The 30 Most Expensive Movies of All Time

Barbie - $151 million

The news of a live-action Barbie movie was initially not well received. And yet, when it was released in 2023, it wiped the floor with its competition.

The film, which starred Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, had a budget of $151 million. By the end of 2023 it had amassed $1.4 billion at the box-office.

Asterix at the Olympic Games - $162 million

Cartoon character Asterix is one of France’s most beloved pop culture icons. Created by writer René Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo, Asterix has had many screen outings in both live-action and cartoon form.

In 2008, the live-action Asterix at the Olympic Games arrived in cinemas. It made a mild profit off of its $162 million budget ($113 million in 2008), taking $132 million at the time, which with inflation equals $188 million.

Prometheus - $167 million

In 1979, director Ridley Scott terrified audiences with Alien, a film that was made for, what in today’s money would be $46 million. It was a very modest budget, and Scott made gold with every penny.

Flashforward to 2012 and Scott worked on Alien prequel Prometheus. This time around he had quadruple the cash with a whopping $167 million ($125 million unadjusted). Despite its larger budget, Prometheus lacked the same spark as the first film.

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn: Part - $174 million

The Twilight Saga made big bucks at the box-office. Come the final chapter of the story (which was split into two movies), the studio was willing to throw money at the production.

For Breaking Dawn Part 1, director Bill Condon had $174 million to play with. This is over triple the $53 million that Catherine Hardwicke had to make the first film with.

Monster Hunt 2 - $175 million

Whilst it is difficult for most international film industries to match the big-budgets of Hollywood, China has come close. In 2018 they released fantasy adventure sequel, Monster Hunt 2, made for $175 million.

From its budget, Monster Hunt 2 went on to generate a healthy $361 million at the box-office. However, the film did come under fire for allegedly tinkering with their figures.

Dune - $187 million

In 1984 David Lynch made his version of Dune for what, in today’s economy would be $133 million. It was a box-office disaster that ended with Lynch denouncing the film.

In 2021 Dennis Villeneuve attempted the same task. Villeneuve acquired an extra $50 million, and working with a budget of $187 million, created science-fiction greatness. Although in Lynch’s defence, Villeneuve’s film is only one half of the story.

The Irishman - $191 million

It isn’t just special effects heavy films that require a lot of money, dramas do too. Especially when those dramas have a runtime of over three hours.

For example, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman cost $191 million to create. In addition to the long runtime, the film ultilized digital de-ageing tricks to make Robert De Niro appear younger.

Cutthroat Island - $198 million

Cutthroat Island is one of the biggest box-office disasters in movie history. In inflation adjusted figures, the film made a loss of $147 million.

Spending what was $198 million on a pirate film in the nineties was exceptionally risky business, and sadly for all involved, it was one that did not pay off.

Inception - $226 million

Christopher Nolan is one of the most bankable directors working today. His ability to generate a profit means that studios are more than happy to hand over their cash to him.

Back in 2010 he was entrusted with $226 million to make the mind-melting Inception. The risk paid off with the film earning an impressive $839 million.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - $226 million

Back in 1991, $100 million was a lot of money. That works out to be around $226 million today and was the figure that James Cameron had to work with on Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Cameron used every cent to create one of the best sequels in cinema history. At the same time, with the T-1000, he revolutionized the world of special effects.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - $226 million

Luc Besson's Valerian adaptation currently holds the record for being the most expensive French film ever made, with a budget of $226 million.

After spending almost a quarter of a billion on its creation, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets just about broke even at the box-office.

The Battle at Lake Changjin - $227 million

China’s The Battle at Lake Changjin is the most expensive foreign language film ever made. Its budget of $227 million is a mighty amount for a film outside of the American studio system.

All those millions were needed as the film is a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, which took place during the Korean War.

Snow White and the Huntsman - $228 million

In 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, director Rupert Sanders attempted to re-invent the classic Snow White fairy-tale. Instead of the usual yarn, it was an action heavy fantasy film and placed Kirsten Stewart in the titular role.

In order to achieve his vision Sanders needed a lot of money and was granted $228 million. The film performed enough to get a sequel, but sadly Stewart, and Snow White, were dropped from the story.

Blade Runner 2049 - $232 million

Dennis Villeneuve had some big shoes to fill when he agreed to helm Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Fans need not have worried though as Villeneuve’s film was outstanding.

In order to create his science-fiction metropolis, Villeneuve had $232 million, over $100 million more than Ridley Scott had to work with in the original.

How to Train Your Dragon - $233 million

Compared to epic blockbuster films, it seems odd to think that animated movies would require much money. But getting all those pixels onto the screen is a long and pain-staking process.

Given the amount of time it takes to create one animation, the costs certainly spiral, for example, How to Train Your Dragon cost $233 million.

Tenet - $244 million

Tenet arrived in theaters in 2020, but failed to drum up much business. From its $244 million budget, it grossed only $365 million.

Tenet’s disappointing takings were a result of its pandemic release date. Were it to have waited until the world was safe, it might have achieved a sum closer to Christopher Nolan’s other movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 - $250 million

After its predecessor was made for $200 million, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 had a budget increase to $250 million. This rate is a fairly standard Marvel movie tariff, but James Gunn knows how to stretch a penny.

This final chapter in his trilogy about Marvel’s misfit heroes had everything that the fans were hoping for. A fitting end to some well loved characters, this one had fans weeping and cheering in equal measure.

Thor: Love and Thunder - $250 million

Another member of the Marvel machine made for a sweet $250 million is 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder. This one was less emotionally charged than James Gunn’s Guardian’s finale, but sure was fun.

With so much green screen used in its creation, the bulk of the budget would have gone into populating that backdrop. That, and lining the pockets of Guns n’ Roses; the band provided much of the soundtrack.

Wall-E - $257 million

In 2008, Pixar’s Wall-E had audiences falling in love with a trash cleaning robot with a limited vocabulary. As well as having a sweet story and timely message, the film looked gorgeous.

Set both on Earth, and in Outer Space, the animation in Wall-E is exemplary. To achieve these breath-taking sights, director Andrew Stanton had a budget of $257 million.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - $272 million

Typically it is the end segment of a trilogy that costs the most, but in the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy, it was the middle section that had the biggest budget.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had a budget of $272 million. Its higher cost is likely due to it being the most ‘ape heavy’ of the three film series.

Van Helsing - $277 million

After wowing audiences with his movie The Mummy, director Stephen Sommers was let loose with another character from Universal’s monsterverse - Van Helsing. The film starred Hugh Jackman and was an epic failure.

The tone was all over the place and the effects were laughable. Watching Van Helsing, it is hard to work out quite what Sommers spent the $277 million budget on.

Toy Story 3 - $282 million

It makes sense that Pixar’s most lucrative franchise is the one that gets showered with the most cash, and in 2010, Toy Story 3 was green-lit with a budget of $282 million.

The money was meant to help create one final reunion with Andy’s toys, Woody and Buzz, but proved so popular at the box-office, earning just over $1 billion, that a 4th film has been released since.

Tron Legacy - $282 million

Tron Legacy was the surprise sequel to the 1982 classic, Tron. Whereas that film had a budget of $17 million (or $54 million today), Tron Legacy had $170 million ($282 million if made today).

This extra money was vital as the film expands out the virtual element significantly. The brightly lit costumes and custom made bikes would have also contributed to the costs, not to mention all the effects work.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - $283 million

After the Star Wars series was revived with 2015's The Force Awakens, the franchise was taken in a bold new direction with 2016's Rogue One. A standalone prequel to the original 1977 film, director Gareth Edwards' film presented a considerably darker, harder-edged look at a galaxy far, far away.

Rogue One was dogged with bad publicity over reports of behind-the-scenes difficulty and allegations that Edwards was fired. Still, with box office takings of $1.058 billion, the sci-fi epic was a huge hit, and it needed to be: it cost Disney $232 million in 2016 - $283 million adjusted for inflation.

Man of Steel - $283 million

Since the turn of the millennium, superheroes have pretty much ruled the entertainment industry - and the big daddy of them all is Superman. Small wonder, then, that when Warner Bros/DC decided to bring him back with 2013's Man of Steel, they weren't doing things by halves.

Directed by Zack Snyder and giving Henry Cavill his big break in the title role, Man of Steel cost an already eye-watering $225 million at the time, which equates to $283 million in 2023 money. Good job the film earned $668 million at the global box office.

The Lone Ranger - $283 million

After the huge commercial success of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Disney had a great deal of faith in the dream team of director Gore Verbinski and actor Johnny Depp; so much that they invested a staggering $225 million ($283 million adjusted for inflation) in 2013's update of The Lone Ranger.

Many critics raised an eyebrow to see so much money being thrown at what was basically a western, a genre whose commercial appeal has declined massively since the 1970s. These doubts proved well-founded: the Lone Ranger wound up a colossal misfire, taking only $260.5 million at the box office and losing Disney between $201-$239 million.

Men in Black 3 - $288 million

After the success of both Men in Black and Men in Black II, Columbia Pictures were hoping for third time lucky. Unfortunately Men in Black III became a bitter disappointment.

Made for a staggering $288 million, Men in Black III made around $654 million. It’s not a bad amount, but its predecessors provided a much higher profit margin.

Terminator Salvation - $289 million

When inflation is taken into consideration, Terminator Salvation had a budget of $289 million. Of the six Terminator movies, this is the most money any director had had to play with.

Director McG tried to do something new with the franchise, setting it within the war between humanity and Skynet, but sadly the film was viewed as a confusing mess by the audience.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One - $291 million

Shot during the pandemic, and notorious for a leaked recording from the set of producer/lead actor Tom Cruise screaming at the crew for not following social distancing rules, the seventh entry in the Mission: Impossible series was always intended to up the ante on the films that came before it.

The third entry in the spy series to be directed by Christopher McQuarrie, 2023's Dead Reckoning Part One wound up costing $291 million to make. Alas, to the surprise of many it underperformed at the box office: its $567.5 million takings meant it roughly recouped its budget, but failed to turn much of a profit.

The Dark Knight Rises - $293 million

Director Christopher Nolan made a significant impact with his superhero reboot Batman Begins and its even-more acclaimed sequel The Dark Knight. On top of helping comic book films be taken more seriously, these films also established Nolan as one of the boldest, most intelligent filmmakers of modern times.

Based on this, studio Warner Bros splashed out in a big way on Nolan and leading man Christian Bale's final Bat-flick, 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. It cost $230 million, which equates to $293 million in 2023 money. It more than made its money back at the box office, earning $1.085 billion worldwide.

Maleficent - $294 million

The saying goes that everyone loves a villain, and Disney were prepared to back this with their bank balance when they began development of Maleficent.

The film offered a counter viewpoint to the classic Sleeping Beauty story, casting Angelina Jolie into the title role. Maleficent cost $294 million and saw a return of $758 million.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - $295 million

When Disney bought Lucasfilm, the first priority was reviving Star Wars - but Indiana Jones was always waiting in the wings. 2023 saw Harrison Ford reprise the adventuring archeologist one last time in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which cost an eye-popping $295 million to make.

Unfortunately for the filmmakers, audiences proved less interested than expected in seeing the 80-year-old Ford play action hero again - especially considering original series director Steven Spielberg bowed out, letting James Mangold take the helm. Earning just $384 million at the box office, it made a significant financial loss.

Superman Returns - $296 million

Seven years before Man of Steel, Warner Bros/DC made an earlier attempt at reviving the Superman franchise which didn't do as well as hoped. Director Bryan Singer jumped ship from the X-Men series to call the shots on 2006's Superman Returns, which introduced the unknown Brandon Routh as the last son of Krypton.

Superman Returns' handsome $204 million budget equates to $296 million in 2023 money - yet the film made only $391 million at the box office. It didn't help that the reviews were lukewarm, with most critics feeling the film was too beholden to the earlier Christopher Reeve films, particularly as Routh was a Reeve lookalike.

Robin Hood - $296 million

The tale of Robin Hood and his Merry Men has been told on-screen countless times, but never has it looked more expensive than in Ridley Scott’s 2010 movie.

Scott was given a budget of $296 million, which enabled him to recreate Sherwood Forest and Nottingham in all their former glory. Sadly, neither the box-office nor critics were kind to the project.

Cleopatra - $297 million

Before we start to think that movies with ridiculously overblown budgets are an exclusively modern phenomenon, we can scarcely forget about 1963's Cleopatra. An infamously troubled production, it was the most expensive film ever made at the time, costing studio 20th Century Fox a then-unprecedented $30 million - just shy of $300 million in 2023.

Fortunately for the studio and the filmmakers, this massive investment paid off. Cleopatra proved a critical and commercial smash, earning roughly $100 million worldwide at the box office. The film also holds a special place in Hollywood history thanks to the notoriously troubled off-screen romance of lead actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

The Little Mermaid - $297 million

A pattern that will continue throughout this list is just how much budget Disney have put behind some of their live-action interpretations of their classic animations.

Their most recent venture, The Little Mermaid, had a budget of $297 million. The film generated $570 million, but Disney were clearly hoping for more.

The Lion King (2019) - $298 million

Some may deride Disney's live action remakes of their animated favorites - but the studio keeps making them, as the resulting films keep earning them money. Of course, 2019's The Lion King can't exactly be called 'live action' as it's entirely CGI, but the photorealistic look makes it stand apart from the 1994 original.

Costing $260 million at the time, The Lion King's budget equates to $298 million adjusted for inflation. The reviews might have been mixed, but audiences still turned out in droves: earning $1.663 billion, it was the seventh highest-grossing film ever on release.

The Fate of the Furious - $298 million

It's actually pretty hard to believe that 2001's The Fast & the Furious, a $38 million-budgeted sleeper hit about street racers, wound up being the launchpad for a massive blockbuster action movie series which is still raging on more than twenty years later.

2017's eighth instalment The Fate of the Furious (the first entry made in the wake of original star Paul Walker's death) cost $250 million, which equals $298 million after inflation. Just as well it made a record-breaking $541.9 million on its opening weekend, and $1.236 billion by the end of its run.

Wild Wild West - $299 million

In the early 90s, Will Smith was known almost exclusively as rapper and sitcom star The Fresh Prince, but by the decade's end - after Bad Boys, Independence Day and Men in Black - he was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Everyone thought 1999's Wild Wild West would enjoy similar success.

Studio Warner Bros threw $170 million ($299 million adjusted for inflation) at the film, but with largely negative reviews and box office earnings of just $222.1 million, it was a major flop. Much of the cast and crew, including Smith himself, have since admitted they regret making the film.

Transformers: The Last Knight - $300 million

Michael Bay is the master of the high-budget blockbuster and never has his power been more potent than in the Transformers franchise. The first was fun, but the films that followed were a horrible mess.

Despite their disastrous plots, dialogue, and characters, the movies took significant chunks of money. When Bay was ready to make his fifth film, Transformers: The Last Knight, the studio happily handed over a crisp $300 million.

Spectre - $302 million

Daniel Craig's tenure in the role of James Bond 007 took the long-running spy franchise to new heights critically and commercially. After 2012's Skyfall became the first Bond movie to earn over $1 billion at the box office, they aimed even higher with 2015 follow-up Spectre.

The 24th Bond movie was the most expensive in series history at $245 million ($302 million in 2023 money). With global box office takings of $880.7 million, this investment more or less paid off for studios MGM and Sony, although many critics and fans considered the film a bit of a let-down.

Beauty and the Beast (2017) - $304 million

Another live-action take on one of Disney's beloved animated classics, 2017's Beauty and the Beast cast Harry Potter veteran Emma Watson as Belle, the ambitious young woman taken prisoner by Dan Stevens' ferocious Beast, between whom an unlikely romance eventually blooms.

Directed by Bill Condon, the film proved a big box office success with takings of $1.266 billion around the globe. This was just as well, as Disney had put a considerable chunk of change into the movie: $255 million, which equates to $304 million with inflation.

X-Men: The Last Stand - $305 million

2000's X-Men was the film that lit the fuse on the 21st century superhero movie boom. However, after director Bryan Singer returned for 2002's even more successful X2, he jumped ship on the third entry to instead make Superman Returns, leaving 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand to be directed by Brett Ratner.

Costing $210 million ($305 million adjusted for inflation), X-Men: The Last Stand didn't do too badly at the box office, its $460.4 million earnings making it the seventh biggest hit of 2006. Alas, fans and critics were very unhappy with the film, and subsequent time-travelling entries have written it out of the series chronology.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - $306 million

The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchises demonstrated that big-budget adaptations of kid-friendly fantasy novels could make mad coin. Hoping to have a similarly lucrative franchise of their own, Disney began adapting C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels, beginning with 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

After the first film earned a not-to-be-sniffed-at $745 million, Disney gave follow-up Prince Caspian a budget of $225 million ($306 million in 2023 money). Alas, it lost money after taking just $419.6 million at the box office. Third film The Voyage of the Dawn Treader would instead be made by 20th Century Fox.

The Golden Compass - $307 million

Whilst technically The Golden Compass was made for the more modest sum of $207 million, in today’s money that equates to $307 million, making it rather expensive.

Based on the book by Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass was meant to kick-start a franchise. A sad box-office performance however, cancelled that and the terrible CGI bear was put to rest.

Furious 7 - $309 million

2015's seventh entry in the Fast & Furious series was infamously struck by tragedy, when series stalwart Paul Walker tragically died in an unrelated car accident. Though some feared the film would sink, it wound up being the biggest hit of the franchise, and one of the highest-grossing films of all time on release.

Thanks in part to eleventh-hour reshoots and digital trickery to bring back Walker in the scenes he never got around to shooting, Furious 7 cost studio Universal $250 million ($309 million adjusted for inflation). Executives doubtless breathed a sigh of relief when the film earned $1.515 billion at the box office.

Spider-Man 2 - $310 million

2000's X-Men may have got the ball rolling, but 2002's Spider-Man was the film that really proved superheroes were here to stay. Earning $825 million at the box office, director Sam Raimi's film was the highest-earning comic book adaptation up to that point, so studio Sony banked big on the sequel.

2004's Spider-Man 2 was given a budget of $200 million ($310 million in 2023 money). While the film's box office takings of $789 million were marginally lower than its predecessor, fans and critics warmly embraced the film, and Spidey has barely left the big screen since.

King Kong (2005) - $310 million

The phenomenal success of The Lord of the Rings more or less gave director Peter Jackson carte blanche on his follow-up project. Studio Universal greenlit the New Zealand Oscar-winner's 2005 remake of classic monster movie King Kong with an absolute monster of a budget.

Jackson's CGI-heavy take on the iconic giant ape cost $207 million in 2005 money, equal to $310 million today. Earning $562.9 million, it wasn't quite as big a hit as hoped, and still divides opinion: many feel it was overlong at 188 minutes, but others argue it's an undervalued blockbuster classic.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - $316 million

2016's Rogue One might have launched the 'A Star Wars Story' offshoot of the space opera franchise, but 2018's Solo killed that subcategory off quick. A infamously troubled production, original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were fired four months into production, and replacement director Ron Howard reportedly reshot most of the film from scratch.

Once it hit screens, $271 million ($316 million in 2023) had been spent on Solo - which then proved the biggest flop in Star Wars history, making just $393.2 million. Many commentators blamed franchise fatigue, as the film arrived barely five months after the similarly divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - $321 million

If anything could have 'surefire box office blockbuster' written all over it, it was a movie in which Batman and Superman met up and did battle. The two iconic DC superheroes were brought together in live action for the first time in director Zack Snyder's 2016 follow-up to Man of Steel, with Henry Cavill returning.

Introducing Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was expected to launch a cinematic universe to rival Marvel. However, after Warner Bros spent $263 million ($321 million adjusted) on it, the film's $873.6 million earnings were less than expected - and the critical reaction was scathing.

Avatar - $323 million

It's just as well that Avatar wound up becoming the highest grossing film in global box office history. If this hadn't happened, writer-director James Cameron's epic sci-fi fantasy might have left studio 20th Century Fox licking their wounds, considering how much it cost them.

Cameron's highly detailed CGI and motion capture vision set Fox back $237 million, equal to $323 million in 2023 money. It proved a good investment though, given that the film went on to earn a truly unprecedented $2.923 billion worldwide, marking the second time a Cameron movie had broken the all-time box office record.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - $327 million

Many doubted that a movie based on a Disney theme park ride, starring an actor with no history doing blockbusters, would prove successful. However, 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was an acclaimed hit that earned $654.3 million, giving Disney faith that they had a major franchise on their hands.

2006 sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (shot back-to-back with third film At World's End) was made for the princely sum of $225 million, which equates to $327 million in 2023 money. Disney top brass were doubtless relieved when, despite mixed reviews, the film earned $1.066 billion at the box office.

Waterworld - $330 million

1995's Waterworld is a title that lives in infamy. Directed by Kevin Reynolds and produced by leading man Kevin Costner, the ambitious post-apocalyptic action adventure was unwisely shot at sea for real, resulting in production issues that pushed them way behind schedule and massively over-budget.

Originally greenlit at $100 million, Waterworld wound up costing studio Universal $172 million - which, adjusted for inflation, equates to $330 million today. Notoriously it was met with bad reviews and massively underperformed on release, although in more recent years some have re-appraised the film as a worthy blockbuster epic.

John Carter - $336 million

First published between 1912 and 1948, Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars novels massively influenced 20th century sci-fi fantasy. Alas, when the film adaptation of first novel A Princess of Mars finally hit screens in 2012, it made history for all the wrong reasons.

Originally intended to launch a franchise, director Andrew Stanton's film cost Disney a staggering $264 million ($336 million adjusted for inflation) - yet despite some strong reviews, it flopped. Earning just $284.1 million in box office returns, the film ultimately lost Disney somewhere between $143-$255 million - the most money any film has lost to date.

Fast X - $340 million

At one point, the plan was for the Fast & Furious series to reach a conclusion on the tenth instalment. Instead, 2023's Fast X was presented as the first chapter in a two-part narrative that may (or may not) bring the long-running franchise to the end of the road.

After the significant coin earned from the earlier entries, Universal sunk a meaty $340 million budget into the turbo-charged action sequel. Alas, based on the film's lukewarm critical reception and box office receipts totalling a comparatively meager $714.1 million, the Fast & Furious series may now be running on fumes.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $341 million

Even the most diehard Potterheads generally agree that sixth instalment Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (both the film, and the novel from which it is adapted) is - one key death notwithstanding - the most disposable, forgettable entry in the series. It's surprising, then, that it wound up being the most expensive Potter film.

Somehow, the 2009 film from director David Yates wound up costing studio Warner Bros $250 million ($341 million adjusted for inflation). Happily for all concerned, it more than made its money back, ultimately earning $934.5 million at the box office.

Tangled - $349 million

Before Tangled hit screens, Disney Animation wasn't in the best shape. It was only in 2010 that the famous mouse's filmmakers hit upon a way to combine the studio's traditional fairytale aesthetic with cutting edge CGI animation and a more modern approach to storytelling.

Originally entitled Rapunzel, the film took six years to make at a reported cost of $260 million ($349 million adjusted for inflation), making it the most expensive animated film of all time. It earned $592.5 million at the box office, and - perhaps most significantly - paved the way for the even more successful Frozen.

Avatar: The Way of Water - $350 million

Never one to do things by halves, James Cameron decided against making a single Avatar sequel, choosing instead do four at once. Yes, Avatar: The Way of Water is the second in what is planned to be an Avatar pentology. Originally planned to open December 2021, it was delayed by a year due to the pandemic.

Utilising new, groundbreaking CGI/mo-cap techniques involving water, 2022's second Avatar movie carried a $350 million price tag for 20th Century Studios (as they were renamed after being acquired by Disney). It then earned $2.32 billion worldwide, making it the third highest-grossing film of all time, behind Avengers: Infinity War and - of course - Avatar itself.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - $358 million

2017's second instalment in Disney's Star Wars sequel trilogy saw writer-director Rian Johnson take the helm, with Mark Hamill returning in earnest in his signature role of Luke Skywalker. To say that the resulting film left audiences divided would be like comparing travelling through hyperspace to dusting crops.

Budgeted at a staggering $300 million ($358 million in 2023 money), Star Wars: The Last Jedi performed handsomely at the box office, its $1.334 billion earnings making it the ninth highest-earning film ever on release. Sadly, the toxic fan backlash wound up having a deep, lasting impact on the franchise.

Justice League - $358 million

Another film synonymous with the words 'troubled production,' Justice League had a very difficult journey to the big screen. It was initially directed by Zack Snyder, who was pressured by the studio to deliver something more Marvel-esque. Synder then dropped out due to a family tragedy, to be replaced by Avengers director Joss Whedon.

Whedon proceeded to rewrite/reshoot vast swathes of the film at huge expense, and the barely coherent mess that finally made it to screens in November 2017 had cost Warner Bros a reported $300 million ($358 million adjusted). Critically lambasted and only a modest hit, Justice League sounded the death knell for the conneced DC movie universe.

Spider-Man 3 - $364 million

After the critical and commercial success of the first two Spider-Man movies, everyone was hoping for something similarly great from the third instalment. With this in mind, Sony granted the filmmakers a mighty $258 million budget - $364 million adjusted for inflation.

Commercially, this paid off: earning $895 million, it was the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie to date. However, Spider-Man 3 was quickly lambasted for its patchy storytelling and often bizarre tone, and is now most notorious for black-suited Tobey Maguire's disco dancing. Plans for a fourth film were soon abandoned in favor of reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.

Titanic - $365 million

It's that man again... James Cameron's 1997 historical disaster epic Titanic was such a large-scale production, it required the backing of two studios - 20th Century Fox and Paramount - and if it had failed at the box office, it would have seriously impacted both.

Costing $200 million ($365 million in 2023 money), Titanic was the most expensive film ever made at the time - so it was fortuitous that, to the surprise of many at the time, it became the biggest box office hit ever. Its $2.257 billion record wouldn't be broken until Cameron's Avatar 12 years later.

Avengers: Infinity War - $379 million

Having started out as an experiment many thought was doomed to fail, the Marvel Cinematic Universe wound up reshaping the landscape of blockbuster cinema - and it reached a pinnacle with 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, the biggest film in the series in which pretty much the entire superhero universe teams up against supervillain Thanos.

The film from directors Joe and Anthony Russo was always intended to be one of the biggest movies ever, so a huge budget was - like Thanos himself - inevitable. It cost $325 million ($379 million adjusted for inflation), and went on to become the fourth highest-grossing film ever on release, taking $2.052 billion.

Avengers: Endgame - $407 million

Naturally, only one Marvel movie could be bigger than Avengers: Infinity War - and that's the 2019 follow-up Avengers: Endgame, which picked up from the 2018 film's shockingly bleak ending to see the surviving heroes re-assemble and take the fight back to Thanos.

Costing $356 million ($407 million adjusted for inflation), Avengers: Endgame wound up earning a monumental $2.799 billion, just barely overtaking Avatar as the biggest box office hit in history. Then, of course, Avatar was briefly re-released in Asia, and the resulting box office grosses saw it reclaim the crown. How unsportsmanlike!

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $423 million

For years, studios shied away from making pirate movies due to how expensive they were, and how often they lost money. However, once the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise proved to be enormously profitable, Disney had no qualms about sinking (so to speak) huge sums into the blockbuster franchise.

Initially posited as the final entry in the series, 2007's third instalment Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End carried a price tag of $300 million, equal to $423 million in 2023 (and the most expensive film ever at the time). Critics weren't sold, but audiences turned out to the tune of $963.4 million.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - $451 million

Wait, what? Avengers: Endgame wasn't the most expensive Marvel movie after all? Yes, as surprising as it may seem, the second Avengers movie - the one that barely anyone remembers anymore - is the one that wound up costing the most money to make.

Writer-director Joss Whedon's second and last Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron cost $365 million, which equates to $451 million in 2023 money. The 2015 film wound up becoming the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time with box office takings of $1.403 billion, but it's not generally considered an MCU highlight today.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - $476 million

After Rian Johnson made the most divisive entry in the Star Wars saga in 2017's The Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams said "hold my beer" and directed 2019's trilogy closer The Rise of Skywalker. Reflective of the film's galaxy-conquering ambition, it had a budget of galactic proportions.

Episode IX in the Star Wars series (and the franchise's eleventh live action theatrical release overall) cost $416 million, which is $476 million in 2023 money. It earned $1.077 billion, but was met with an intensely mixed response from critics and fans, prompting Lucasfilm to slam the brakes on any further Star Wars movies.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - $492 million

After a five-year hiatus, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise returned to screens in 2011 with a new director in Rob Marshall, and most of the original ensemble absent outside of Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush. Nonetheless, it still proved a massive hit, and carried a suitably massive price tag.

With a supporting cast including Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides cost studio Disney $379 million - $492 million in 2023 money - and wound up the second-highest earning film of the franchise with takings of $1.046 billion.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - $503 million

On release, 2015's Jurassic Park legacy sequel Jurassic World wound up the third highest-grossing film of all time. Naturally, this inspired confidence from studio Universal, who sank an even bigger chunk of change into its 2018 sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Director J.A. Bayona's film had an eye-watering budget of $432 million, which equates to $503 million in 2023 money. It made its money back, earning $1.310 billion at the box office, although a lot of fans and critics felt the film itself was a disappointment.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - $552 million

The Star Wars franchise was triumphantly brought back to life with 2015's The Force Awakens. Picking up three decades after the events of the original trilogy, director J.J. Abrams' film introduced a whole new ensemble of interstellar heroes, alongside the core players from George Lucas' films.

It's no exaggeration to say Disney were banking big on The Force Awakens being a hit, as they gave it the biggest budget in film history: $447 million, which adjusted for inflation equates to $552 million. Fortunately, Star Wars Episode VII became the third highest-grossing film ever on release, with earnings of $2.071 billion.