The 25 Most Expensive Movies Ever Made!

Filmmakers can earn a living on film with the correct budget in virtually every circumstance. The costliest films ever produced cost more than many pictures at a box office could ever have expected to generate. These investments sometimes pay dividends. In other circumstances, the filmmakers and the studio are disappointed. These are some of Hollywood’s most expensive movies ever made. Most of the titles on this list of the most costly films have been released in the past two decades, although adjusted for inflation.

At the top of the roundup is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Adjusted for inflation, the fourth Pirates film cost $422 million to make—a number that hasn’t been surpassed since its release in 2011. The movie didn’t out-earn any of the films in the original trilogy, but it did make its money back with an international box office gross exceeding $1 billion.

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise also claims the second most expensive movie ever made, with 2007’s At World’s End costing $362 million. The remaining slots in the top five are occupied by teenage movie Titanic, filling the third spot, Spider-Man 3, filling the fourth spot, and Tangled coming in fifth. The only movies on this list made before 2000 are James Cameron’s Titanic (1997), Cleopatra (1963), Wild Wild West(1999), and Waterworld (1995) which would have cost $312 million if it were made today.

You can read the full list of the 25 most expensive movies ever made below, with their budgets and box office collection.

25. Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is an American superhero film, produced by Marvel Studios and released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics character Iron Man. The picture, which was the second-highest in 2013 and the seventeenth-largest in 2013, was a box office hit with a global sum of over 1.2 billion dollars. At the time it was also the fifth-largest picture ever, while its opening weekend was the sixth-highest.

Production Companies:Marvel Studios
IMDb Rating:7.1
Box Office:$1.215B

24. Superman Returns 

In a plot by Singer, Harris, and Dougherty based on Superman from DC Comics, Superman Returns was a 2006 American superhero film, directed by Bryan Singer, written by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. Warner Bros. Pictures engaged Bryan Singer to direct and develop Superman Returns in July 2004 following a succession of fruitless initiatives to resuscitate Superman in cinema following the cruel and financial disaster of The Quest for Peace.

Production Companies:Legendary Pictures, DC Comics
IMDb Rating:6
Box Office:$477M

23. Cleopatra 

Cleopatra is an American epic historical drama, directed in 1963 by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with a film adapted from Carlo Maria Franzero and The Life and Times of Cleopatra in 1957, and from the legends of Plutarch, Suetonius and Appius by Ranald MacDougall and Sidney Buchman. In its creation, the 60s film became famous for its large costs and production difficulties, including changes in director and cast, a change in locals that had to be built twice.

Production Companies:Twentieth Century – Fox Film Corporation
IMDb Rating:7
Box Office:$460M

22. Wild Wild West 

Wild Wild West is a comedy film made in 1999 by Jon Peters and co-produced by Barry Sonnenfield. The business of Wild Wild West was disappointed at just 108.3 million USD, for a total global of 222.1 million US Dollars. Wild Wild West was a letdown. The film was nominated for 8 Razzies and won five at the 20th Golden Raspberry Awards.

Production Companies:Warner Bros Pictures
IMDb Rating:4.9
Box Office:$325M

21. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 American epic space opera film, co-produced and made by J. J. Abrams, which was also known for Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. The picture shattered several records and became at the time of its release the highest size of the franchise, the most high size movie in the US and Canada, the highest size movie in 2015, and the third highest score in the world with a worldwide size of more than 2 billion dollars and a net profit of over $780 million.

Production Companies:Lucasfilm Ltd.
IMDb Rating:7.9
Box Office:$2.106B

20. Spectre 

Apart from shaking his martini, James Bond apparently enjoys a huge film budget as well. Due to the sheer structure of the series, directors must develop their set pieces more precisely. Producers, in turn (after marketing costs), were told that they had to spend $896 million at the box offices to break up. Only one Bond film was ever produced at that period, Skyfall. The spectrum grew globally by over 880 million dollars, which makes the series Skyfall the sixth largest picture in 2015 and the second greatest unadjusted total.

Production Companies:Eon Productions
IMDb Rating:6.8
Box Office:$896M

19. X-Men: The Last Stand 

X-Men: The Last Stand is a 2006 superhero film based on the X-Men Superhero team featured in Marvel Comics that is also available as X3 or X-Mens 3. It was the 7th largest picture in 2006 and was at the time the highest-grossing picture in the series and now the 4th-highest picture in the franchise, accounting for almost 459 million dollars worldwide.

Production Companies:Marvel Entertainment
IMDb Rating:6.7
Box Office:$561M

18. The Fate of the Furious 

The Fate of the Furious is an Action Thriller film by Chris Morgan, directed by F. Gary Gray in 2017. The picture rose globally by more than $1.2 billion, making it the 19th (and the second franchise, following Furious 7) picture, the second-largest picture in 2017, and the 11th-largest ever film. It also increased globally by $541.9 million over its first weekend, making it the world’s biggest opening until the release of Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

Production Companies:Original Films
IMDb Rating:6.6
Box Office:$1.238B

17. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, adapted by the second chronological novel in the C.S. Lewis’ epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, was co-authored in 2008 with Andrew Adamson, and was directed by Andrew Adamson, Prince Caspian (1951). It is the second in The Chronicles of Narnia film series from Walden Media, following The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). At the box office, this was a moderately successful $55 million over the opening weekend. It had grown global by over $480 million towards the conclusion of its theatrical run. In 2008, this film was the world’s 10th-highest film.

Production Companies:Walt Disney Pictures
IMDb Rating:6.5
Box Office:$480M

16. Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: the Civil War is an American 2016 film based on the Captain America character of Marvel Comics, produced by the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and distributed by Marvel Studios. The movie was an essential and economic triumph that spanned over $1.1 billion globally and was honored by the performances, action scenes, script and concepts (especially Evans and Downey). It was made the highest film in 2016 and the 12th biggest picture ever.

Production Companies:Marvel Studios
IMDb Rating:7.8
Box Office:$1.153B

15. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an American film based on the characters Batman and Superman. In its second weekend, the picture endured a historic decline after a spectacular launch that established new records for its box office and never recovered. Despite profit, it was considered disappointing in the box office and earned generally bad reviewers’ evaluations on it’s sound, storyline and timing, but some commended her visual flair and performances.

Production Companies:Warner Bros. Pictures
IMDb Rating:6.4
Box Office:$873M

14. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is an epic high fantasy film produced by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro, directed by Peter Jackson in 2014. The film is the second largest picture of 2014, with mixed critical reviews, totaling more than $998 million globally (behind Transformers: Age of Extinction). The film was nominated for Best Sound Editing at the 87th Academy Awards.

Production Companies:New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, WingNut Films
IMDb Rating:7.4
Box Office:$998M

13. King Kong 

King Kong is a 2005 American monster adventure film co-written and directed by Peter Jackson in 2005 . Thanks to Lord of the Rings, Jackson’s wonderful take on the classical ’30s initially had a $150 million budget, but it grew more and more. It was not a rare thing to expand the costs. Kong itself spent most of the money. In addition, King Kong became far more than Universal had expected, and the additional budget was raised by a third (primarily because of the specific effects needed for a persuasive 25-foot computer generated gorilla).

Production Companies:WingNut Films
IMDb Rating:7.2
Box Office:$689M

12. Spider-Man 2 

Sam Raimi’s Superhero 2004 American film was Spider-Man 2. It was well recognised and achieved a worldwide $1.01 billion in critical praise, making it the year’s third-highest picture. It was also nominated for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing at the 77th Academy Honors, and it got five awards at the Saturn Awards, including Best Fantasy Film and Best Raimi Director. 

Production Companies:Columbia Pictures, Marvel EnterprisesWingNut Films
IMDb Rating:7.3
Box Office:$1.014B

11. Avatar 

Film studios want to be clever in terms of their accountants to minimise their taxes — the more the expenditure, the smaller the taxes. Nothing else, we are talking about 2009’s Avatar production. After 12 years of directorial development, Cameron made an all-out step into the third dimension, contracting WETA for special effects and adopting super-sleek 3D which elevated the medium to the next level.

Production Companies:20th Century Fox
IMDb Rating:7.8
Box Office:$3.204B

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is an American Swashbuckler 2006 fantasy film. This is the second installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and the sequel to the Caribbean pirates: The Black Pearl Curse (2003). The picture smashed multiple records at the time, among them the United States’ opening weekend record of 136 million dollars, the quickest picture to make over 1 billion dollars in the World Box Office (63 days), became the highest grossing film of 2006, and was Disney’s top film.

Production Companies:Walt Disney Pictures
IMDb Rating:7.3
Box Office:$1.302B

9. Waterworld 

Waterworld is a post-Apocalyptic American 1995, film co-written by Peter Rader and David Twohy directed by Kevin Reynolds. Waterworld was then the most costly film ever produced and received mixed reviews, which praised the futuristic location and idea, but also criticized the execution and the performers.

Production Companies:Gordon Company, Davis Entertainment
IMDb Rating:6.2
Box Office:$423M

8. John Carter 

John Carter is an American film made by Andrew Stanton in science fiction in 2012. The movie bombed in the box office in North America, but established a record in Russia on the opening day. The $284 million in the world’s box office, which made Disney one of the largest box office flops in history, 200 million dollars down. It’s one of the most costly films ever produced and has a total cost of $350 million, including an estimated production budget of $275 million.

Production Companies:Walt Disney Pictures
IMDb Rating:7.6
Box Office:$305M

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The fact that the Half-Blood Prince was the most expensive of the Harry Potter series isn’t surprising as Warner Bros. was prepared to pay up as much as they needed to get the Harry Potter books to the big screen. It was the less favored picture made by fans and critics alike, but rumor has it that director Yates first did some very creative stuff with the picture before forcing it to scale it down into post-production, so that fanatical HP fans couldn’t become angry.

Production Companies:Warner Bros Pictures
IMDb Rating:7.6
Box Office:$1.073B

6. Avengers: Age of Ultron 

Avengers: Age of Ultron is about Tony Stark, who is using Bruce Banner to construct an artificial intelligence system called Ultron. When Ultron plans to wipe the human species away, the Avengers stop him. The budget of of Age Of Ultron ballooned after the cast threatened to quit if their contractual demands (read: money) weren’t met, so Marvel had some serious work cut out for them if they wanted all the big names back on board for the Avengers sequel – all of whom were reportedly looking for $5 million on the table and a cut of the post-release profits.

Production Companies:Marvel Studios
IMDb Rating:7.3
Box Office:$1.431B

5. Tangled 

Tangled is a Walt Disney Animation Studios 2010 American 3D computer-animated music adventure film published by Walt Disney Pictures. It’s been so expensive to get the tale correctly, especially because it takes time. It took roughly 10 years for the movies to be aborted, each quite a long way before they dismantled everything and started again. Much of the expense covered the makeover of previously tentatively created Rapunzel films dating back to 2000.

Production Companies:Warner Bros Pictures
IMDb Rating:7.7
Box Office:$669M

4. Spider-Man 3

The 2007 American super hero Spider-Man 3 is based on Spider-Man, a character from Marvel Comics. It was directed by Raimi, his older brother Ivan and Alvin Sargent, and was screen played by Raimi. The film was made the world’s highest-broken film of the trilogy, the third-highest brand picture in 2007 and the highest-broken Spider-Man movie until Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. The film amounted to $1.05 billion worldwide. Spider-Man 3 got mixed critical reviews which were later linked to studio influence and artistic conflicts between Sony, Raimi and Arade, unlike previous films.

Production Companies:Columbia Pictures
IMDb Rating:6.2
Box Office:$1.058B

3. Titanic 

Titanic is an American epic romance, catastrophe film made in 1997 by James Cameron. The cost of building the Titanic set was between $120 million and $150 million (in 1997 dollars). You could feel rubbed with anything other than the “ship of dreams” for this amount of money. Do you remember the great staircase sequence in which water crashes as Rose and Jack struggle to escape? The set and equipment were so enormously expensive to create that there was no space for mistakes. It had just one shot.

Production Companies:20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures
IMDb Rating:7.7
Box Office:$3.142B

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the 2007 epic American Swashbuckler Film, directed by Gore Verbinski, the third in the Caribbean film series Pirates and Dead Man’s Chest sequel (2006). There were mixed critical reviews, it was commended for their performances, directing, musical score, action, humour and special effects, but were condemned for their 168-minute story, character development and extended term duration. However, the highest record of the 2007 World’s End was more than $1 billion at the end of the year.

Production Companies:Walt Disney Pictures
IMDb Rating:7.1
Box Office:$1.144B

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a 2011 U.S. fantasy swashbuckler, fourth in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and an independent follow-up to At the world’s end (2007). In the United States, Stranger Tides was published on 20 May 2011. This was the third biggest picture of 2011. The picture shattered several major box office records. It’s fifth film, titled Dead Men Tell No Tales, was released in May 2017, and a sixth film is in development.

Production Companies:Walt Disney Pictures
IMDb Rating:6.6
Box Office:$1.149B


Filmmaking is not for heart weakness or for pockets weakness. After all, box office smashing blocks don’t come cheap; large-screen films tend to have the most expensive costs. They don’t always appear to be the greatest one has ever created and the quality of the film sometimes looks invariable. However, you have probably watched at least half of the films on the theatre list as all the movies mentioned above are the costliest ever made dramas in Hollywood.

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