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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 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.


Budget – $27,000

Worldwide Gross -$3,894,240

Return – 7,112%

The history around Clerks has passed into film folklore, the stories of its production are infamous and Kevin Smith’s effort to claw just over $27,000 for his production costs are legendary. The foul-mouthed comedy flick rode off the back of films such as Richard Linklater’s Slacker and achieved a cult status for its endlessly quotable dialogue and lovably dour characters.

Smith intelligently played with what he had: he worked at the Quick Stop where the film is set but could only shoot at night while the store was closed, requiring a plot point for the film where the shutters would be jammed so not to show the nighttime outside. It has all the hallmarks of a classic no-budget film.

Its success perhaps lies in the fact that even today Clerks is a hilariously funny, often the dialogue is so shocking that it is funny. The infantile, bitter, vitriolic dialogue is something every spurned no-hoper male can identify with and Clerks remains the high point of Smith’s varied and uneven career.

About the author

Alexander Lowe