Top 10 Insanely Expensive Sci-Fi Movies Ever Made

Written by Noah Levy Science fiction is not cheap, and these movies broke the bank in order to bring their cinematic endeavours to the big screen. WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Most Expensive Sci-fi Movies Ever Made! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be John Carter, Transformers: The Last Knight, or Avengers: Age of Ultron? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to governmentfree for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Insanely+Expensive+Sci-Fi+Movies+Ever+Made
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It’s not cheap to create superheroes, alien worlds, and colorful explosions. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Insanely Expensive Modern Sci-Fi Movies Ever Made.

For this list, we’re looking at modern films residing in the science-fiction genre with reported huge price tags, mostly in the range of $200 million or above. Because $200 million+ budgets only became standard around the turn of the millennium, we’re also limiting our picks to movies that were released after 2000.

#10: “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006)


While they weren’t exactly cheap, the first two X-Men films weren’t incredibly expensive, ending up with budgets of $75 million and $110 million respectively. But for the last film in the original trilogy, director Brett Ratner went all out, and “The Last Stand” cashed out at $210 million. It became the most expensive movie ever at the time of its release. Despite its mixed critical reception, everyone agreed that the money was put to good use, like the great makeup work on Kelsey Grammer’s Beast, and awesome action scenes, including the final battle on Alcatraz. The budgets of the next few “X-Men” films would mellow out until 2014 with the $200 million spent on “Days of Future Past.”

#9: “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (2014)


Michael Bay’s fourth stab at the “Transformers” franchise turned out to be his most expensive at the time, priced at $210 million. This isn’t surprising, as the movie is almost three straight hours of explosions, property damage, mech battles, and Mark Wahlberg stunts. VFX supervisor Scott Farrar even said that the film contains about an hour and a half of visual effects, and that it was the largest project his crew had ever taken on. As per usual, the critics trashed the film, but that didn’t stop it from making over a billion bucks worldwide, earning its budget back several times.

#8: “Men in Black 3” (2012)


The “MIB” franchise had been dormant for a full decade, so Sony made sure to throw a ton of cash at the third movie when it finally came out. Agent J’s journey back to the ‘60s to save Agent K was one of the most expensive films of 2012, coming in at $215 million. Costs went to recreating 1969 New York City and the Apollo 11 launch at Cape Canaveral, as well as the slick, high-tech Men in Black aesthetic, including neuralizers, ray guns, and aliens. The big investments paid off, as “MIB 3” ended up with over $600 Million worldwide.

#7: “Man of Steel” (2013)


This reboot of the Man of Tomorrow had a lot of tasks to pull off. It had to properly reimagine Superman for a new generation and kickstart the DC Extended Universe. While it’s still debated how successful the film was in these areas, nobody can debate that Zack Snyder made a visually incredible film in “Man of Steel.” With a budget of $225 million, Snyder was able radically reinvent Krypton into a fallen utopia, create epic battle scenes between Kal-El and Zod, and shoot some of the best flight sequences in the entire Superman mythos. “Man of Steel” didn’t end up being the monster success Warner Bros. wanted, but still took in $668 million worldwide.

#6: “Avatar” (2009)


We’re surprised that the highest grossing film of all time, made up of almost entirely CGI and motion capture performances, isn’t higher on the list. That doesn’t mean James Cameron’s opus didn’t cost a pretty penny, with a final budget of $237 million. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably can tell what all the money went to. The world of Pandora and the Na’vi were considered photorealistic, and the film pioneered groundbreaking 3D filmmaking techniques that filmmakers are still trying to effectively recreate. It’s good to know that while we wait for “Avatar 2,” “3,” “4,” and “5,” we can always go back and marvel at how incredible the original looks.

#5: “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (2015)


Even though the “Star Wars” prequels are widely known for their use of CGI, their budgets never reached huge levels of spending. The first “Star Wars” film to break the $200 million barrier was the first in the long-awaited sequel trilogy. J.J. Abrams wanted the movie to be a perfect blend of old and new, using classic practical effects for as many things as he could, and the best CG effects they could manage. This combination of classic and futuristic technology priced the film at $245 million. Obviously, the film joined the exclusive 2 Billion Dollars Club when it came to the box office, and all of the effects were commended for their quality.

#4: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)


Take basically everything that was in “Man of Steel,” add Batman, Wonder Woman, Doomsday, and bite-sized “Justice League” teasers, and you have this beast of a film. As a concept that comic readers and film fans have wanted for decades, DC and Zack Snyder knew they had to go all out to bring the confrontation between the Son of Krypton and Bat of Gotham to the big screen, resulting in a budget of $250 million. Despite receiving a mixed reception from critics and audiences, the money certainly paid off visually with the titular battle being a highlight. While many felt the film still underperformed at the box office, it’s hard to complain about $873 million worldwide.

#3: “Transformers: The Last Knight” (2017)


Proving once again that the only person who can out-Michael Bay Michael Bay is in fact, Michael Bay, the director blew up the budget again for his fifth go-around in the franchise. Even the lowest estimates for the price of “The Last Knight” are more than the previous film’s total budget at $217 million, and the highest coming in at $260 million as of July 2017. Placing the Cybertronians in periods like Medieval Times and World War II, in addition to the trademark Bayhem, it’s once again not hard to see why it cost so much. With Bay reportedly done with the franchise, only time will tell if a more fiscally conservative director will take the reins of the series.

#2: “John Carter” (2012)


Disney was hoping that the classic story from Edgar Rice Burroughs, the rising star power of Taylor Kitsch, and one of the biggest budgets Hollywood had ever seen would make “John Carter” into their new star franchise. The film had a price tag of over $250 million, most of which went to creating the CG rendered world of Mars, its strange aliens, and the film’s epic battle scenes. However, it failed to show a profit and the planned sequels were subsequently cancelled. “John Carter” stands out as one of the biggest financial duds ever to come out of the Mouse House, but at least they have several other blockbuster franchises to pick up the slack.


Before we reveal our top pick, here are a couple honorable mentions:

“Battleship” (2012)

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

“Superman Returns” (2006)


#1: “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)


Few films have been riskier than the culmination of the first phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So how do you top the most successful superhero of all time? Pump its budget into the stratosphere. “Age of Ultron” cost nearly $270 million, almost $50 million more than the first “Avengers,” and the third most expensive single production to date. This inflation was expected, though, as “Age of Ultron” added a bunch of new characters and featured epic sequences, like Iron Man vs. the Hulk and saving an entire city from being dropped back onto the Earth. We can’t even begin to imagine what the budget for “Avengers: Infinity War” is going to be.
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