Every year, movies are continually one-upping each other in an attempt to be the biggest film of the year. Most achieve this through popular actors, more elaborate scenes, better scripts, and creative marketing. Plus, it feels as though movies are constantly growing larger in scope. It’s important to note that many studios do not include their marketing costs along with their production costs. This means that it’s possible for a studio to spend more on marketing than they do on production.


1. Pirates of the Caribbean

At the top of the most expensive films is the fourth installment of the Pirates franchise: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. With a staggering cost of $410.6 million, it should have been a struggle for the film to earn its money back. However, the film earned a worldwide box office gross of over a billion dollars, easily surpassing its costs. In terms of where most of the money went, visual effects took the largest chunk. Additionally, sources state that lead actor Johnny Depp took home around $55 million for his role of Jack Sparrow, while a production staff of 895 people earned roughly $18 million. The third installment in the franchise Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the third most expensive film and had a cost of $362 million.

johnny depp pirates Ken Ishii / Getty Images


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