Hollywood accounting relies on a complicated series of blurry expenditures and tax dodges, making most released movies show a loss, no matter how great their box office numbers are. We pulled some numbers from Wikipedia to double check our own since Hollywood’s making it so difficult to pin down the real budget for films.
1 of 10 10. Waterworld (1995)
Adjusted Budget: $266M
Box Office: $264.2M
Waterworld was plagued with production issues, including the destruction of a multimillion-dollar set by a hurricane, rewrites of the script and score, and the inherent difficulties of filming in water. The budget very publicly ballooned to the point that it was the most expensive movie ever made, and with press like that, it was set up for a fall. It must be said that the novelty of a water apocalypse stands out today in a media landscape choked with apocalypses (and the film is slowly gaining a cult of apologists), but it took a span of home video sales and TV broadcasts for the movie to even break even.