Not too long ago any movie that made $100 million at the U.S. box office was considered a success. But in recent years movie budgets have ballooned, and some movies are still massive failures even if they cross $100 million in the U.S. or make a lot of money at the overseas box office. In fact, a number of 2015 movies have made what seems to be a lot of money at the worldwide box office only to be huge financial failures once one takes a closer look at the numbers. Box office figures as reported by sites like Box Office Mojo (where this data comes from) are gross, not profit. Because precise movie finances are closely-guarded secrets by movie studios, the general rule of thumb is that a film has to gross twice its reported budget in order to just break even. For example, a $50 million film has to gross $100 million to turn the corner - for every dollar it costs, the movie has to make two dollars to stay ahead. The following ten 2015 movies appear to have made decent money at the worldwide box office, but were actually big money losers for their studios.
10. Hot Pursuit
Production Budget: $35,000,000 Worldwide Gross: $51,380,201 Estimated Losses: $18,619,799 On one hand, a road comedy movie starring popular film actress Reese Witherspoon and popular TV actress Sofia Vergara seems like a good bet. On the other hand, when that movie costs $35 million to produce it is no longer a sure thing. $51.4 million is a respectable gross for a movie like this, and had the movie cost $15-20 million it would've easily turned a small profit. But the catch is that the same movie with half the budget probably wouldn't have been able to afford stars on the level of Witherspoon and Vergara for the lead roles. Still, there had to have been some way to bring the budget of this movie down. A similar buddy comedy movie, 2013's The Heat, had only a slightly larger budget and made $230 million worldwide (of course, that movie had much better reviews). Considering that The Heat had two more famous (and therefore likely more expensive) leads, one wonders where most of the budget for Hot Pursuit ended up going.
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Chris McKittrick is a published author of fiction and non-fiction and has spoken about film and comic books at conferences across the United States. In addition to his work at WhatCulture!, he is a regular contributor to CreativeScreenwriting.com, MovieBuzzers.com, and DailyActor.com, a website focused on acting in all media. For more information, visit his website at http://www.chrismckit.com.