating the cost. Once the cost of marketing was factored in, the films budget expanded well beyond 300 million dollars. Despite all of this, the filmed failed to perform at the box office, so Disney didn’t even manage to break even.
2.Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel is renowned for its big-budget productions, and this 2015 offering was no exception. This sequel to 2012’s Avengers film boasted an even higher budget than its blockbuster predecessor, and for good reason. Age of Ultronfeatured extensive CGI and special effects for its over-the-top action sequences, an all-star case, and filming locations across the globe. While principle shooting was done in England, the film also featured scenes shot in Italy, Bangladesh, New York City, and South Korea. With Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. in starring roles and a huge marketing campaign as well, it’s no wonder the films budget nearly reached 331 million dollars. However, Ultron went on to earn 1.4 billion at the box office, more than earning back its investment.
1.Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Starring Hollywood A-listers Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, this fourth entry into the Pirates franchise broke records with its 410 million-dollar budget. With roughly 1,200 computer generated sequences and state-of-the-art 3D technology, Stranger Tides was a landmark example of special effects, and its massive budget reflects this. The movie earned over 1 billion dollars at the box office, more than delivering a return on the studio’s investment. The film was so popular that Disney has opted to develop further entries into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, with its latest addition being released to massive success in 2017.
Robert Gillings is known as a award winning writer, producer, and actor in New York.