Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success of All Time

Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success of All Time till 2017. Before George Lucas became a name for himself, “Sly” Stallone, Danny Boyle, and even Mel Gibson, they were busy making low budget films that some Hollywood studios and execs just didn’t want to “back up”. So, they did it themselves, filming some of the most successful movies with the lowest budget they had and still came out successful. With Hollywood’s “big-wig” budgets which sometimes do not “even up” with box office tickets, these Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success came out of nowhere.

You’ll be surprised who was behind these Independent films which notably became so famous that some of them were discovered at the Sundance Film Festival. Getting recognized there naturally helped, but it took more than just a film festival, location, the setting, the actors/actresses, it took creative minds and money. Not lots of money, but at least a budget, even if it was a small, low budget, it came back “big time”! All because these creative films, writers, directors, producers,…whole-heartedly believed in themselves. For that, they became some of Hollywood’s truest talents with creative eyes for filmmaking. Here are the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success:

List of Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success of All Time till 2017

10. Slumdog Millionaire –

Slumdog Millionaire Top Most Popular Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success 2019

With a budget of $15M and the box office return at $377M, director Danny Boyle didn’t think that he’d be a whopping millionaire just as well. This film is about a teenager who grew up in the slums of India. Poor and alone with his brother, they ‘fend’ for themselves. As he grows up, he later gets on the Indian version game show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” as a contestant. Although, the game’s producers begin to think he’s cheated after getting all the answers correct, he’s arrested. During his brutal interrogation, he begins to get flashbacks of some of the most important milestones which took place in his life. Each event he saw in these flashbacks hinted the answer or revealed the answer to the question he was asked. Amazing for a little boy who had it rough growing up in the slums, while Karma all along repaid him in millions. Great storyline and plot and worth the ticket to the box office, voting this movie a ‘must-see’.

9. The Purge –


For this movie to have a budget of $3M, James DeMonaco boxed in $89M at the box office. The lowest budget film (at $3M) to “hit the top of box office chart” since 1988! It’s a ‘dystopia film’, a genre of literature and film art which explores the upheaval of a social and political structures. In this case, it’s based off a 12-hour span of legal crimes being committed. The catch is you can get away with it, but only for those 12 hours. It takes place in the future, and begins with disturbing footage of real crime taking place on victims through the stores, streets, homes, apartments’ security cameras. It then pans to the household of Ethan Hawke’s character and his family where they are held hostage in their own home because they harbor a black man who is being chased after people who are participating in the purge. This one is an ‘edge of the seat’ film and because of such success from this one, two sequels were made afterwards.

8. The Conjuring (2013)-


Writers Chad and Carey Hayes along with Director James Wan didn’t realize that people still like true-based horror flicks such as this one. Budgeting on $20M, the box office ticketed $318M back! This film is about Ed and Lorrain Warren, two paranormal investigators who help a terrorized family. Their family has a “dark entity” living in their farmhouse they just purchased. It becomes a true nightmarish, horrific story line, based on true facts from the 70s. This film eventually ended up with a sequel recently and was considered better than the first one.

7. The Full Monty (1997)-


The 1997 British comedy-drama made by film director Peter Cattaneo creatively budgeted $3.5M into this film bringing back to the box office $257M. The British film is based on twelve steel mill workers who lose their job suddenly. They come to the realization after they see ladies throwing money at a dance club to nude men. They get that idea and attempt a nude show of their own. The Full Monty was nominated for four Oscars and won for Best Musical as well as Best Original Comedy. Another reason why it is one of the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success.

6. Saw (2004) –

Saw (2004) Top Famous Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success 2019

The horror franchise starts with a budget of only $1.2M but successfully brought back to the box office is $103M. (Written by Aurabesh, but corrected by Paul P.)The film’s feature comes out on the night before Halloween, and scheduled every year to do so. It is about two strangers who wake up in a bathroom with no memory of how they got there. Although, they end up figuring it out once they realize that a notorious serial killer, Jigsaw Killer, has them set up in a deadly horror game they are forced to play. In the bathroom there’s also a dead man who has a tape player and a gun. Both strangers play a tape they find in their back pocket and the task for each is “to kill the other” by sunset; otherwise there’s deadly family consequences. Hacksaws are found, chains are attempted to be cut, yet, this is all a game by the killer. More tricks with treats eventually which are inevitable in this horror flick which continues to pull in audiences. This movie started it’s own genre while Hollywood directors began ‘spinning off’ the original film’s mega success. This is one of the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success of All Time till 2017.

5. Rocky (1976)-

Rocky (1976) Top Most Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success 2018

This classic American boxing drama has been a favorite for all and still is for many. Directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Sylvester Stallone, whom also starred in it. He was considered an ‘unknown actor’ with a script. The budget was $995K, yet at the box office it brought back $225M. A classic rags to riches story about a boxer who fights to the top. The script was about a worn out, burnt out boxer but gets that fighting chance to box a ‘heavyweight champion’. Unknowns to ‘Sly’ he won big time anyway! Where $1m banked in $225M and sequel after sequel became of this cult classic blockbuster film with Stallone and it also stayed at being one of the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success.

4. American Graffiti (1973)-

American Graffiti (1973) Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success 2017

George Lucas budgeted $777K which successfully turned into a box office success of $140M. The movie was a “coming of age tale” with California as the setting for the 1950s cult classic. Filming only took 28 days and almost every studio rejected distributing it. Although, The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola distributed the film with his own money. Good thing because he got back more than what was spent. It was nominated for 5 five Academy Awards (including Best Picture). Today, when adjusted for inflation, Lucas made $1.6B 4 years later when he directed Star Wars)

3. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)-

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) Top Popular Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success 2018

American comedy film which was produced by Jeremy Coon, Sean C. Covel, Chris Wyatt, and Jory Weitz; written by Jared and Jerusha Hess, but directed by Jared. Jon Heder stared in the main character and was paid $1,000 to act! The budget was only $400K, but it came back to the box office with $46M. Naturally, the cast of the ‘unknown actors’ all got paid after learning this, so all got paid fairly well, including Heder. Considered one of the top obscure indie films, it became a pop culture phenomenon about high school and popularity and irrelevant subject matter. The quote “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts are still worn today and still it is one of the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success.

2. Mad Max (1979) –

Mad Max (1979) Top Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success 2017

Directed by George Miller; written by James McCausland and George Miller. With only $300K to make this film, the Australian movie came back to box offices with $99.75M. This dystopian future film stars Mel Gibson which plays Mad Max and lives in a world of violence and murder all around him. Taking place in a self destructive type of world, there’s an Australian policeman who is out to take down a violent and destructive motorcycle gang. Mad Max being the one in hot pursuit by the cops. Mad Max also held the Guinness World Record for 20 years for the highest profit to cost film ever, until #2 film was released.

1. The Blair Witch Project (1999) –

The Blair Witch Project (1999) Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success

This American “psychological horror” flick was only $60K to make; although, it grossed at the box office $248M! It was directed, written/edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. All filmed with a handheld camera and was a big surprise for audiences being that it was one of the first films that did go ‘viral’. It also looked so real that some audiences thought it was. Once it became a success, the three actors spoke up about their low budget film and the truth. The fictional story goes like this: There are three student filmmakers played by Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams. They go hiking in the Black Hills in the year 1994. The reason for the hike is to film a documentary about a local legend named “Blair Witch”. Although, the three student filmmakers disappear, the equipment (i.e. sound, video…) is left behind including the footage which is discovered the following year. This is the ‘recovering’ video the audience is watching, the successful box office hit.

These are the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success of All Time till 2017. Being true to the craft of art direction is thrilling for most that are in the film industry. The creative aspects and the eye for detail in cinematography play a massive role. For those who feel that they don’t have enough money to film, as long as you are creative enough, have the right backers to help promote and pay for specific actor/actresses, and a great location, and script, it never hurts to “go for it”. According to the Academy Award for Best Art Direction (considered Production Designer), art directors do have an intense responsibility and duty to deal with while filming and promoting their films because of the amount of heads that reject their films in Hollywood studios. Consequently, a lot of them that could of helped out with these top 10 regret they ever turned the other cheek on these guys because you know their jaws dropped when they saw how much these films made at the box office and making them the Top 10 Low Budget Hollywood Movies That Got Big Success.

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