10 Insanely Profitable Low Budget Films



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 sleezeeballs, 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).

Comments (11)

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  1. change the Halloween pic… the remake did nowhere near that on that budget.

  2. Chris Howardsays:

    Also change the El Meriachi pic, Banderas was only in the Sequels.

  3. Kamp gumesonsays:

    The Blair Witch budget was 60,000 not 600,000

    1. Alex Lowesays:

      It was originally rumored to be very low, but then by the time there were reshoots and a new sound mix (and other costs) the total ended up being way higher. Still super low budget for how much money it made though.

  4. Halloween – *preying* on their fears. 😛

  5. Chrissays:

    Great work, Al

  6. Angus Toorabitterssays:

    You left one out – probably for pretty good reasons. “Deep Throat” cost US$23,000 and made US$1.5 BILLION, almost all of it purloined by crime syndicates. Still, a profit is a profit, regardless of where it goes and it’s going to be hard to beat a profit to investment return of 6,520,000%

  7. blahsays:

    What about Paranormal Activity?

  8. Ona Damsays:

    Where’s Evil Dead?

  9. Paulsays:

    Glen Hansard was in the Commitments, where the cast were also chosen for musical ability rather than acting ability. still, you only get to say the “no acting experience” thing once..

  10. DoubleUKsays:

    What about ‘The Gallows’? Budget US$100,000 / revenue (as of today) US$ 30,760,000 (worldwide)

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