14 Movies With Low Budget That Earned Eye-Popping Amounts at the Box Office

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Some films have been a huge success in the cinema thanks to their special effects, incredible budgets or their star cast. But there are also other films that managed to attract the attention of the audience with less means, low budgets and unknown actors.

Therefore, we have compiled a list of low budget films that have been critically acclaimed and have blown up the box office and they also brought millions to their creators as a bonus. We invite you to join us reviewing these movies.

Dirty Dancing

DIRTY DANCING, Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, 1987. (c) Artisan Entertainment/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Budget: $6 million

Box Office: $214.6 million

IMDb Score: 7.0

This film is considered a classic of the 80s. It tells the story of a teenage girl named Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman who falls in love with her dance teacher Johnny Castle. It should be added that Johnny is from the working class and that he organizes small parties after work.

The film was only produced for an estimated $6 million, but it made over $214 million in profits. If you’re a fan of the film, we have a surprise for you: a new version of Dirty Dancing will be released, with the participation of Jennifer Grey and under the direction of Jonathan Levine.

Mad Max (1979)

Budget: $350.000

Box Office: $100 million

IMDb Score: 7.0

On the deserted highways of Australia, a merciless war pits outlaw bikers against interceptor cops, causing dramatic and spectacular accidents. Whoever, Max Rockatansky a police officer was the main character of the movie.

With a modest budget of $350,000, the film managed to rake in over $100 million worldwide and produce three additional installments – Mad Max 2: The Challenge (1981), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). An interesting tidbit is that George Miller, the director, managed to finance much of the film’s production by working as an emergency room doctor.

The Breakfast Club

Budget: $1 million

Box Office: $51.5 million

IMDb Score: 7.8

Five high school students who didn’t know each other until they met on a Saturday morning in their school’s library, each having received “detention.” There is Brian, the introverted and complexed gifted, John, the teenager in revolt, Andy, the high school jock, Claire, the young girl from a good home, and Allison, the more delirious. Little by little, the masks come off and the real personalities are revealed.

Open Water

Budget: $500.000

Box Office: $55.5 million

IMDb Score: 5.7

Two excellent divers Susan and Daniel decide to go on vacation to the Bahamas. They sign up for an outing on the coral reef. But because there are many divers, and the crew is not paying attention, the boat leaves without them. Susan and Daniel find themselves alone, lost in the middle of the ocean, in shark-infested waters.

This movie cost $500,000 to make, less than half the sound effects budget of a major Hollywood film. In addition, the producers spent nearly half of that to ensure that the actors were safe while surrounded by sharks. But it was worth it, as it grossed over $55 million.

Rocky (1976)

Budget: $1.1 million

Box Office: $225 million

IMDb Score: 8.1

Because of the film’s limited budget, just over $1 million, some of Sylvester Stallone’s family members were forced to play supporting roles. His father rings the bell at the beginning and end of each round, his brother plays a street singer and his first wife, Sasha, plays the photographer. Still, Rocky won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and generated over $225 million in profits.

Good Will Hunting

Budget: $10 million

Box Office: $225.9 million

IMDb Score: 8.3

Will Hunting is a true genius but also a rebel with unpredictable impulses. He lives with a group of friends and spends his time in bars looking for a fight. It was then that his prodigious mathematical gifts attracted the attention of Professor Lambeau of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Played by Matt Damon and Robin Williams, this film managed to generate more than 225 million dollars. An astronomical sum compared to the initial budget which was only 10 million. In 1998, it received nine Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

Fruitvale Station

Budget: $900.000

Box Office: $17.4 million

IMDb Score: 7.5

Oscar Grant, 22, is a black American living in the San Francisco area. He is the loving father of a four year old girl and the not so faithful companion of Sophina. He was a marijuana dealer who spent a few months behind bars, and he is looking for a way to get back on the right track as the New Year approaches.

Saw (2004)

Budget: $1.2 million

Box Office: $103.9 million

IMDb Score: 7.6

The script for the film was written in 2001 as a pitch card for directors James Wan and Leigh Whannell who were trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood. They filmed a low-budget short based on a scene from the film and it managed to attract the attention of Evolution Entertainment. As a result, the production company gave them 1 million dollars to make it. In the end, it was very successful and made over $103 million.

Lost in Translation

Budget: $4 million

Box Office: $118.7 million

IMDb Score: 7.7

Bob Harris is an American actor whose career seems to be running out of steam. He goes to Tokyo to shoot a commercial, not only to earn money but also to get away from his wife. On location, he has a hard time getting used to the city and spends most of his time in his luxury hotel. There, he meets Charlotte, a young American woman who has just graduated and has come to accompany her photographer husband, John.

Get Out

Budget: $4.5 million

Box Office: $255.4 million

IMDb Score: 7.7

Now that Chris and his girlfriend Rose are going to meet their respective parents, she invites him to her family’s vacation home for a weekend. At first Chris understands that Rose’s family’s somewhat strange behavior is related to the fact that he is black and she is white. However, he discovers that the truth is much more disturbing.

Halloween (1978)

Budget: $325.000

Box Office: $70 million

IMDb Score: 7.7

The night of Halloween 1963. The young Michael Myers rushes into his older sister’s room and stabs her savagely. After his act, Michael closes himself in silence and is interned in a psychiatric hospital. Fifteen years later, he escapes from the hospital and returns to the scene of his crime. He then attacks the town’s teenagers.

The Blair Witch Project

Budget: $200.000

Box Office: $248.6 million

IMDb Score: 6.5

On October 21, 1994, three film students Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams went to the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to shoot a documentary about the Blair Witch. One year later, their videotape is found but they are still missing.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Budget: $15.000

Box Office: $193.4 million

IMDb Score: 6.3

A young couple moves into a house in the suburbs. Happiness gives way to terror when they have to fend off the attacks of a demonic spirit every night. So they decide to record themselves every night during their sleep to see what’s happening.

Napoleon Dynamite

Budget: $400.000

Box Office: $46.1 million

IMDb Score: 6.9

Napoleon Dynamite lives at his grandmother’s with Kip, his 32-year-old older brother who spends his time chatting on the Internet. He befriends Pedro, a new Mexican student. Napoleon urges his new friend to run for school and campaign with him against the most popular girl. They meet Deb while trying to find a girl to ask to the school dance.