Top 7 Most Successful Low-Budget Movies

7. Mad Max
Budget: $350,000-400,000
Box office: $100,000,000

Back in 1979, an unknown actor named Mel Gibson starred in an Australian movie production called “Mad Max.” Despite the film’s very limited budget and somewhat amateur crew, it went on to become a top-grossing Australian film and spawned multiple sequels and a remake.

6. Night of the Living Dead
Budget: $114,000
Box office: $42 million

This 1968 horror film was the very first zombie movie in existence. In fact, the term “zombie” didn’t even come about until after this film. With this movie, a new supernatural creature was born; and because of its popularity, many more zombie films soon followed.

5. Halloween
Budget: $325,000
Box office: $70 million

Jamie Lee Curtis made her feature film debut in the 1978 film “Halloween,” a low-budget horror masterpiece that went on to become one of the most popular horror franchises of all time.

4. The Evil Dead
Budget: $350,000-400,000
Box office: $29,400,000

Another movie series with an extremely loyal cult following was jump started upon the release of “The Evil Dead” in 1981. The movie has received a 100% positive rating on, and it is widely considered to be one of the greatest horror films of all time.

3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Budget: $5 million
Box office: $368,744,044

This Canadian-American sleeper had a low budget and equally low expectations, but went on to become the highest-grossing romantic comedy in history. Considering it never reached number one at the box office during its time in theaters, that was quite a feat to pull off!

2. The Blair Witch Project
Budget: $500,000-750,000
Box office: $248,639,099

Widely regarded as one of the most successful low-budget films of all time, “The Blair Witch Project” became a cultural phenomenon upon its release in 1999.  Filming only lasted for eight days and was entirely done with handheld video cameras, but word of mouth and an expertly executed marketing campaign led to its success.

1. Paranormal Activity
Budget: $15,000
Box office: $193,355,800

Finally, the 2007 supernatural horror film “Paranormal Activity” takes the cake as the most successful low budget movie of all time. With a teeny-tiny budget and massive critical and commercial success, it’s no wonder that the franchise has expanded to include a seemingly endless string of sequels and prequels.
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