When it comes to movies, it’s not always the ones with the biggest budgets that end up being the most successful at the box office. In fact, some of the most financially successful films in history were made on relatively small budgets compared to their blockbuster counterparts.
These films prove that with a compelling story and a talented cast and crew, achieving massive success at the box office with a limited budget is possible. While these films may not have had lavish production budgets, it couldn’t stop them from doing great at the box office and making more than a billion dollars worldwide.
10/10 Frozen Had A Budget Of $150 Million
Box Office: $1.3 Billion
The animated movie Frozen was made on a budget of $150 million, which has now become a modest budget for a Disney animated movie. Fans had high hopes for Frozen, but it’s safe to say that the film surpassed all expectations, as it became a global phenomenon. Frozen made more than $1.3 billion and became the highest-grossing animated movie at the time.
Frozen follows the story of Elsa and Anna as they navigate their relationship and the challenges they face, which was well-received by audiences and critics alike. Fans of all ages fell in love with the characters and Frozen‘s themes of love, family, and self-acceptance.
9/10 Frozen II Had A Budget Of $150 Million
Box Office: $1.45 Billion
After the huge success of the first film, Frozen 2 had a budget similar to its predecessor. However, the sequel surpassed the first movie at the box office by making a sum of around $1.45 billion. Frozen 2 picked up right where Frozen left off and managed to garner praise from fans and critics alike.
Frozen 2 is the second-highest-grossing animated movie after The Lion King, which was also released in 2019. The fact that both Frozen movies managed to gross more than a billion dollars worldwide proves how groundbreaking the story of familial love was for a Disney film and how iconic Anna and Elsa have become.
8/10 Jurassic World Cost $150 Million
Box Office: $1.671 Billion
Releasing 14 years after the previous Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World had the difficult task of adding to an already lengthy franchise. Luckily, many fans agree that Jurassic World is one of the best movies in the Jurassic Park franchise. It was made on a budget of $150 million and quickly became the third-highest-grossing movie at the time.
The cast gave incredible performances in Jurassic World, with viewers particularly praising Chris Pratt for his work. Jurassic World is the cheapest movie of the modern trilogy but earned the most, grossing $1.671 billion.
7/10 Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone Cost $125 Million
Box Office: $1.017 Billion
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the beginning of a global phenomenon and one of the biggest fantasy series of all time. The first Harry Potter film follows the titular young wizard as he enrolls in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, befriends Ron and Hermione, finds out more about Voldemort, and tries to find the Philosopher’s Stone.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was made on a budget of $125 million and became the second-highest grossing movie of all time upon its release. The film grossed just a little north over the billion dollar mark, a feat that would only be replicated in the Wizarding World by the last Harry Potter movie.
6/10 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Had A Budget Of $115 Million
Box Office: Over $1 Billion
Fans were more than excited when they learned about Star Wars’ return in the late ’90s. The timeless saga was set to return with the prequel trilogy, which was to be led by the villain of the original trilogy. Due to the hype that surrounded The Phantom Menace, fans and critics expected it to be a success.
The Phantom Menace had a budget of $115 million, and it became the world’s second highest-grossing movie behind Titanic. In 2012, a re-release of The Phantom Menace earned another $102.7 million, which allowed the film to reach the billion dollar mark.
5/10 Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King Had A Budget Of $94 Million
Box Office: $1.146 Billion
Nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King managed to win each one of them. Based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King was the third and final installment in Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy series. Given the fantasy franchise’s popularity, it was no surprise that Return of the King was successful.
From Sam carrying Frodo up to the mountain to Aragorn finally taking the charge of Gondor, Return of the King was full of iconic moments and scenes. Made on a budget of $94 million, Return of the King made more than $1.14 billion. The film is still remembered for how epic it was.
4/10 Despicable Me 3 Cost $80 Million
Box Office: $1.035 Billion
Despicable Me 3 is the fourth entry in the overall Despicable Me franchise, and it is the second movie besides The Minions to earn more than a billion dollars. Although Despicable Me 3 was praised for its voice cast, story, and animation, the film failed to meet the standards set by the other movies in the franchise.
As a result, Despicable Me 3 received mixed reviews from critics. Nevertheless, the film still managed to do great at the box office, earning over a billion dollars on an $80 million budget.
3/10 Minions Cost $74 Million
Box Office: $1.159 Billion
Due to the minions’ popularity after appearing in Despicable Me, fans were excited to see the little yellow creatures lead a prequel movie. However, 2015’s Minions failed to meet expectations and received mixed reviews for its somewhat inappropriate humor. Nonetheless, Minions received praise for its animation and story where the small characters prove why they are so popular.
Made on a budget of $74 million, Minions is the highest-grossing movie in the Despicable Me franchise, having grossed around $1.159 billion. Minions is one of the highest grossing Universal Studios movies ever.
2/10 Jurassic Park Had A Budget Of $63 Million
Box Office: $1.046 Billion
After the huge success of Star Wars and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park then graced the big screens to further prove why sci-fi films are so good. Jurassic Park did this in the most explosive way possible. Upon its release, the movie became the highest-grossing movie ever against a budget of $63 million.
At the time of its release, Jurassic Park fell short of the billion dollar mark. However, it eventually reached the milestone thanks to a theatrical re-release on its 20th anniversary. With another fantastic film to his name, Steven Spielberg proved yet again why he is one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema.
1/10 The Origin Story Of The Joker Had A Budget Of $55 Million
Box Office: $1.074 Billion
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker changed the narrative of the titular character completely. The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime and works as an origin story for the villain. The psychological thriller was made on a relatively small budget of $55 million. Set in Gotham City in the 1980s, Joker explores the life and mental health of Arthur Fleck and his transformation into one of DC’s most iconic characters, the Joker.
Joker was a critical and commercial success, with Phoenix’s performance receiving widespread acclaim. Not only it is the least expensive movie to have made more than a billion dollars, but it is also the first-ever R-rated movie to reach this milestone.
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