Hollywood is always worried about that bottom line – they want to earn big bucks at the box office. And while there have been plenty of box office successes that were made on a shoestring budget, the movie industry seems to have faith in spending. Studios are banking on winning big by spending big. This is especially true with movies made in the past two decades. And when you think about the most expensive movies ever made, which do you think tops the list? Is it Avatar? Where do you think Marvel’s Avengers franchise sits? And we all know that we’ll find Captain Jack Sparrow on this list somewhere…
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince rounds out the top 10 of our most expensive films. It also earned a spot as the most expensive film in the Harry Potter series. At the time, the film had a production budget of $250 million, which would be an estimated $302 million today when adjusted for inflation.
Disney pulled out all the stops for their 50th animated feature film, which tells the story of Rapunzel. Tangled actually spent six years in production, racking up an estimated $260 million production budget. That looks more like $309 million today, thanks to inflation.
Justice League (2017)
2017 saw Justice League hit theaters despite the lackluster performance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. DC followed up with an even bigger budget, too. This one had a production budget of $300 million, which sits at $317 million when adjusted for inflation.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The final installment in Sam Raimi’s Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man trilogy didn’t come cheap. A massive amount of visual effects and too many villains probably helped drive up the budget, which was around $258 million at the time. When we adjust that for inflation, it would have cost $322 million to make today.
Titanic is the only other film on our list besides Waterworld that was made prior to 2000. When it came out in 1997, it had a production budget of $200 million. When adjusted for inflation, we’re actually looking at at least $322 million to make this movie.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This film, which cost $325 million to produce, comes in slightly higher at $335 million when adjusted for inflation. Plenty of that budget can be attributed to an A-list-filled ensemble cast, plus top-notch visual effects.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
With Avengers: Infinity War sitting at #5, it’s expected that we’d see the follow-up, Avengers: Endgame on this list, too. The 2019 superhero blockbuster had a $356 million production budget, which would cost even more – $360 million – if it was made today.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
At World’s End was more expensive than any other Pirates movie to produce. It had an estimated $300 million production budget then and would cost around $374 million today with adjustments for inflation.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
It’s hard to say why Age of Ultron is the most expensive Marvel movie. Sure, it features the same ensemble cast full of A-listers and special effects, but you’d think that the more ambitious Infinity War and Endgame would have been more expensive. Maybe all those visual effects got cheaper by the time Marvel made more movies? It cost $365 million to produce, which would be $399 million if it were made today. With all that money, it still wound up as the lowest-grossing Avengers film.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
The most expensive movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is also the priciest movie ever made. Released in 2011, this swashbuckling adventure had a $378.5 million production budget. After adjusting for inflation, it would cost an estimated $435 million to make it today.