Which Disney Movies Were the Most Expensive to Make?

Disney movies have been beloved by all for generations. Often, they are among the few “children’s” movies that parents are just as (if not more) excited to see than their kids. But a lot of these amazing films came at a great cost… financially, that is.

Ever wondered which Disney movies were the most expensive to make – and whether those high budget films made their money back in the box office? We have the answers.

5. ‘Tangled’ (2010)

Not only is this the fifth most expensive Disney movie, but it is also (to date) the most expensive animated movie ever. Tangled tells the classic story of Rapunzel, but with a decidedly Disney twist. But why did it cost so much money to make? Mostly it was because the film was created using a revolutionary form of animation technology that combined CGI with traditional animation methods. 

So how much did it cost to make the most expensive animated film ever? $292 million. Did Disney make back their money? Oh yeah. Tangled managed to net $591,794,936 in the worldwide box offices during the film’s run in theaters. 

4. ‘Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens’ (2015)

The seventh episode in the Star Wars franchise is also the most expensive… and is the fourth most costly movie in Disney’s history. (In case anyone is wondering, this film also has the distinct honor of being the fifth most expensive movie made to date.) One big cost increase came from the all-star cast. $40 million went towards the salaries of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fischer alone.

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens had a budget of $314 million. The film also proved to be insanely popular, bringing in over $2 billion at the worldwide box offices. 

3. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (2015)

The biggest factors which led to a very large budget for Avengers: Age of Ultron was that they used a lot of computer-generated imagery, and there were numerous shooting locations. In fact, the film was shot in five different countries – Italy,  South Korea, Bangladesh, South Africa, and England. The cast undoubtedly received generous payouts as super heroes quickly became ever more popular and in demand.

The total cost of making Avengers: Age of Ultron was $340 million. Disney more than made up their money on this one, with profits totaling over a billion in the worldwide box offices. 

2. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ (2007)

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was wildly successful, but also insanely expensive to make. The special effects for this specific movie added quite a bit to the budget, but one of the largest budget increases came in creating a 40-structure set designed specially to look like Singapore in the 19th century. There was also a very expensive battle sequence that took place in a hangar in California at sub zero temperatures, which took a great number of days to film. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End had a total budget of $354 million. They about tripled their profits in the worldwide box offices alone, bringing in $963,420,425 during it’s run in theaters. 

1. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011)

The previous Pirates of the Caribbean was so successful that they decided to increase their already insanely high budget. They used that budget to shoot On Stranger Tides at locations in Hawaii, California, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. This was all done with special, dedicated 3D cameras… oh, and Johnny Depp got a very nice payout for his role in this movie. His salary for this franchise movie alone was $55.5 million.

The total cost of making Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was $412 million. Luckily, the movie more than made up for its large budget by bringing in a total of $1,045,713,802 in the worldwide box offices.