16 of the Most Expensive Movies of all Time

Buttery popcorn and extra-large cokes, boxed candy and two hours of pure uninterrupted bliss will forever be considered magical thanks to the wonder of Hollywood’s silver screen. From relaxing with friends to date nights, movies create ways for us to bond with friends and family while sharing laughter and stories. In fact, good movies are not only enjoyable, they are quotable and memorable, forever transporting us into the movie itself as a brief getaway from reality.

The movie scene is incredible as A-list Hollywood stars are cast into the biggest blockbusters of the year, not to mention the outstanding talent of writers, directors and production crews who make the movie itself truly remarkable. This silver screen success, however, is also a huge gamble because so much is at stake from the right casting to the special effects. One poor choice and the movie could flop to new levels, forever embedded into movie critic reviews as the suckiest movie of the season!

Big gambles, however, often bring great reward! With movies today running well into the millions to create, producers take a huge leap of faith that moviegoers will support the latest releases on the silver screen. We found 16 movie favorites that are actually the most expensive movies of all time. Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy our list!

#16 – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger’s Tide


At a whopping $378.5 million, the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides holds the record for having the biggest movie budget of not only the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series but of all time. The fourth installment of the series held nothing back when it came to costumes, set design and special effects. While we have no doubt that Captain Jack Sparrow earned much of this treasure, we still can’t quite figure out why is the rum gone?

#15 – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End


Debuting in 2007, the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, At World’s End, was considered, at the time, the most expensive budget at a stunning $300 million. Filled with action and adventure, the film was a huge risk for producers after incredible success from the first two films. Thankfully, the gamble paid off as movie goers flocked to theaters around the world, bringing in over $3 million in ticket sales in the first week alone.

#14 – The Avengers: Age of Ultron


The recently released fan favorite and Hollywood hit, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, had a budget estimated at almost $280 million. With an incredible edge in the entertainment industry, Marvel knows how to rock the box office with its incredible hits. Movie trivia buffs will enjoy the fact that Scarlett Johansson, the Black Widow, was actually pregnant at the time of filming. As if the movie’s success wasn’t enough, bigwig Stan Lee has claimed that his cameo in this movie has been his all-time favorite. As even Stan Lee’s favorite, we can’t help but agree!

#13 – John Carter


Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the 2012 release of John Carter received an array of mixed reviews from critics who either loved it or hated it. With a massive budget of $263.7 million, the movie only grossed about $73 million in the United States. This epic flop actually led to the resignation of Walt Disney Studio head, Rich Ross, and the cancellation of the sequel, which was already in the works. Despite the reviews and poor sales, the film actually won several awards so someone must have liked it!

#12 – Tangled

5. Tangled

Before Frozen was ever conceived and the lyrics of “Let It Go” was ever put to a melody, little girls around the world hit replay on Tangled, the story of Rapunzel with a surprising twist! The 3D animated film had a budget of $260 million and featured the voices of Mandy Moore and Chuck’s Zachary Levi. As little girls dreamed of having long hair and living in towers, the movie earned an incredible $591 million. Who doesn’t love a Disney princess movie? If not, just let it go already…

#11 – Spider-Man 3

6. Spider-Man 3

Comic books have always been prime entertainment but, recently, they have taken Hollywood by storm transforming the adventures of heroes to the silver screen. Spiderman 3 earned its place as one of the most expensive movies of all time with a $258 million budget. As little boys and grown men alike flocked to see the latest adventures of the superhero, famed director Sam Raimi and leading hero, Tobey Maguire, were thrilled as the movie grossed almost $337 million in the box office.

#10 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

British-produced films rarely make it big among American audiences but, the Harry Potter franchise happily proved the industry and critics wrong. Beginning as a widely loved book series, there was little question that the books would eventually make it to the big screen. With widespread success throughout the movies and people lining up early to ensure a ticket, it is no surprise that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince broke the record in having the biggest budget at $250 million. Now that’s some true Hollywood magic.

#9 – The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies

8. The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies

With many successful movie series on our list, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies follows suit with big budget and big success. In this fantasy packed adventure series, critics and audiences alike praised the film for its exquisite effects, costumes and script. As many moviegoers opted for return tickets for a second round of enjoyment, the box office erupted with over $995 million in worldwide sales. With a budget of $250 million, this grand hit was undoubtedly a huge payoff!

#8 – Avatar

9. Avatar

Praised as one of the most memorable movies of all time, Avatar was an instant success that left critics and fans talking for quite some time. In an action-packed adventure where good meets evil and survival is at the heart of the action, the talented James Cameron took a huge risk that proved to be extremely worthwhile. With a budget of $237 million, the first movie ever shot with a 3D camera earned huge success with over $2.7 billion earned in the box office and a collection of Academy Awards.

#7 – The Dark Knight Rises


Batman has long been considered one of the greatest superheroes of all time with his dark demeanor and good intentions to save the planet. In a modern take on the superhero’s story, The Dark Knight Rises took Batman success to a new level as fans flocked to see their favorite masked crusader in action. With a budget of $230 million, the film was an epic success and earned a stunning $1 billion in sales across the world.

#6 – The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian

11. The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian

Considered one of the most successful movie franchises, The Chronicles of Narnia launched into silver screen success with a wide following thanks to its popular book series by C. S. Lewis. Considered classic children’s fantasy, who could disagree with the success of the movie? With a budget of $225 million for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the adventure-filled film features gorgeous sets and remarkable affects, making it no surprise why even the movies are a great success!.

#5 – The Lone Ranger

12. The Lone Ranger

Based on a popular radio series of the 1930s featuring a masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws alongside his Native American friend, Tonto, it’s no surprise that the radio show was transformed into a series of books and eventually broke over into the silver screen. The Lone Ranger had a budget of $225 million and earned outstanding praise from critics and fans despite a few grumblings about its length. With two Academy Award nominations and Johnny Depp at the film’s center, we can’t help but sing the praises of this Texas avenger and his friend!

#4 – Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest

13. Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest

It’s no surprise that another Pirates of the Caribbean movie debuts on our list. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was another incredible box office hit that led many Depp and Pirates fans to make plans around the movie’s premiere. Like the others in the series, the film’s action-packed scenes, special effects and wry humor have ensured its permanent place on our list of Top Favorites! Again, why exactly is the rum gone?

#3 – Man of Steel

14. Man of Steel

As we near the end of our list, there seems to be a recurring theme for movies with large budgets: superhero status. Another superhero movie joins the list as Man of Steel premiered in 2013 with a $225 million budget. Despite several versions of Man of Steel being made, this film’s success was directly a reflection of new casting and realistic movie effects. With Henry Cavill as the new Superman, fans and critics praised the modern take on the comic book classic.

#2 – The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug

15. The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug

It is no surprise that every film in The Hobbit series was produced with a big budget and, rightly so, because of the incredible effects and casting that make for a truly stunning and unforgettable movie. With a remarkable franchise following, the second installation of the three-part series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, earned great praise and success. With the budget set at $225 million, the series easily raked in almost a billion dollars in box office sales.

#1 – The Avengers

16. The Avengers

Marvel’s series, The Avengers, brings together six of the greatest superheroes of the series in a battle against good and evil. The first film in The Avengers series proved to be a box office hit, allowing the producers the freedom and creativity to take the second movie to even greater success. The Avengers: The Age of Ultron had a $279.9 million budget and attracted Marvel fans around the world. With six superheroes, action, adventure and endless special effects, it’s no doubt that this box office hit easily earned over $1 billion sales.