Some of this year's biggest blockbuster movies have been made for millions of dollars... but you don't have to have an enormous budget to make a great and hugely successful film.

Kill Command

Kill Command

This week, Kill Command hits the big screen and it is a sci-fi film that was made for just $1.4 million. It follows in the footsteps of a whole host of films that were made for less than $2 million but raked in a pile of cash at the box office.

We take a look at some of the films that were made for rather modest amounts of money that proved to be a big success.

- The Blair Witch Project - $60,000 budget

When it comes to making a film on a small budget and turning it into a monster hit, the directors of The Blair Witch Project did that in impressive style back in 1999.

Hard to believe that The Blair Witch Project is closing in on its twentieth anniversary - it was seventeen years ago when it hit the big screen - and it saw Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez in the director's chair for the first time. The duo also penned the film's screenplay.

The movie was made for the very modest budget of $60,000 and followed three film students who vanished after setting off into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on about the local Blair witch legend... leaving behind only their footage.

The Blair Witch changed the way that movies were marketed forever - using a huge viral campaign to build up interest. Chat rooms and movie sites helped make this film a mammoth hit.

The film grossed $248 million at the global box office, making it one of the most successful independent movies, but it also had the highest profit-to-cost ratio making back over $10,000 for every dollar spent.

The Blair Witch Project remains one of the best horror movies of the last twenty years and moved the horror genre away from the bubblegum horrors such as Scream to something a little more sophisticated.

The Blair Witch Project

- Saw - $1.2 million budget

Saw has gone on to become one of the most successful horror genres but it was back in 2004 when the series hit the big screen for the very first time.

Saw was only the second feature film of James Wan's career and followed on from the short film of the same name a year earlier. It was to be the movie that helped kick off his career. Leigh Whannell penned the film's screenplay.

Saw follows two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

Saw really gave birth to the genre now known as torture porn and split critics upon release. However, it would go on to gain a cult following and was a huge box office success.

The movie over $103.9 million at the global box office - not bad for a movie made for just $1.2 million. At the time, it was the most profitable horror film since Scream back in 1996.

A series of movies followed the success of Saw and the film has grossed over $953 million.


- The Raid - $1.1 million budget

The Raid was one of my favourite movies of 2012 as director Gareth Evans reunited with martial arts actor Iko Uwais. This was the second film for the pair and came three years after the release of Merantau.

Uwais took on the central role of Rama, a member of a S.W.A.T. team that becomes trapped in a high-rise building run by a ruthless mob. When the mob boss orders the S.W.A.T. to be killed Rama must use all his wits and fighting skills to get back out alive.

Evans has delivered a film that moves at 100mph and never allows you to pause and catch your breath. The stunts and the set pieces are so ferocious and they really can't be faulted as the action pushes the story forward.

The Raid went on to be a huge critical hit and grossed $9.1 million at the box office.

The Raid 2 followed in 2014 and a Hollywood remake is in the pipeline.

The Raid

- Paranormal Activity - $15,000 budget

We have already looked at one found-footage film, but now we are going to look at a second in the form of Paranormal Activity; the first film in another hugely successful horror franchise.

The movie was released back in 2007 and saw Oren Peli in the director's chair making his feature film debut. As well as being in the director's chair, Peli also penned the film's screenplay.

After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence. They set up a camera in their bedroom to try and capture what happens.

Personally, I was not a huge fan of Paranormal Activity when it was released but it went on to be a huge critical and commercial success.

The movie played well on the festival circuit - playing at the likes of Sundance and Telluride - where is started to gain momentum and word about the film spread.

Paranormal Activity took $193.4 million at the global box office by the end of its theatrical run and is one of the most profitable movies ever made, based on the return of investment.

Paranormal Activity kicked off a whole new horror franchise and five sequels followed - finding an audience and box office success.

Paranormal Activity

- Reservoir Dogs - $1.2 million budget

Reservoir Dogs was the feature film directorial debut of director Quentin Tarantino when it was released back in 1992. The movie gave audiences a first look at the nonlinear storylines and stylistically excessive violence that he is now so famous.

Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, and Tarantino himself starred in the film, while follows a group of criminals before and after a jewellery heist goes horribly wrong. Is there a police informant in the group?

Tarantino showed that the non-linear structure could be used to great effect - something that he would later repeat with Pulp Fiction.

The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it was a huge success and went on to be picked up by Miramax Films.

Tarantino made the movie for just $1.2 million and Reservoir Dogs went on to gross over $2.8 million. The film has gone on to become a cult hit and was an important moment for independent film.

While it is Pulp Fiction that is widely regarded as the movie that changed independent cinema for the better, Reservoir Dogs did help to sow the seeds of change. It remains one of Tarantino's best movies.

Reservoir Dogs

- Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - $800,000 budget

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was released back in 1998 and was to be the feature film directorial debut of Guy Ritchie - he also penned the film's screenplay. It was to be one of the most talked about British movies that year and launched more than just Ritchie's career.

Jason Flemying, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, and Vinnie Jones made up the film's cast list... this and Snatch would be the two movies that would help launch Statham's acting career.

The movie follows Eddy, who loses £500,000 to a powerful crime lord during a rigged card game. Eddy enlists the help of his three friends to get the money back - by planning to rob a small-time gang. Needless to say, things get a little out of hand.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was the movie that really put Ritchie on the map as the film was well by the critics and went on to be a commercial success.

Made for just $800,000, the film went on to gross $28.1 million - making a huge financial hit. It went on to be nominated for Best British film at the Baftas that year.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

- Rocky - $1.1 million budget

Rocky is one of the greatest boxing movies of all time and it was back in 1877 when the film hit the big screen in the UK for the first time. Since then, it has gone on to be a hugely successful franchise and the most iconic role of Sylvester Stallone's career.

As well as taking on the role of Rocky Balboa in the first film, Stallone also penned the film's screenplay while John G. Avildsen was in the director's chair.

The movie follows small-time boxer Rocky Balboa who gets a shot at a fight with heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed.

Surprisingly, Rocky was made for the very modest amount of $1.1 million and went on to be both a critical and commercial success. Not only was the film met with acclaim upon release, it went on to gross over $225 million at the box office - it was the highest-grossing film of that year.

Rocky was also enjoyed huge awards success as it went on to be nominated ten Oscars. It would win three; Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing. Stallone missed out on Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

Rocky has gone on to be a much-loved franchise with Rocky II, Rocky II, Rocky IV, Rocky V, Rocky Balboa, and Creed all hitting the big screen over the years.


- Kill Command - $1.4 million budget

With plenty of competition boasting generous budgets, Kill Command finds itself up against a huge array of blockbuster sci-fi films and is the true underdog amongst the superhero films and alien attack films of 2016.

Set in the near future, a team of marines is sent on a training exercise on a remote island where a group of highly advanced military robots awaits. It is only once they are in position and all communication is cut off that they realise that the robots are learning all their war strategies, becoming more and more dangerous the longer they stay.

With incredibly detailed visual effects, the robots are a threatening enemy in this action-packed thriller that shows what can truly be achieved with a talented and passionate VFX team on a budget.

Steven Gomez makes his feature film directorial debut with Kill Command and has also penned the film's screenplay. Vanessa Kirby, Thure Lindhardt, David Ajala, Tom McKay, and Mike Noble make up the film's cast list.

Kill Command

Other great movies made for less than $2 million Napoleon Dynamite ($400,000), Mad Max ($200,000), Clerks ($27,575), Once ($150,000), and Friday the 13th ($550,000).

Kill Command is available in cinemas, iTunes and Sky Store May 13.

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