25 Low Budget Movies That Were Huge Hits

Posted by , Updated on July 8, 2014

Very seldom do low budget movies become big hits as they are generally not as appealing as their high-budget counterparts. However, there are some films that defy the logic of a high budget and eventually end up becoming extremely successful with earnings that blow all expectations away. Take a look for yourself with these 25 low budget movies that were huge hits.


"Open Water" Budget: $130,000 Revenue: $54.7 million

open watersmh.com.au

This 2003 psychological horror film is based on the true story of an American couple, Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were accidentally left behind while on a scuba diving trip. Open Water cost about $130,000 to make and was bought by Lions Gate Entertainment for $2.5 million. The film went on to make a total of $55 million worldwide, $30 million of which came from the North American Box office.


“Slacker” Budget: $23,000 Revenue: $1.23 million


Slacker is an American independent comedy-drama film that was directed and written by Richard Linklater and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize – Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival. A seemingly plotless film, Slacker follows various bizarre characters as they share a few minutes of screen time while discussing themes centered around social class, terrorism, joblessness, political marginalization, and even government control of the media.


“Paranormal Activity” Budget: $15,000 Revenue: $193.3 million


Written, photographed, edited and directed by Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity is a supernatural horror movie that centers around a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are haunted by a supernatural being. It was first released on January October 14, 2007 as part of the Screamfest Film Festival. Afterwards, it was acquired by Paramount Pictures, modified and given a limited U.S. release on September 25, 2009 with a full release on October 16, 2009. The film earned about $108 million at the U.S. box office and $85 million internationally for a grand total of $193 million. Consequently, it is the most profitable film ever made based on return on investment.


“Pink Flamingos” Budget: $12,000 Revenue: $7 million


Written, composed, shot, edited, directed and produced by John Waters, Pink Flamingos is a 1972 American transgressive black comedy exploitation film that sparked controversy because of its wide range of detailed perverse acts. Considered one of the most notorious films in history, it starred Divine, Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce and Edith Massey.


“El Mariachi” Budget: $7,000 Revenue: $2 million


This 1992 American action film was the first installment of Robert Rodriguez’s Mexican Trilogy which marked his debut as a director and writer. “El Mariachi” was written in Spanish and was shot in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico; the hometown of Carlos Gallardo.

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