Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) is not holding any punches when it comes to spending money on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. Documents filed online by New Zealand’s Companies Office revealed that the trilogy has cost 676 million New Zealand dollars — or $561 million at current exchange rates — through March 31. That number more than doubles the cost of Jackson’s previous Lord of the Rings trilogy, which came in at $281 million total.
That number — $561 million — is the type of production budget that can blow up in a studio’s face, but for Warner Bros. and director Jackson, the number almost seems like a bargain when put in perspective. Considering that this number represents the budget for three films shot simultaneously, it might make sense to divide the number by three, which yields a production budget of $187 per film — still a huge number, but nowhere near as mind-blowing as half of a billion dollars.
Now take that number — $187 million — and put it up against the box office take of the first film in the series: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That film went on to gross $303 million domestic and $714 million abroad for a worldwide total of $1.01 billion. Considering that the second and third films in the series are garnering more buzz than An Unexpected Journey seemed to have leading up to release, the numbers $561 million and $187 million just might be the highest-priced bargain that Warner Bros. has ever undertaken.
But not every studio is so fortunate with their high-priced film investments in the film industry’s equivalent to a high-stakes gamble. Here are the ten most expensive films of all-time, not adjusted for inflation, and how the investment ultimately paid off for its studio. The information on this list can be found over at Box Office Mojo.
Check them out after the jump.