Sure, the big box office hits earn millions of dollars of profit for their respective production studios but how do they compare to the most profitable movies based on return on investment? Are the gigantic returns doing justice to the huge budgets of these movies?
Now that Hollywood has become a plethora of sequels and superhero movies, with increasing budgets and vigorous marketing, numbers from the box office have become more important than ever. This is a turn for the worst if you ask me. The art is no more as important as it used to be because (almost) everyone has a commercial motive. Then again, studios may not be to blame for this. Viewers these days tend to go for movies with more special effects, more technology and just something that looks highly expensive. To attain that, movies spend large amounts of money making it imperative for them to earn bigger bucks than ever before, which obviously has a negative impact on their percentage of profit.
I mean, if we look at absolute profit figures, the most profitable movie is (drum roll!) Avatar with an estimated profit of an astounding $1.27 billion! But the thing is Avatar also has a notoriously gargantuan production budget, in fact, according to The Numbers, it’s the highest budget movie in Hollywood. So in comparison to a budget of $450 million, the profit does not seem too impressive. In other words, its return on investment isn’t as high as the movies we have on our list which ranks flicks based on the proportion of profit to budget. Even if we look at the matter from the flip side, return on investment is highly important. Look at Mars Needs Moms, a huge nightmare for its studio even though it managed to gross $39 million at the box office. Now that figure might be a breath of fresh air for a small time studio but with a budget of approximately $170 million, it is actually the least profitable movie ever, once you deduct retail and similar costs. Same goes for John Carter, the movie that is on every list of high budget movies but ended up being one of the least profitable movies ever, even with hundreds of millions of box office gross. Talk about embarrassing box office bombs.
Speaking of budgets, they are sometimes very hard to estimate, as often studios try to mislead the media by giving unrealistically high or morbidly low figures. Let’s take Avatar as an example again. Some sources assert that James Cameron’s unique Na’vi world cost $237 million dollars to produce, while others think the number is as high as $500 million. Obviously, we cannot know for sure how much green was spent on Avatar, but according to our sources, Fox contributed the $237 million while approximately $200 million came from Cameron’s own production company.
Similarly, profits are sneaky to calculate too, in fact even more so than budgets, which is why our list should be treated with a little caution. The return on investment of the movies on our list has been calculated as a ratio of profit to the budget of the movie. All these specifics have been extracted from The Numbers, where they clearly explain how the figures have been calculated.
Shockingly, most of the movies on our list are not recent at all. In fact, when we searched on Google for most profitable movie 2017, as result we got the compelling thriller Get Out. The movie did not even make it to our list of most profitable movies based on return on investment. A flick from 2016 did though. Can you guess which spot acquired the movie we got when typed most profitable movie 2016? Guess you will have to read through to find out! Once you do, you will find that a variety of genres have managed to squirm their way into the list, but horror flicks definitely stand out. You will probably spot a few movies from our list of 11 most successful horror movie franchises of all time as well.
You might find a few musicals here too, which is unsurprising. I mean, who doesn’t like good music to go with a mesmerizing script? I know I do and if you’re like me you will find our piece on the 10 most famous, beautiful piano songs from movies highly interesting.
Another thing to note is that we have included only Hollywood flicks in our list which is unfortunate for Bollywood fans, but let me tell you, Bollywood has had its fair share of profits. Look at Aashiqui 2 for instance, which according to MyMoviesRack has a profit percentage of 612%, making it the most profitable movie in India.
A movie junkie like me can probably talk about facts like these forever, so let’s put an end to that and get on with the 16 most profitable movies based on return on investment.