The average cost of a Hollywood film was almost $64 million in 2004, nearly double the average cost from a decade earlier, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. But many films cost much more–the 25 we feature on our list of Hollywood’s Most Expensive Films averaged $182.9 million in production costs. And that average doesn’t account for marketing expenses, which can easily reach nine figures for a big release.
Yet despite the high costs, most of these films were ultimately successful. Foreign box office, DVD-sales and merchandising can do wonders for a film that grosses poorly in the U.S. Among the films on our list, only The 13th Warrior, an epic 1999 flop starring Antonio Banderas, didn’t report a worldwide gross that was higher than its production costs.
To determine which Hollywood flicks had the biggest budgets of all, we turned to www.boxofficemojo.com. The Burbank, Calif.-based online box-office tracker provided us with production budget estimates. Unfortunately, reported marketing budgets are far less reliable, which forced us to exclude these figures altogether.