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Top 10 Insanely Expensive Music Videos

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Sean Harris First, 'video killed the radio star', and then it went and robbed the bank as well. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 insanely expensive music videos! For this list, we've looked at the best big budget music videos. Special thanks to our user Mark Jovy Galo Cagula for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Insanely Expensive Music Videos


First, ‘video killed the radio star’, and then it went and robbed the bank as well. Welcome to Watchmojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 insanely expensive music videos!

For this list, we’ve looked at the best big budget music videos. Although all of today’s entries are incredibly costly, today’s countdown is not purely a statistical list of those that cost the most.

#10: “Cartoon Heroes” (2000)
Aqua

Euro-disco-pop simply doesn’t get any better than this, or more expensive. “Cartoon Heroes” was released only a month into the current millennium, as Aqua’s first record for over 14 months, and after the bubble-gum brilliance of “Barbie Girl”. Though it never hit the heady heights of its predecessor, it did perfectly sum up what Aqua were all about; clean, catchy, comic-inspired fun. And the over $3m video certainly captured attention. It took us outer space, underwater, everywhere in between, and definitively proved that ‘what they do really is what we wish to do’!

#9: “Larger Than Life” (1999)
Backstreet Boys

From the very beginning, as a giant spaceship passes over the camera akin to Star Wars, while playing the Backstreet Boys’ back catalogue, it’s clear that the next four minutes are gonna be boy-band epic! And for $2.1m it certainly should be! “Larger Than Life” was released as the second single from the band’s Millennium album, and this clip is a shiny sneak peak at what the next 1000 years could offer. As the five band members each find themselves in ‘out of this world’ situations, we’re left to sing-along and to contemplate the weird robot world to which we’re headed.

#8: “Heartbreaker” (1999)
Mariah Carey feat. Jay Z

The cheating boyfriend in our next song breaks hearts, but the video accompaniment breaks the bank. Costing over $2.5 million, it sees Mariah Carey play herself and her own love rival, as part of a plot in which Mariah’s boyfriend, for some unimaginable reason, tries to two-time the legendary pop star. There are dancing ushers and animated sections, but the Mariah-on-Mariah ladies’ bathroom showdown has to be the highlight. “Heartbreaker” is not only set in the movie theatre, it’s worthy of Hollywood itself.

#7: “2 Legit 2 Quit” (1991)
MC Hammer feat. Saja

Not only is this one of the most expensive videos ever, it’s also one of the longest and one of the least well remembered… It’s packed full of famous faces though – including John Belushi, Henry Winkler, Queen Latifah and James Brown. It also features a levitating Mr. Hammer, a whole load of pyrotechnics, and the glitter gloved hand of someone who may or may not be Michael Jackson. It’s got all of that, but yet it’s still regularly remembered as one of the worst music videos of the ‘90s. You just can’t pay for popularity.

#6: “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (1996)
Celine Dion

A song written by Jim Steinman, originally recorded by girl group, Pandora’s Box, and forever coveted by Meatloaf who waited most of his career to perform it, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” was made most famous by French-Canadian songstress, Celine Dion. The $2.3m video, is filmed mostly in the summer palace of the Austrian emperor, and the clip’s moody atmosphere is the epitome of gothic grandeur. It’s forever compared to the video for another Steinman number, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, but the latter cost substantially less to make.

#5: “Victory” (1998)
Puff Daddy feat. The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes

Dennis Hopper and Danny DeVito both feature in our next video, which sees Puff Daddy at the height of his powers, and the Notorious B.I.G. bought back to life. The late rapper stars posthumously in “Victory”, which also features a feather-clad Busta Rhymes spitting lyrics from the shoulders of statues. In general, there’s a very ominous feel about this clip, which is all heavy rain and raging fire. And the grisly, ghostly, gloomy effect didn’t come cheap, with production costs running beyond $2.7 million.

#4: “Estranged” (1994)
Guns N’ Roses

Directed by Andy Morahan, the video for “Estranged” is the third instalment to a Guns ‘n’ Roses trilogy, with “Don’t Cry” and “November Rain” preceding it. Just like the previous two, it’s an epic, all-encompassing narrative with Axl Rose at its core, and Slash taking centre stage for some particularly incredible scenes – it doesn’t get much more rock ‘n’ roll than shredding your guitar while walking on water! By the end of this $4 million video your emotions have been drained almost as much as the production team’s finances!

#3: “Black or White” (1991)
Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson made a habit of making big budget videos. The videos for both “Thriller” and “Bad” were the most expensive ever seen at the time of their release, but Jacko’s costliest video as a solo performer accompanies the 1991 single, “Black or White”. Costing $4m and directed by John Landis, who also took the chair for “Thriller”, it sees the moonwalking pop icon dance his way across the planet, aided by classic-era Macaulay Culkin. Clocking in at 11 minutes the video has the rare distinction of debuting simultaneously to a global audience of 500 million people across 27 different countries.

#2: “Die Another Day” (2002)
Madonna

Another icon, and another star consistently rewriting the record books for music video expense. 1995’s “Bedtime Story” and 1989’s “Express Yourself” both smashed spending records when they were released, but the video for the 2002 James Bond theme, “Die Another Day”, almost cost more than the other two combined. It’s an entirely original Madonna clip, though the influence of Bond is clear, and another example of seeing double, as the singer does battle with herself. With a $6.1 million price tag, there has only ever been one video more expensive than this…

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“What’s It Gonna Be!?” (1999)
Busta Rhymes feat. Janet Jackson

“Miami” (1998)
Will Smith

“Freeek!” (2002)
George Michael

#1: “Scream” (1995)
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson

Michael Jackson appears on our pricey podium for a second time, but he shares first place with his sister, Janet. The ultra-modern, monochrome video accompaniment to “Scream” reportedly required $7 million to make. And, although director Mark Romanek has refuted its status as the most expensive of all time, it’s listed in the Guinness World Records as being exactly that. The Jackson siblings really look the part though, and it’s not hard to see where all the money went. “Scream” is an abundance of special effects and arty cinematography. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can get you a place in music video history!


Do you agree with our list? Which costly clip did we miss? For more outrageously expensive top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to Watchmojo.com.
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