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The ROI on the Top Grossing Movies of 2013

Posted On
12/16/2013
By
SurePayroll

The top grossing movies at the box office in 2013 were a mix of critically acclaimed films like Gravity and big budget disappointments like Man of Steel. But of course, on The Payroll Blog we don’t particularly care about the artistic merit of the cinema these days. We’re more interested in the business aspect. That’s why we were so impressed with the Twilight series Does spending big necessarily mean big success? Are your profits growing along with your revenue?

So like we did last year with the movies, we wanted to take a look at which movies from 2013 got the biggest return on their investment. After all, if you're going to spend $200 million on a movie,like they did with Iron Man 3, you'd better make an awesome return. So of the top 10 box office winners of 2013, let's take a look at which ones achieved the biggest return on investment. Then we'll look at some small movie successes and see if you can make a great profit out a relatively minor investment.

The ROI on the Top Grossing Movies of 2013 [Sortable Chart]

Movie ROI Box Office Rank Total Gross Cost
Despicable Me 2 383.16% 2 $367,200,710.00 $76,000,000.00
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 163.09% 3 $342,022,652.00 $130,000,000.00
Gravity 151.89% 6 $251,894,418.00 $100,000,000.00
Iron Man 3 104.51% 1 $409,013,994.00 $200,000,000.00
Fast & Furious 6 49.17% 7 $238,679,850.00 $160,000,000.00
Monsters University 34.24% 5 $268,472,408.00 $200,000,000.00
Man of Steel 29.35% 4 $291,045,518.00 $225,000,000.00
Star Trek Into Darkness 20.41% 9 $228,778,661.00 $190,000,000.00
Oz The Great and Powerful 9.26% 8 $234,911,825.00 $215,000,000.00
World War Z 6.51% 10 $202,359,711.00 $190,000,000.00

Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo

If you're one of the producers of World War Z or Oz the Great and Powerful, you might have some explaining to do. But neither are anywhere near as bad as the performance of The Lone Ranger, which lost more than $125 million, a negative return of nearly 60 percent. Ouch. Other movies that lost money (domestically at least) this year include G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pacific Rim and the Tom Cruise sci-fi flop Oblivion.

However, you're laughing all the way to the bank if you're behind the Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy comedy The Heat, which had an ROI of 270 percent. It only cost $43 million to make and grossed nearly $160 million. Not bad. Other big winners include Lee Daniels' The Butler, We're the Millers and Identity Thief.

It goes to show a big investment does not always equal a big return.