Today, a blockbuster movie is defined by its collection at the US box office which is also the official collection that the film makes from the viewing of the motion pictures at big screens and theatres. Originally, the term was meant to use to denote the public response to the film. But since that would be very subjective, the system of determining the amount collected by the movie from its viewership is understood to be of real significance. Ultimately, the movie is made to be seen and also make great profits!
The first official blockbuster:
In 1975, when the movie JAWS was released, it exceeded a collection of $1,000,000,000 in theatre tickets alone and was officially announced to be Hollywood’s first blockbuster. Of course, there have been earlier movies that have been extremely successful but none of them have a documented proof of exceeding the threshold.
Earlier movies that did exceedingly well at the box office were ‘Gone with the wind’ in 1939; ‘The sound of Music’ in 1965; and even earlier films like Quo Vadis; The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur.
However, it is not only the big budget movies that become blockbusters, even small budgets movies have become massive blockbusters.
5 low budget movies that made a fortune at the box office
1. Night of the living dead
Night of the living dead was released on 1st Oct, 1968 and it spark a massive genre of zombie films that have become a favorite to many people today. The initial budget of the film was $6,000 but it was inadequate. The film founders later looked for investors who raised a total of $114,000.
Despite receiving a lot of criticism, Night of the living dead earned a whopping $12 million in the American box office after its release in 1968. It was later translated to 25 languages and released across Europe and Canada making an additional $38 million making it a low budget blockbuster.
2. American Graffiti
In 1973, Francis Ford Coppola challenged George Lucas to write a script that will appeal the mainstream audience. He took up the challenge and created a semi autobiography film that was filmed in just 28 days with a budget of $777,000.
This classic would go on to make $140 million at the box office and earning five academy awards nominations.
In 1976, Sylvester Stallone who was unknown at the time wrote a story of boxer who got a chance to fight against the world heavyweight champion. After costing only $1 million, this film took everyone by surprise when it collected over $225,000. It also paved way for five sequels and won three academy awards.
4. Paranormal activity
Paranormal activity remains one of the most profitable films. It was created with a budget of $15,000 dollars only. The markers used word of mouth and online media to market the film. Shot with a handheld camera, paranormal activity generated $193 million dollars worldwide and paved way for four sequels.
5. Friday the 13th
Besides receiving negative reviews prior to its release, Friday the 13 grossed about $40 million in US alone and over $20 million dollars across Europe. Having being filmed with a budget of $550,000 dollars, this film was a huge hit in the 80s.