Low Budget Horror Still Rocks the Box Office

Posted by David Konow

People often wonder why horror films have been so popular lately. One of the big reasons is they’re not expensive to make, which is music to Hollywood’s ears. It’s one big reason a lot of horror films glutted the market after the success of Halloween. When a movie costs $320,000, and makes back $40 million in 1978 money, that grabs people’s attention. 

So now the Hollywood Reporter has listed the biggest money making horror films that cost the least to make, with budgets of $20 million or less. It would be unthinkable back in the day to spend $20 million on a horror film, which is why the theatrical version of The Stand never got off the ground back in the eighties. (Obviously with inflation, and the rising costs of everything in Hollywood, it’s expected we’d be looking at a much different box office chart than we would be thirty years ago.)
 
This list of course includes Paranormal Activity, which made a ton of dough on the tiniest budget imaginable, $15,000. Yet oddly enough it’s not the highest grosser on the list. That belongs to The Conjuring, which made nearly $300 million on a budget of $20 mil. Probably the reason this list doesn’t include Halloween, or Friday the 13th, which made close to $40 million on a budget of a little over a million or so, is because the lowest grossing movie in the top 15 is The Last Exorcism, which made $67.7 million world-wide. 
 
After the Conjuring, #2 on the list is the third Paranormal movie, which made $207 million on a $5 million budget, the aforementioned first Paranormal movie, then the second Paranormal movie, which cost $3 million, and made back $177.5 million. Then Mama, which made $146.4 million, Paranormal Activity 4 ($140.8 million), Saw 3D ($136.2 million), The Woman in Black ($127.7 million), The Devil Inside ($101.4 million), and the Evil Dead remake, which is oddly the only reboot on the list ($97.5 million). 
 
Again, horror is usually a big return on investment, and until people stop paying to go see ‘em, Hollywood should keep rollin’ ‘em out for a long time to come.