â€œExpensiveâ€ is a relative term: Right since the invention of movies as a medium of entertainment, movies have been made for commercial gains. Speculation has been rife as to what is the most expensive film made till date. The word â€œexpensiveâ€ is a relative term. What is considered expensive today may not be so tomorrow? Hence every age has thrown up its own list of expensive movies.
Different eras have different yardsticks: Various factors go into determining the cost of a film. Inflation, improved filming techniques and technology and external market forces have made a significant impact on the economies of film production. No two eras can be similar. Films can be divided into two eras. The first era belongs to the silent movies with the movie â€œBen-Hur (1925)â€ being classified as the costliest movie ever made in that era. The record created by â€œBen-Hurâ€ lasted well into the sound era too. With the advent of television in the 1950s, the films of the 1950s and 1960s had to face serious competition.
Raising the bar: The highest grosser of 1963, â€œCleopatraâ€ actually did not recover its original costs. Such was the scenario at that time. With rising inflation, the bar rose steadily with â€œTrue Liesâ€ breaching the threshold of $100 million in 1994. This bar was very quickly raised by â€œThe Titanicâ€ (1997) which cost more than $200 million. It is a matter of coincidence that James Cameron was the director of both these path breaking films. Today this figure has become the par for the course. Any film costing less than $ 200 million is being frowned upon as being cheap.
The most expensive film made till date: Film producing is a costly affair and with the tremendous improvement in technology, the costs incurred are bound to rise. With the birth of the new millennium, there might not be any film which costs less than $200 million. This has become a sort of a benchmark now. Under such circumstances, the film â€œPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tidesâ€ (2011) takes the pride of place by being the most expensive film ever made with a budget of $ 378.50 million. This is followed by the third part in the same series â€œPirates of the Caribbean: At World’s Endâ€ (2007) budgeting $ 300 million. The high cost of production of films in today’s times is mainly due to inclusion of computer aided graphics which is a very expensive technology. This is as far as individual films are concerned.
There have been numerous instances of Back to Back films being made in Hollywood. If one takes this category into question â€œThe Hobbit trilogyâ€ holds the official record for being the most expensive back to back production with a combined cost of more than $ 623 million. This is not the ultimate as more and more films will be made in future which will definitely cost more.
Non â€“English Films: Usually when one uses the word Films, only Hollywood comes to mind. There are various other film industries in the world which make films in Non-English languages. When there is a talk about the expensive films being made, this section too deserves a mention. As per the official records, the French Film â€œAsterix at the Olympic Gamesâ€ (2008) takes the pole position with a budget of $ 113.50 million followed by the Chinese film â€œThe Flowers of Warâ€ (2011).
Whether the cost is actually worth it: The laws of economics demands that one should know as to whether the films mentioned above have recovered their costs of production or not. The Box office collection of the costliest film ever made has been estimated at $ 1.046 billion which means that this film has recovered more than twice its costs. The same can be said of the other films too.