Putting a very small amount of money into a project and then milking it for far more than you ever dreamed imaginable, if that isn’t the American dream, then I don’t know what is. For as much as Hollywood executives are bashed for being money grubbing sleazeballs, many of them really want to make quality movies. The problem is, if the movie is quality, but no one goes to see it, you won’t be in a position to make movies for too long.
The beauty of low budget films is they come with barely any risk. Sure, there’s a few hundred thousand that may be lost, but it’s not nearly as much of an investment as a summer blockbuster action flick. The majority of low budget films are not very good, I’d be lying if I tried to convince you otherwise, but occasionally, some small movie makes it big, proving that money doesn’t equal quality and the result is a whole lot of dollars for the people that fronted the original change.
For this article I worked with fellow writer Will Chadwick to compile a list 10 of the most profitable low budget films. On the following pages you’ll find the films’ budgets, box office profits, and a bit about why they work.
The producers behind these things are rolling in their minimal investment in ways they probably never even imagined when they started. Whether it be through luck or because the film is actually pretty dang good, a following was developed and tickets were sold.
What you may take from this article is that found footage horror films are the best get rich quick plan cinema has to offer, but there are some other genres and quality films represented here as well. So read on to learn where the best return on investment can be found.
(For the purposes of this list I’ve defined low budget as anything under $1 million. The budgets listed are production budgets).