15 Horror Movies That Offered the Most Bang for the Buck

Paramount Pictures
"Paranormal Activity 4"

Low-budget horror films in recent years have produced the highest profit margins in Hollywood history, redefining how studios make and market films. Plus, TV's most influential players in the genre.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Nearly everything about horror movies is less expensive than typical Hollywood releases: production costs, development and star salaries. (Example: Insidious: Chapter 2 cost $5 million and is nearing $90 million at the worldwide box office.) Marketing horror also is cheaper and far more reliant on digital media than traditional TV and print ad buys, allowing the cost of a typical release to drop to the $25 million to $40 million range. 

PHOTOS: 15 Horror Movies That Offered the Most Bang for the Buck

With younger audiences, traditional research tools can't always predict how a horror movie will do. "As a result, people seem massively surprised when these films have huge opening weekends," says Universal marketing president Josh Goldstine. "But there are other indicators out in the marketplace, whether by social listening or by just talking to people who like horror movies. You can tell from them the heat coming off a film."

PHOTOS: Before They Were Stars: A-Listers Who Survived Their Horror-Movie Past


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