10 low-budget movies that won box office gold

Movies like Paranormal activity and The Blair Witch Project are iconic in horror and supernatural film genres. These films did not receive a lot of money for their filming and production, but they still came out triumphant at the box office.

RELATED: The Evil Dead And 9 Other Great Horror Movies On A Budget

With so many low budget films produced and distributed within the film industry, there is sometimes the misconception that these films might be of lower quality or not do well at the box office. However, these are just a few of the movies that have proven their budgets wrong and ultimately won big prizes, with numbers taken from Mojo ticket office.

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Mad Max (1979) – Budget $ 200,000 / $ 100 million at the box office


Mel Gibson in Mad Max (1979)

The first film in the franchise, Mad Max was released in 1979 worldwide. The film, starring Mel Gibson and the late Hugh Keays-Byrne, was an action thriller set in a warring dystopian future.

Upon its release, the film received mixed reviews and was even banned in Sweden and several other countries, only being available in the premiere in 2005. Despite being a widely criticized film , he grossed over $ 100 million worldwide on a budget of $ 200,000. .

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Budget $ 60,000 / Box Office $ 248.6 million


Close-up of a Frightened Heather in The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is an independent supernatural horror film about three film students who go missing while making a documentary in the forests of Maryland about a local witch legend.


RELATED: The 10 Best Quotes From The Blair Witch Project

The film grossed $ 248.6 million worldwide on a budget of just $ 60,000. He was the first to use the marketing strategy of promoting a fictional film as a true story. Since its release, The Blair Witch Project solidified in the world of supernatural horror documentaries and the film industry in general.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) – Budget $ 400,000 / Box Office $ 46.1 million


Napoleon Dynamite boasting of hunting wolverines.

With Jon Heder and Jon Gries, Napoleon Dynamite is about a clumsy teenager who, with his friend, starts a campaign for the class presidency.

The film’s budget was only $ 400,000 and the fact that it grossed $ 46.1 million at the box office is nothing short of amazing. Comedy and relativity with real high school life pushed Napoleon Dynamite in Legendary movie status in its own right, sparking plenty of hilarious memes and still registering as a huge hit these days.


Halloween (1978) – Budget $ 325,000 / Box office $ 47 million


lynda death halloween 1978

One of the biggest slasher franchises to date, Halloween was first released in 1978 and set the stage for all future slasher films.

The film, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle, set theaters alight with its release, grossing more than $ 47 million worldwide at the box office. This much-loved horror classic only had a budget of $ 325,000 to shoot, and yet it turned out to be an influential horror film in its day and still today.

Saw (2004) – Budget $ 1.2 million / $ 104 million at the box office


A serial killer known for imprisoning his victims and forcing them to solve his puzzles to stay alive, Jigsaw is the main villain of the Saw franchise. Although his games seemed at first to be a sort of redemption test, they almost always ended with the death of his victims.


The film was released in 2004 after filming for just 18 days on a budget of $ 1.2 million. Even with its rapid filming, Saw has proven to be a hit among horror films and grossed nearly $ 104 million worldwide.

Super Size Me (2004) – Budget $ 65,000 / Box Office $ 22.2 million


With the rise of obesity in the United States, independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock took to the camera in 2003 to document his 30-day journey where he ate only McDonald’s food. The film was named Super size me after the bigger size, a person can place their order at McDonald’s and what Spurlock planned to do with all of their meals on that 30-day trip. Meanwhile, Spurlock documented the effects of fast food on his body, both physically and psychologically.


Spurlock spent just $ 65,000 on the shoot, and the film grossed $ 22.2 million at the box office. It premiered in theaters and schools across America as an educational documentary to promote healthy eating and living. This film hit the box office and received an excellent reception from viewers and critics across the country.

Insidious (2010) – Budget $ 1.5 Million / Box Office $ 99.8 Million


Another supernatural horror movie to add to the list, Insidious revolves around a couple trying to save their once comatose son from a malicious entity who possessed him in their haunted house.

RELATED: 10 Ways The Conjuring & Insidious Could Be In The Same Universe

The announced budget for the film was $ 1.5 million and after receiving excellent reviews from critics and viewers alike, the film grossed over $ 99.8 million worldwide at the box office. The film was such a success that it received three more films to follow, all of which also followed suit as big box office hits.


The Brother’s McMullen (1995) – Budget $ 238,000 / $ 10 million at the box office


Actors in Edward Burns' Brothers McMullen

The McMullen Brothers is an independent romantic comedy about three Irish Catholic brothers seeking true love and exploring family ties.

The film was first released at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995 and then picked up by 20th Century Fox. The film grossed over $ 10 million at the US box office, and with the film’s budget of just $ 238,000, it became one of the highest grossing films of its time.

The Gallows (2015) – Budget $ 100,000 / Box office $ 42.9 million


the charlie gallows

Like its predecessor The Blair Witch Project, Gallows is another supernatural horror film found about four friends haunted by a vengeful spirit during the re-enactment of a tragic play.


The film was not well received by critics and viewers, however, this did not appear to affect its earnings. With a budget of just $ 100,000, the film grossed over $ 42.9 million worldwide at the box office, making it a huge hit in terms of revenue.

Paranormal Activity (2007) – Budget $ 15,000 / Box Office $ 194 million


Kristi holding Hunter in Paranormal Activity 2.

In their heyday, found-picture horror films were perennial box office hits and Paranormal activity is another great example of their success. The film follows a couple’s quest to find out what haunts them inside their home through a series of cameras set up around their home to capture paranormal events.

Even though it had a small budget of $ 15,000, the film grossed over $ 194 million at the box office. Depending on its return on investment, Paranormal activity is one of the highest grossing movies of all time.


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