Blockbusters: 10 Low Budget Films That Killed It At The Box Office

Film production and distribution has changed in the past few years. Streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon are purchasing movies made for the theater and moving them straight to your television screen.

Check out some more recent films that have skyrocketed to the top despite a less than stellar budget.

10 Moonlight (2016)

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With a budget of $1.5 million, box office numbers soared to $65 million. Starring Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Trevante Rhodes, the story follows a young African American man struggling with childhood, adolescent situations, and the path to adulthood.

9 Open Water (2003)

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The true story of two scuba divers stranded in shark-infested waters stars Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, and Saul Stein. According to Digital Spy, the entire film was completed on a budget of $500,000 but once hitting the box office. It made nearly $55 million.

8 Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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An indie film that garnered four Oscar nominations and two wins follow a young girl (Abigail Breslin) that takes a cross-country trip with her family to participate in a beauty pageant. The film starred Breslin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Greg Kinnear and was made with a budget of $8 million. Despite only releasing in 1,500 theaters, the film made more than $160 million worldwide.

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7 Split (2017)

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In another horror flick by M. Night Shyamalan, the film follows James McAvoy’s character, a man with 23 distinct personalities kidnapping three girls desperate to escape. According to Collider, Shyamalan directed the film for $9 million and ended up making more than $275 million worldwide. The film became Shyamalan’s fifth film to surpass $100 million at the box office.

6 God’s Not Dead (2014)

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The film stars Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, and David A.R. White about a college professor’s curriculum challenged by his new student who believes God exists. It was made for just $2 million and racked in more than $60 million at the box office, making it one of the most profitable movies ever in the United States, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

5 Blue Valentine (2010)

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Another indie film that gained in popularity tells the story of a couple over the span of many years, starting with falling in love to what caused their demise. Starring Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, and John Doman, the film was made for $1 million but brought in $12 million worldwide. Both Gosling and Williams received several Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

4 Insidious (2011)

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A family discovers dark spirits in their home, causing their son to fall into a coma and work to defeat the enemy and save their son. Positive reviews and a slow build through word-of-mouth kept the movie circulating. With a budget of just $800,000, the film brought home $100 million, making it the highest-grossing film of 2011.

3 The Passion of the Christ (2004)

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It’s been more than 15 years, but the film depicting the final twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth on the day of his crucifixion was a surprise hit. Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel, they began with a healthy budget of $30 million. What became the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history, the box office reported bringing in $611 million, a huge profit from small beginnings.

2 Pulp Fiction (1994)

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Another oldie but a goodie, Pulp Fiction remains a cultural phenomenon, starring well-known celebrities John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and Uma Thurman. With a star-studded cast, it does not surprise that the film was a hit, but with a budget of just $8 million, the film exceeded expectations with a revenue of $213 million.

1 My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

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The film was made on $5 million but brought in a massive $368 million worldwide. The romantic comedy starring Nia Vardalos and John Corbett follows a young Greek woman who falls in love with a non-Greek man and the struggles (and comedy) that ensues. Unique to this film is the slow start, issued to just 108 theaters, but continued popularity resulted in a booming success. Vardalos and the film received Oscar nominations.

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Source: Digital Spy, Collider, Rotten Tomatoes

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