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Discover the Most Expensive Movie Ever Made

The Most Expensive Movie Ever Made

Discover the Most Expensive Movie Ever Made

Key Points

  • Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens cost a whopping $447 million to produce, making it the most expensive movie ever made.
  • The movie grossed over $2 billion at the box office, making it the highest-grossing film of 2015 and the highest-grossing film at the domestic box office.
  • Director J.J. Abrams earned $5 million plus 2% of the box office gross, while the main actors’ salaries ranged from mid-to-high six figures to $15 million for Harrison Ford.
  • Star Wars merchandise is a huge industry, with toy stores struggling to keep enough products in stock.
  • Star Wars fan events, such as Star Wars Celebration, attract thousands of fans from all over the world and offer behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the movies.

Quick Facts About the Most Expensive Movie Ever Made

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force AwakensStatistics
Estimated BudgetBetween $259 and $306 million
Cost to Produce$447 million
Main ActorsHarrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, and more
Director, Co-writer, and ProducerJ. J. Abrams
Date Released2015
Box Office Gross$2 billion worldwide
Box Office StatusNorth America’s highest-grossing film, the highest-grossing film of the year, and the third-highest-grossing film when released.
Any AwardsNominated for 5 Oscars

How Much Did the Most Expensive Movie Cost?

The Star Wars sequel trilogy began with J.J. Abrams’s The Force Awakens. It continued the story of the beloved original characters while introducing new ones, such as Rey, Poe, and Finn.

George Lucas is the Star Wars creator, and even though he had ideas for a sequel trilogy, he wasn’t prepared to make it. So, instead, he sold Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney Company in 2012. And they made good on producing the trilogy sagas.

Our Pick
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Prime Video)
$19.79
  • Subtitles available in English [CC]
  • Option of either buying or renting the movie
  • IMDb score: 7.8
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/27/2024 07:22 am GMT

With so much at stake for Disney, the movie was one of the most highly-anticipated releases ever. Recent reports indicate that The Force Awakens had a budget between $259 and $306 million.

In the end, the most expensive movie ever made ended up costing $447 million. However, the investment paid off handsomely, with the movie earning over $2 billion at the box office. It was the highest-grossing film of that year and still remains the highest-grossing film at the domestic box office.

First Film With a $100 Million Budget

The first movie to cross the hundred million dollar budget line starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. True Lies was a 1994 film with a big budget. But it turned out to be much smaller than the cost of the most expensive movie ever made.

Other Star Wars Film Costs

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — $416M: The last movie in the sequel trilogy is reportedly the second most expensive movie ever made. It grossed a billion dollars worldwide. The Rise of Skywalker also earned the odd honor of being one of the last blockbusters before the Corona Pandemic halted all movie-going.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) $300M: The second film in the sequel trilogy followed The Force Awakens with another colossal budget. Not all fans liked the direction the movie took, especially Luke Skywalker’s portrayal. But it was still a blockbuster hit, grossing $1 billion worldwide.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) $11M: The first movie in George Lucas’ film franchise cost a mere $11 million to make. Nevertheless, it topped the box office, earning more than $220 million that year.
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) $18M and Return of the Jedi (1983) — $32.5M: The second and third films in the original trilogy synched the deal for a long-time love affair between movie-goers and Star Wars. With low production costs by today’s standards, both movies helped the budding franchise secure its spot in Hollywood history.

The Most Expensive Movie: Cast Costs

Cast and crew costs for the most expensive movie added up quickly. For example, director J.J. Abrams earned $5 million, plus 2% of the box office gross. Here are the main actors’ and actresses’ salaries and box office profits.

Cast MemberSalary and Box Office Profits
Harrison Ford (Han Solo)$15 million / $25 million
Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia)Low seven-figure range
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)Low seven-figure range
Adam Driver (Kylo Ren)Mid-to-high six figures
Daisy Ridley (Rey)Between $100,000 and $300,000
John Boyega (Finn)Between $100,000 and $300,000
Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron)Mid-to-high six figures

The Most Expensive Movie: Star Wars Merchandise

Beyond the box office gross for the most expensive movie ever made, Star Wars merchandise continues raking in the cash. Before the film’s premiere, twenty of The Force Awakens books and comics were released. And then, Marvel Comics released a six-issue comic based on the movie in 2016.

Also, before the movie’s release, Disney and Lucasfilm held a merchandise open house on “Force Friday,” September 4, 2015. Live-streaming on YouTube ensured fans worldwide could buy books, toys, clothing, and other Star Wars merchandise.

Toy stores had trouble keeping enough Star Wars products in stock. And, today, merchandise like Lego sets continues selling like hotcakes at online retailers.

Our Pick
LEGO Star Wars R2-D2
$263.40
  • Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber is hidden in a compartment in the head
  •  2,315-piece collectible set 
  • Makes for a great centerpiece
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/27/2024 05:57 am GMT

The Most Expensive Movie: Star Wars Fan Events

Fans of the Star Wars franchise are some of the world’s most devoted. They gather for events and cosplay all over the world. For example, Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023 was held in April in London with about 30,000 attendees. 

Cosplayers made up a large selection of the SWCE partyers, with people dressed as every Star Wars character you can imagine. The full schedule at these fan events makes for an exciting weekend, whether or not fans are into cosplay.

In addition, fans interact with the film’s set decorator, production designer, costume designer, and concept designer for a behind-the-scenes design look at the most expensive movie ever made.

Current live-action filmmakers also discuss upcoming Star Wars movies to the delight of fans, in person and watching on the live stream. You can even attend a cosplay workshop at one of these fan events.

Costume designers, prop masters, and hair department professionals offer tips and tricks for dressing like your favorite characters. And that helps get cosplay fans ready for the event contest!

Check the official Star Wars events page for upcoming happenings near you. What a treat you’ll be in for! We know you’ll be glad you attended.

The Most Expensive Movie of All Time: Bottom Line

Star Wars: The Force Awakens holds the title of the most expensive movie of all time. Production costs came in at a whopping $447M in 2015. And that’s a load of cash, no matter how you look at it.

Thankfully, The Force Awakens earned its keep. Star Wars fans flocked to the theaters for the first installment in the much-anticipated sequel trilogy. As a result, the film earned over $2 billion at the box office. In addition, it was the number-one-grossing film in 2015 across North America.

Star Wars fanatics ensure that well-made movies in the franchise are appreciated and well-attended. We aren’t sure if another movie franchise could have re-couped the production cost of the most expensive movie.

Our Pick
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Run time: 2 hours and 16 minutes
  • Subtitles available in French, Spanish, English
  • Rated PG-13
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be Star Wars Celebration in 2024?

During this year’s Celebration Europe, organizers announced that the next celebration will skip 2024. Instead, fans will wait till 2025 for the next Star Wars Celebration near Tokyo, Japan. So mark your calendar now for April 18 – 20, 2025!

Is the Star Wars saga over?

The most recent trilogy sequel is over. The Rise of Skywalker signaled the trilogy’s end. But, of course, it left the door open for future movies in the Star Wars franchise.

Is Rey the daughter of Luke Skywalker?

There is so much controversy and speculation over Rey’s heritage. In The Last Jedi, Rey discovered that her parents were nobodies. So, her powers came from herself rather than from her legendary parents.

However, Kylo Ren learned in The Rise of Skywalker that Rey’s grandfather was the Dark Lord of the Sith. Additionally, her father was a genetic clone of the Emperor, and her mother was his love interest on Jakku.

What do you call a group of Star Wars fans?

Star Wars fans don’t have a group name like “Trekkies.” Instead, they are simply called Star Wars fans. And that’s probably because the fandom is hugely diverse due to the mass market appeal of the movie franchise.

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