2017 is shaping up to be quite a year for new film releases. We’ve already gone gaga for La La Land, are guaranteed to be going ape this summer, and will no doubt choose life over washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers after watching T2.
With movie stars notorious for getting paid the big bucks, film shoots taking place all around the world and production years in the making, it’s certainly not cheap to make a global cinema hit. We took a look back at a few blockbuster classics and their budgets from years gone by.
James Bond – Spectre – $350m
The 26th Bond film, released in 2015, was the most expensive ever made, surpassing second placed Quantum of Solace by over $120m. Bond blockbusters are famed for their action-packed and death-defying stunts, so it will be of no surprise that £24m worth of specially-designed Aston Martins were destroyed during the filming of Spectre.
Lord of the Rings – $280m
The critically-acclaimed adventure trilogy racked up a total bill of $280m, surprisingly dwarfed by the $450m combined total of The Hobbit series. The Middle Earth quest took eight years to film with all three blockbusters filmed simultaneously in New Zealand.
Tangled – $260m
Tipped as one of the most expensive animated films ever made, the Disney fairy-tale based on the story of Rapunzel, took six years to make at a cost of $260m. Why did it take so long and cost so much? This was largely down to extensive research and development of 3D CGI techniques to reflect a ‘painterly look’.
Avatar – $237m
The reported official budget for the iconic sci-fi fantasy was $237m but with Hollywood notoriously secretive about how much cash they splash, there are rumours that production cost more in the region of $500m. Avatar pioneered new film technology in achieving director James Cameron’s vision of sci-fi reality, with production teams developing the very software used to make the visuals possible.
Titanic – $200m
1997’s tear-jerking epic about the famous ship coming to a disastrous, icy end racked up an eye watering $200m bill. The movie pushed the boundaries of pre-millennium special effects with the latest in digital technology, miniature sets and over five million gallons of water being used.
Inception – $160m
The dream-based thriller starring Oscar-winning Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) cost a fairly modest, in Hollywood terms at least, $160m. The cast and crew travelled extensively to make the film with scenes taking place in six countries on four different continents.
Jurassic Park – $63m
Steven Spielberg’s dino-adventure, based on the books of the same name, is said to have started a new era in cinema. The combined use of never seen before CGI technology, using robots and puppets, created a realistic experience of what it would have been like at the world-famous and rather scary Isla Nublar Theme Park.
Pulp Fiction – $8.5m
Arguably Tarrantino’s most-loved and most-quoted 90’s masterpiece about mobsters, small-time criminals and a mysterious briefcase had a relatively small budget of $8.5m. It was one of the most influential films of its time, reviving the careers of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson and firmly putting Uma Thurman on the A-list map.
Dirty Dancing – $6m
The all singing, all (dirty) dancing romantic classic turns 30 this year. Produced by a newly- formed studio, with no major stars, it had a tiny budget of $6m. Since becoming an all-time soppy favourite for many, it has certainly earned its money back with a worldwide gross profit just shy of $214m.
Trainspotting – £1.5m
With the sequel (T2) to this hard-hitting black comedy drama now in cinemas worldwide, the original was made in only 35 days with a budget of just £1.5m. Many scenes were one shot takes, captured in a disused tobacco factory in Glasgow. The gritty storyline and raw acting led the film to become a true icon of British cinema, earning £48m at the box office in the process.
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We look back at a few blockbuster classics and their budgets from years gone by.