Every living filmmaker wants to have a film that goes on to make a fortune at the box office even when its cost of production is minimal. It may be a dream scenario, agreed, but it is a rare phenomenon, especially in the case of films with relatively small budgets. There have been quite a few ventures in the history of cinema, however, that prove that blockbusters do not actually require an astronomical budget to resonate with the audience.
Here is a list of five such films that succeeded in becoming massive blockbusters at the box office despite their low budgets:
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Box Office: $30,000,000
The initial budget of the film, Night of the Living Dead was about $6,000, which was inadequate. Eventually, the film found investors and a sum of $114,000 was raised. The film, despite being criticized for gore, earned around $12 million in the American box office after its release. It was later translated into more than 25 languages and released across Canada and Europe, making an additional $18 million.
American Graffiti (1973)
Box Office: $140,000,000
It was Francis Ford Coppola who challenged George Lucas to write a script that would appeal to the mainstream audience. Embracing the idea, Lucas used his teenage experiences to make a semi-autobiographical film. American Graffiti went on to become a money-spinner and even earned five Academy Award nominations.
Box Office: $225,000,000
This film, written by Sylvester Stallone, was made in a budget of just over a million and shot over a period of 4 weeks. It earned $225,000,000 globally, making it the highest-grossing film of 1976. It also won three Oscars.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Box Office: $59,000,000
Friday the 13th was released in the United States and across Europe. It may have received negative reviews from critics initially, however, it grossed approximately $40 million in the US alone. In the years that followed, the film received positive retrospective reviews.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Box Office: $193,000,000
Paranormal Activity was shot in the director Oren Peli's house over a period of seven days in a budget of $15,000. The film, originally developed as an independent feature, was later acquired by Paramount Pictures and modified. It became a massive hit because of clever marketing tactics.