Expensive CGI Movies With Budgets:
Hollywood has started a trend of spending big money to make huge bucks. To earn cash, you need to invest first. Hollywood has given us so many memorable CGI driven blockbusters that we have lost count. The ones on this list though are some of the most expensive projects ever taken in Hollywood. Some were a hit while some bombed. It makes us wonder – was it all really worth it?
1. King Kong – $207 Million
The 2005 movie named King Kong was an epic action-adventure movie that rewrote the origin story of the Great Ape Monster of Hollywood. The movie starred Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, and Jack Black in lead roles. It also had a very high production budget because the Studio wanted the movie to be shot at exotic locations and also feature and use heavy CGI in the movie. King Kong was a success but did not perform up to expectations. Many criticized King Kong that it showed show racist caricatures and stereotypes of tribal cultures. The critics still applauded the plot direction and the emotional connection that Watts’ character achieved with the CGI King Kong in the movie.
2. Man of Steel – $225 Million
Man of Steel is touted as one of the greatest superhero origin stories in the history of Hollywood. As a stalwart of the superhero genre, Man of Steel was to the DC Extended Universe what Iron Man was to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The DCEU owes their existence to Zack Snyder and his directorial venture that was a Man of Steel. As one of the most polarizing movies to exist within the DCEU after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, many complained at the gritty origin story of one of the brightest and total boy-scout superheroes of the DC Universe! Nevertheless, it is still considered a huge Box Office Success that earned more than double its production budget during its Box Office Run.
3. The Lion King – $250 Million
We start off the list with a movie that won a lot of hearts and minds. The Lion King was the live-action remake of the Disney classic of the same name that was released in the 1990s. The Lion King was a movie that banked on the factors of Nostalgia to make the viewer flock to the theatres again. It had pretty much the same storyline but what it lacked in originality it more than made up for in visuals and a good voiceover cast that poured their souls into the movie. The Lion King turned out to be one of Disney’s biggest gambles. It had a total production budget of about 250 Million US Dollars. The money it earned was more than 1.6 Billion US Dollars. Both Simba and Mufasa would have been proud of what they have accomplished together.
4. Spider-Man 3 – $258 Million
The third and final movie in the Spider-Man Trilogy directed by Sam Raimi, Spider-Man 3 could be called the Jump the Shark installment that ended any hopes for the future of Spider-Man for a good tenure of years in Hollywood. It was only after some years that Sony even started considering a reboot of Spider-Man. Spider-Man 3 may not be the best of the lot but it sure was a CGI heavy visual spectacle. It used a lot of action scenes that were CGI supported to add that extra X factor to the movie. Many still claim Spider-Man 3 has one of the best special effects in the history of cinema. Considering the fact that it was released almost 12 years ago and there already are MCU movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame that is far so superior to the other movies in terms of CGI, it is saying something.
5. Avatar – $263 Million
The one movie that started the CGI revolution in the movie-making industry, Avatar was the brainchild of James Cameron. Cameron’s dream was to make a movie that was entirely made out of ultra-realistic digital engines that could portray CGI that was so lifelike it almost felt real. Cameron worked with the Studio to come out with a reasonable-enough budget to achieve that goal. The Studio allocated more than 250 Million US Dollars just to CGI alone. It took a lot of time for Cameron to perfect his masterpiece and the long wait was finally over when Avatar hit the Big Screens to smash long-established Box Office records and became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
6. John Carter – $264 Million
The Disney sponsored movie came out of the pages of Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote the Barsoom series of novels. John Carter was based on the first of his novels called the Princess of Mars. John Carter tells the story of a young Civil War veteran being transported to Mars where his human body, which has thrived under stronger Earth gravity, has now given John Carter superior physical attributes owing to Mars’ lesser gravitational field and his higher bone as well as muscle density. But sometimes even the most powerful Studio of all time combined with a huge budget cannot save a movie. John Carter suffered from terrible marketing and many of the fans ended up hating the movie when they came out because of the slow pace of the storyline.
7. Solo: A Star Wars Story – $275 Million
Solo: A Star Wars Story was the first experiment by Lucas Film to make a movie on prominent and established Star Wars character. Everybody loved Han Solo but nobody really knew how the small-time thief became one of the greatest pilots and leaders of the Rebellion. Solo: A Star Wars Story was a dream coming true for the Star Wars fans. The movie itself did not garner as much love as it was hyped. Many claimed the lead actor was not suited for the role and some even went as far as to say that the entire direction and screenplay were amateurish. The movie did end up earning a bit of a profit but it is still seen as one of the greatest failures of the Star Wars franchise after The Phantom Menace.
8. Justice League – $300 Million
What was supposed to be the piece de resistance of the DC Extended Universe turned out to be a hurried and completely unnecessary installment to the superhero franchise under the Warner Brothers banner! Warner Brothers Studios spared no expense at giving the movie the best of minds and hands when it came to CGI. But none of them had anticipated what would happen next. Last-minute changes kept happening and the movie was cursed to stay under wraps due to other unforeseen circumstances. There were creative differences between Zack Snyder and the Studio that kept interfering in Zack’s direction. In the end, Zack had to leave the project midway because of his daughter’s untimely death. The movie was doomed to a slow and painful death when Joss Whedon took the helm and drove it into crazy town.
9. Avengers: Age of Ultron – $365 Million
Many would have thought that the MCU movie that should be on this list was Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame, but the true victor of that race is someone no one expected to be. The most expensive Avengers movie to have been ever made if we adjust the production budget according to inflation is none other than Avengers: Age of Ultron. Age of Ultron was directed by Joss Whedon and with such a huge budget it still could not break expectations like everyone thought it would. Age of Ultron had very limited success compared to its preceding and succeeding counterparts but is still the fourth highest-grossing film of 2015 and the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $378 Million
A career-defining franchise for the famous Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, the Pirates of the Caribbean series also has the distinction of having the most expensive CGI driven movie on this list. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had a production budget close to 400 Million US Dollars. It had huge ships and mostly occurred at sea. Apart from that, there was a lot of computer-generated imagery involved in a lot of adventure and action sequences. The movie ended up bombing and was a disappointment but it still managed to give birth to the Dead Men Tell no Tales movie, which was an overall success.