Filmmakers can bring practically any scenario to life on screen with the right budget. The most expensive movies of all time cost more to produce than many films can ever hope to earn at the box office. Sometimes, those investments pay off. In other cases, they lead to disappointment for the filmmakers and the studio.
According to NerdWallet, these are some of the biggest gambles Hollywood has ever taken. Even adjusted for inflation, most of the titles on this list of the most expensive movies were released in the last two decades.
At the top of the roundup is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Adjusted for inflation, the fourth Pirates film cost $422 million to make—a number that hasn't been surpassed since its release in 2011. The movie didn't out-earn any of the films in the original trilogy, but it did make its money back with an international box office gross exceeding $1 billion.
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise also claims the third most expensive movie ever made, with 2007's At World's End costing $362 million adjusted. The remaining slots in the top five are occupied by Marvel's Avengers movies, with Age of Ultron (2015) taking the second spot, Endgame (2019) filling the fourth spot, and Infinity War (2018) coming in fifth. The only movie on this list made before 2000 is James Cameron's Titanic (1997), which would have cost $312 million if it were made today.
You can read the full list of the 10 most expensive movies ever made below, with their (adjusted for inflation) budgets. To see which big-budget films had the most abysmal box office runs, check out the list of the biggest flops ever here.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) // $422 million
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) // $386 million
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) // $362 million
- Avengers: Endgame (2019) // $356 million
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018) // $316 million
- Titanic (1997) // $312 million
- Spider-Man 3 (2007) // $312 million
- Justice League (2017) // $307 million
- Tangled (2010) // $299 million
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) // $292 million