Why did they make
? The divine hand of the free market christened the original God’s Not Dead 2 God’s Not Dead with a $60 million box office tally, and against its $2 million budget, that makes it one of the most profitable movies ever in these United States. So, sweet Jesus, of course they would make a sequel! And that inspires this week’s gallery: the 24 most profitable low-budget (under $5 million) movies ever (in America)!
(2014) God’s Not Dead
Budget/Box Office: $2 million/$60.7 million
God’s Not Dead 2 presumably had a much bigger budget to cover its stars’ salaries (Melissa Joan Hart AND Ernie Hudson in one movie?).
For a long time, John Carpenter’s Halloween was the standard all slashers were measured against.
Deep Throat (1972)
The box office numbers range wildly, with the numbers often inflated due to the persistent common legend that this porno served as laundering front for the mob.
Director James Wan put on a creative display with limited means, though the rest of the torture porn series was also made on the cheap.
(2012) The Devil Inside
Made bundles of money despite a world’s worst ending that tells you to visit a broken website (yes, this movie deserves to be spoiled).
(2009) Paranormal Activity
Director Oren Peli shot the movie over seven days in his own house, this home recording saw success typically reserved for celebrity sex tapes.
An underdog story inside and out, Sylvester Stallone sold his dog for $50 while trying to get the movie made.
(2002) My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The sequel had a bigger opening than expected last weekend, no surprise considering what a sleeper runaway hit the original was.
Kind hearts and crooners meet in this Irish import that left audiences swooning.
(2004) Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite used effective low-key humor and placid irony to hide the fact that there wasn’t much money for anything else.
(2004) Super Size Me
Before social media was a thing, this was the only way to see a person other than yourself self-destruct in real time.
(2015) The Gallows
Another flash in the pan horror flick that got droves of young watchers in theaters.
After a string of mid-budget flops, Saw director James Wan went back to his low-budj roots and scored another majorly profitable horror hit.
(1973) American Graffiti
Before transforming pop culture at large with Star Wars, George Lucas was a sure-fire director early in his career.
(1968) Night of the Living Dead
The Dead series has had a long if not particularly storied life, beginning with this classic drive-in creeper.
(1980) Friday the 13th
Proof that American audiences were willing to entertain several concurrent slasher franchises in the post- Halloween world.
(1993) El Mariachi
Director Robert Rodriguez has always been open on how he got this movie made, including doing drug testing to raise money and using condoms of red corn syrup for blood squibs.
David Lynch spread directing, producing, writing, and scoring duties of his debut feature film over several years.
(2004) Open Water
Like Jaws if it didn’t go over-budget.
Following in Lynch’s footsteps, Darren Aronofsky made his debut with a money-making black-and-white surreal horror movie.
(1986) She’s Gotta Have It
Straight outta film school, this was Spike Lee’s feature directorial debut.
(1999) The Blair Witch Project
The first film to truly popularize the found footage new wave.
(1995) The Brothers McMullen
Not the most popular movie from the ’90s American independent scene these days, but certainly the one with the highest ROI.
(1974) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
As seen from this gallery, if you want to make a killing at the box office, just make a horror movie that taps into the primal cultural zeitgeist. It’s just that easy!