10 Movies That Made Hundreds of Millions in Box-Office Dollars And Yet Somehow Showed No Profit

film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

10 Movies That Made Hundreds of Millions in Box-Office Dollars And Yet Somehow Showed No Profit

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 19, 2013 | Comments ()

Darth Vader Return of the Jedi.jpg

You may think that Hollywood movie making in the studio system is a hugely profitable enterprise, but not if you talked to Hollywood accountants. Sure, studios love to trumpet their huge box-office numbers, but when it comes to directors, actors, and writers collecting their back-end profits, studios suddenly change their tune. The Lord of the Rings trilogy made nearly $3 billion at the box office, for instance. Oh, sure, that’s what it looks like to the outside observer, but to a Hollywood accountant, the trilogy actually lost money.

“Hollywood accounting” is a neat trick the studios use to avoid paying back-end profits to those contractually obligated to them. It works something like this: Say, a Warners Brother movie makes $300 million at the box office, but it costs $100 million to make. That’s $200 million profit, right? Well, not so fast! Don’t forget about the $75 million is distribution costs (who gets paid that $75 million? Oh, Warner Brothers!), another $75 million in advertising costs (most of which is paid to Warners Brothers), and $50 million in interest (again, Warner Brothers paying itself to finance the film), and suddenly, that $200 million net revenue equals zero profit (and yet, Warner Brothers made $200 million, essentially by paying itself to ensure it lost a profit).

It’s a shady business, this Hollywood accounting (and fortunately, courts have been turning against it when lawsuits are brought). Still, here are 10 films that you would think showed a huge profit, but according to the Hollywood accountants, they all either lost millions of dollars, or never made a profit (meaning those owed back-end profits didn’t receive a dime).

1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding cost $6 million to make and made over $350 million at the box office, and yet lost $20 million.

2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy made over $2.9 billion in box office, and yet showed “horrendous losses.”

3. Return of the Jedi made $475 million on a $32 million budget, yet has never shown a profit.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix made $939 million worldwide, and yet ended up with a $167 million loss.

5. Forrest Gump earned $667 million, yet shows a loss of $31 million.

6. JFK earned $150 million worldwide but showed $0 in profit.

7. Coming to America made $288 million in revenue, yet showed no profit.

8. Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 made $220 million worldwide, and yet apparently showed no profit.

9. The Exorcism of Emily Rose made $150 million on a $19 million budget and turned no profit.

10. Batman, which made $411 million worldwide, showed a $36 million deficit.

Pajiba Love Express
Here's some Daveed Diggs for you. On Daveed Diggs' digs, actually. That man does things with clothes that should not make sense, but are absolutely perfect. (Go Fug Yourself)

Woody Allen has "so moved on" from his daughter's accusations and says he never even thinks about it. He equates her words about him to a bad review he won't read and comments on how wacky it is that Mia Farrow is his mother-in-law. He is the worst. (Celebitchy)

Not The Worst but still very gross: Leonardo DiCaprio and his Pussy Posse Wolf Pack were on the douche prowl in NYC. (Lainey)

Here are 5 under-the-radar shows. I had never even heard of the first two. (Uproxx)

Bigots, Trolls & MRAs Are Not Welcome in the Comments

Recent Reviews

Recent News

Privacy Policy