When it comes to making movies, one of the biggest obstacles is having enough money to bring a vision of movie magic to life. A lot of creative thinking, cutting corners and compromising comes into play, but these films found a way to keep cost low and cash in big at the box office!

Napoleon Dynamite

From the rural town of Preston, Idaho, comes Napoleon Dynamite. With a red 'fro, his moon boots and illegal government ninja moves, he is a new kind of hero. His family consists of fragile brother Kip, who's seeking his soulmate in online chat rooms; Uncle Rico, who is stuck in his "glory" days of high school football; and Grandma, who enjoys going out to the dunes on her quad-runner. Napoleon spends his days drawing magical beasts ...read more »
The story of an awkward teen who runs for class president was given a budget of $400K, and won by a landslide at the box office, pulling in $46 million dollars.
Lost In Translation

Bob Harris and Charlotte are two Americans in Tokyo. Bob is a movie star in town to shoot a whiskey commercial, while Charlotte is a young woman tagging along with her workaholic photographer husband. Unable to sleep, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. This chance meeting soon becomes a surprising friendship. Charlotte and Bob venture through Tokyo, having often hilarious encounters with its citizens, and ...read more »
Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson brought the story of a washed up actor and a neglected young wife's unlikely friendship in Tokyo to life in this $4 million dollar movie.  It proved to be a resounding success, making$120 million worldwide.
The Blair Witch Project

Three film students venture out into the woods to uncover a local mystery about a supposed witch.
This $60K horror movie was groundbreaking for not only being one of the first films to ever go viral, but also smashing box office records with a staggering $248 million in earnings. 


A small-time boxer gets the chance of a lifetime to fight the heavy-weight champion.
Sylvester Stallone's passion project about an underdog boxer was given just under a million to make ($995k to be exact), and packed a punch when it hit theaters, making $225 million


A teenage girl makes difficult decisions when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
This funny and heartwarming story of teen pregnancy recouped the $7.5 million budget 30 times over with box office earnings of $231 million

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Toula Portokalos' family from the suburbs of Chicago promotes exactly three traditional values - "Marry a Greek boy, have Greek babies, and feed everyone." From an early age, she is mortified by their patriotic 'over-the-top' ways. When she falls in love with Ian, a WASPy non-Greek, Toula struggles to get her family to accept her eager fiance while she herself comes to terms with her heritage, her cultural identity, and their ...read more »
$5 million dollar investment to make My Big Fat Greek Wedding turned into a global smash, raking in $368 million worldwide.
The King's Speech

With the help of an unconventional speech therapist, future King of England George VI overcomes his lifelong, crippling stammer, which allows him to make a crucial radio speech to his countrymen as they face their entry into World War II..
This Best Picture Oscar winning film went from a humble $15 millionbudget beginning to a $414 million box office success.
Friday The 13th

A new owner and several counselors gather to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, where a young boy drowned and several vicious murders occurred years earlier. One by one they find out how unlucky Friday the 13th can be as they are stalked by a violent killer.
It cost a mere $550k to tell the story of camp counselors being stalked and killed while reopening a summer camp, but the real killing was when it hit theaters and earned $59.7 million

Little Miss Sunshine

No one among the Hoovers quite has it together, but it's not for lack of trying. Father Richard, a hopelessly optimistic motivational speaker, is desperately attempting to sell his 9-step program for success--without much success. Meanwhile, the Hoovers' "pro-honesty" mother Sheryl is constantly harried by her family's eccentric secrets, especially those of her brother, a suicidal Proust scholar fresh out of the hospital after being ...read more »
This cross country family road trip to a beauty pageant cost $8 million to make and won big time at the box office, bringing in $100 million dollars. 

The trials and tribulations of a New Jersey convenience store clerk and his best friend, a video store employee.
This low budget $27k comedy brought out big laughs and a big return with over $3 million in sales at the box office. 

Slumdog Millionaire

Jamal Malik is just one question away from winning a fortune on India's version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, the police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much?
With a $15 million dollar budget, the story of a young man recounting pivotal life events that lead to his success on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, blew away the box office with $377 million in earnings.
American Graffiti

Cruising the streets, eating at diners and listening to music is just some of the cultural life of the class of 1962.
George Lucas' major movie directorial debut cost $777k to make and went on to become a Hollywood classic, earning 5 Oscar nominations and over $140 million at the box office.
Mad Max

Max Rockatansky is a motorcycle policeman in the near future who is tired of his job. Since the apocalypse, the lengthy, desolate stretches of highway in the Australian outback have become bloodstained battlegrounds. Max has seen too many innocents and fellow officers murdered by the bomb's savage offspring, bestial marauding bikers for whom killing, rape, and looting is a way of life. He just wants to retire and spend time with his ...read more »
For twenty years, Mad Max held the Guinness World Record for highest profit-to-cost movie ever, with a $300k budget and bringing in $99.75 million at the box office. 

Source: hollywood.com 


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