Live Poll: Micro-Budget Movies That Paid Off Big

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Micro-budget movies are movies that cost less than $400,000 to make. These shoestring budgeted movies are made by aspiring writers, directors and actors; some who went on to be the great directors and actors we know today making big budget blockbusters. All of these micro budget films struck a chord with the moviegoers, showcase incredible talent and became huge box office smashes or successes post-box office in video rental-sales.

Which wildly successful micro budgeted movie made for less than $250,000 is your favorite? * based on initial completed film budgets and uses just one type of movie income stream (box office) for comparison.

Vote in the companion poll: Low Budget Movies That Paid Off Big

See the partial list of successful mirco-budgeted movies here: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls033663157/

Poll: http://www.imdb.com/poll/3ItQTG9qxnU/
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urbanemovies

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Posted 3 years ago

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urbanemovies

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bump
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Jen, Champion

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Personally I think you should remove titles that had additional funding that puts them above the budget threshold you set.

FYC:
Swimming to Cambodia - Budget $15,000, Box Office $1,000,000
Stranger Than Paradise - Budget $90,000, Box Office $2,400,000
The Endless Summer - Budget $50,000, Box Office $20,000,000
Breathless - Budget $82,000, Box Office $20,000,000
Mad Max - Budget $200,000, Box Office $100,000,000
Lucia - Budget $78,000, Box Office $480,000
Bad Taste - Budget $30,000, Box Office $150,000
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urbanemovies

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I like the suggestions, especially The Endless Summer, Breathless, Mad Max and Bad Taste. I added The Endless Summer, Mad Max (Low Budget), but need to verify Breathless and had considered Bad Taste. I initial left it off because it's single film box office pay-off wasn't in the the same league; but I am re-considering it due to its rental success and pay-off in launching Peter Jackson's career.

Where did you get the box office number for Breathless?
Breathless - Budget $82,000, Box Office $20,000,000
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Jen, Champion

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40k French 1960 francs converted to 2017 US dollars = $82,000 - from IMDb
Lifetime Box Office 2017 US dollars = $363,000 - from Box Office Mojo
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urbanemovies

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thanks for breathless info, edited question on list to reflect concern and clarity

Which wildly successful micro budgeted movie* made for initially less than $250,000 is your favorite? * based on initial completed film budgets and uses just one type of movie income stream (box office) for comparison.
(Edited)
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urbanemovies

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An additional note this category includes both micro-budget and no-budget films. Initial budgets are used to qualify, as post acquisition costs after initial debut for post-production can easily push past the threshold, but do little to change the impressiveness of the initial cut, but will have and added note clarifying the budget estimates ie. Clerks Budget: $27,000 (post-acquisition budget of $230,000 after studio ordered post-production).

Wikipedia

A No-budget film is a film made with very little or no money. ie Clerks  Following, The Blair Witch Project, etc.

Young directors starting out in filmmaking and several older ones commonly use this method because there are few other options available to them at that point. All the actors and technicians are employed in these films without remuneration. These films are largely non-profit. Usually the director works alone on such films, or uses a very minimum "crew" of volunteers to assist him/her on such projects, where no money or financing is available, not including the cost of equipment and software used in production and post-production.

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urbanemovies

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FYC I based my decision to include them on primarily two points.

1)  These movies are being shown as a complete films at festivals and wowing audiences at the initial lower budgets. Distributors/Studios that have bought the rights to these completed films and now own them, as such it is their decision to add post-production polish to the film, rather than the film-makers before the film receives a major limited or wide release. Many times it has nothing to do with the end-product (ie converting from 16mm film stock Nolan's The Following that doubled its budget). I chose to use the number that was reflective of the film-makers initial vision and work.

2) I think verifying budgets is a tricky business in the film industry; it is hard enough to get a number you can believe on any film. I often see different reported budgets for the same film. (ie  I used a Mad Max Budget: $300,000 rather than $200,000 you found and placed it in the Low Budget poll). I try to pick the most credible number in these cases. I suspect some the other films may have had post-production work, but it was either not reported or shifted to the marketing budget due the PR value of an underdog story. I think posting the initial budget is the fairest way to put these films on a level playing field, with a note of verified additional work on the completed film in the interest of full disclosure. Likewise, box office can be suspect too especially on older films and pre-internet box office reporting.

Bottom-line, It is not a black-white issue. I tried to avoid the more suspect options and make the best of the imperfect data available often erring on the side of caution, while accounting for any systematic biases.
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leavey-2

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urbanemovies

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one of my favorite micros, a great example of the intangibles that go into film-making that money cant buy.
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urbanemovies

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bump
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LD

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urbanemovies

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thanks
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urbanemovies

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bump
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Jessica, Champion

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Another Earth

Typo: less.than
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urbanemovies

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corrections made, paragraph simplified

"Micro-budgeted movies are made with a production budget of less than $400,000 US Dollars. These shoestring budgeted movies are often made by aspiring writers, directors and actors. Some are early projects by big budget blockbuster directors and actors before they became stars. Regardless, these micro budget films strike a chord with the moviegoers, showcase incredible talent and became huge box office smashes or find other post-box office success  as rental, video sales or streaming hits."
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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I like the idea a lot. I'll have to deliberate on my vote.

'Requested edits below in bold:

Micro-budgeted movies are made with a production budget of less than $400,000 US Dollars. These shoestring budgeted movies are often made by aspiring writers, directors and actors. Some are early projects by big budget blockbuster directors and actors before they became stars. Regardless, these micro budget films struck a chord with the moviegoers, showcased incredible talent and became huge box office smashes or found other post-box office success as rental, video sales or streaming hits.

(For verb agreement because "became" in that sentence is past-tense.)
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Jessica, Champion

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urbanemovies

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thanks
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Congratulations urbanemovies on your 171st live poll! As of 18-Jan-2018 5:24 AM Pacific your polls have 255,379 or more votes, for an average of 1,493 votes per poll.

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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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Haven't been through all the replies, so I don't know is it was suggested, but Evil Dead should definitely be on any such list.
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urbanemovies

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Thanks, Evil Dead is a good suggestion, but its budget of between $350,000 – 400,000 exceeded the $250,000 limit set in the question.Which wildly successful micro budgeted movie* made for initially less than $250,000 is your favorite? * based on initial completed film budgets. However, It is listed in the companion poll: Low Budget Movies That Paid Off Big for movies with budgets between $250,000 < $1,500,000.  Also, in today's dollars the 1981 film would cost about million dollars to produce, reinforcing it belongs in the low-budget classification.

The Evil Dead (1981) Director: Sam Raimi
Budget: $350,000
Box Office: $2,400,000 * US Box Office only
Profit %: 586%
* launched Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell careers and Evil Dead franchise
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urbanemovies

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Added answer option #32  Dolemite (1975), the micro-budget movie that was the basis for 2020 potential Oscar-nominated Dolemite Is My Name (2019) to answer pool.

Dolemite 1975 | Movie 5.8 (3,967)
Actors: Rudy Ray Moore, D'Urville Martin
Budget: $100,000
Box Office: $12,000,000
Profit %: 11,900%
(Edited)