The most expensive movie ever made, “Warcraft,” cost a whopping $160 million to produce.
The most expensive movie ever made is a film that was released in 2023. It cost $1,000 to make and grossed $2 billion worldwide. Read more in detail here: most expensive movie ever made 2023
I was thinking about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides this week, as I frequently do. The image of Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest made me think of it, as did the tweet that stated, “Still can’t believe this was CGI work from 2006.” True, the CGI in the first Pirates film was excellent in 2003 and has aged nicely, and the CGI in the second and third films, as noted by one Twitter user, looks as good as anything released fourteen and fifteen years later.
The first three films are also well-remembered and well-liked by moviegoers. However, little is known about the fourth and fifth films. Even when adjusted for inflation, On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment in the series, is the most costly film ever made. It’s an unusual distinction for a film that was universally hated by critics.
According to my research, the film’s total cost was $410 million, which does not include the tax credit Disney received for shooting in the United Kingdom. Even when all budgets are adjusted for inflation, it is still more costly than Avengers: Age of Ultron, its closest competitor. The budget is comparable to the gross domestic product of some of the world’s smallest nations.
Now, getting into the specifics of the budget is a little more difficult since not all of that information seems to be publicly available, but with a little research, some facts regarding this $410 million price tag may be discovered.
One of the possible elements that aids in the formation of a clear image is star power. Although Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley had left the series, this film included Penelope Cruz, who was most likely a major portion of the budget. We’ll never know how much series regulars Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally earned, but they were obviously paid well enough to return. But, whatever they came up with, it was probably nothing compared to one of the cast members.
One financial figure that keeps cropping up is that Johnny Depp was paid $55 million for On Stranger Tides, which is certainly more money than you or I will ever earn in our lifetimes. Given that Depp wasn’t very enthusiastic about filming a fourth Pirates film, it was understandable that he would want such a hefty compensation. Following the departure of his buddy, Disney exec Dick Cook, from the company before to the filming of On Stranger Tides, Depp expressed his dissatisfaction with the fourth film. Despite the concerns of other studio officials, Cook was partly responsible for making Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow feasible in the first film. Depp subsequently admitted that he was overpaid for the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Practical issues are something that may definitely arise in a film like this. For example, George R.R. Martin has often said that several scripted sequences in the early seasons of Game of Thrones had to be altered due to the prohibitive cost of horses. Pirates filming aboard a ship would be the equal of that. Filming in some places, particularly on the sea, may be difficult. The more sequences shot on the water, the higher the budget.
The CGI expenditure may have been the greatest drain on the budget. It’s interesting to consider since this film isn’t generally regarded as having the finest CGI in the series – yes, there are CGI mermaids, but they’re not like as detailed as the crew from Curse of the Black Pearl, and definitely not as impressive as Davy Jones. Almost a dozen separate firms seem to have been contracted to create the CGI in this picture. If you go to the IMDb cast and crew page for this film and use ctrl+F to locate “Visual Effects by,” you’ll see the names of everyone who worked on the VFX for it, and if you scroll down, you’ll see hundreds of names from a variety of VFX firms. Legend 3D, ILM, MPC, Reliance Media Works, Cinesite, Ollin VFX, Hydraulx, Pixel Liberation Front, and others were among the firms participating. (For what it’s worth, ILM is the only one I’m familiar with.) I’m not an expert on Hollywood finances, and we don’t know how much it cost, but surely there has to be a less costly way to accomplish it.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this film’s financials is that it surpassed the $1 billion dollar milestone when it was released. Regardless of whether or not this film is memorable or excellent, it certainly earned a lot of money. It was the sixth highest-grossing film of all time, which seems impressive; however, with three Star Wars sequels, two Jurassic Park sequels, multiple Fast and Furious sequels, Disney’s live-action remakes of their classic films, and the majority of the MCU, most notably the four Avengers films, On Stranger Tides has risen to the 38th highest-grossing film of all time.
One oddity is that On Stranger Tides is the only Pirates film not available on Disney+ owing to streaming agreements, as if it never occurred. It’s now available on Starz’s streaming service, so if you’re one of the lucky 10 individuals who has the Starz app, have fun! Starz’s rights to the film will presumably expire, and it will ultimately make its way to Disney+, but who knows.
So, although it’s unclear where each dollar of the budget went, it seems that this explains at least part of the $410 million. It’s fascinating to consider what factors influence the price of a film. On Stranger Tides made a lot of money since it was part of the Pirates franchise, but it’s fascinating to examine how movies with a lot of CGI and proportionally large budgets – like 2019’s Alita: Battle Angel – have to pass a higher threshold to be deemed franchise-able. Making back your budget isn’t nearly enough; you’ll need to earn a lot more.
But I believe the most important issue regarding On Stranger Tides isn’t how much it cost, but if it was any good. In my next article, I’ll be seeing the film and giving it a critical review to see how excellent a film you can create for $410 million.
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The pirates of the caribbean: on stranger tides budget is a movie that has been in production for over 10 years. It was released in 2017 and had an estimated budget of $400 million.
Frequently Asked Questions
What has been the most expensive movie ever made?
The most expensive movie ever made is the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King which had a budget of $300 million.
What was the most successful movie of all time?
The most successful movie of all time is Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Why was Pirates of the Caribbean 4 so expensive?
Pirates of the Caribbean 4 was so expensive because it was a Disney movie.