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I'm interested to know if there is a list of movies ranked by cost-to-earning ratio, defined as something like (box-office sales) / (film budget).

Some data which can be used to construct such a list is on Wikipedia, often listed in the info box for each film under 'Budget' and 'Box office'.

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    I found this list as of Aug. 2010. – Ben Plont Dec 18 '14 at 3:07
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Yes there is. I found it at the-numbers.com. I will work on formatting this better.

Most Profitable Movies, Based on Return on Investment

Release Date    Movie                Approx. Profit   Production Budget   RoI

1. 9/25/2009    Paranormal Activity     $89,780,985       $450,000            19,851%
2. 1/6/2012     The Devil Inside        $36,949,635       $1,000,000          3,595%
3. 2/5/1953     Peter Pan               $142,332,969      $4,000,000          3,458%
4. 6/16/1978    Grease                  $189,188,276      $6,000,000          3,053%
5. 10/20/2010   Paranormal Activity 2   $77,214,730       $3,000,000          2,474%
6. 4/1/2011     Insidious               $34,040,932       $1,500,000          2,169%
7. 12/15/1974   Young Frankenstein      $58,701,733       $2,800,000          1,996%
8. 6/20/1975    Jaws                    $220,623,623      $12,000,000         1,739%
9. 10/23/1992   Reservoir Dogs          $20,786,095       $1,200,000          1,632%
10. 11/13/1991  Beauty and the Beast    $283,654,939      $20,000,000         1,318%
11. 11/26/2010  The King’s Speech       $196,426,531      $15,000,000         1,210%
12. 6/29/2012   Magic Mike              $88,182,596       $7,000,000          1,160%
13. 3/21/2014   God’s Not Dead          $24,136,550       $2,000,000          1,107%
14. 6/7/2013    The Purge               $35,468,349       $3,000,000          1,082%
15. 11/12/2008  Slumdog Millionaire     $162,937,753      $14,000,000         1,064%
16. 12/3/2010   Black Swan              $148,172,204      $13,000,000         1,040%
17. 1/1/1946    It's a Wonderful Life   $36,110,583       $3,180,000          1,036%
18. 6/6/2014    The Fault in Our Stars  $135,145,223      $12,000,000         1,026%
19. 6/5/2009    The Hangover            $382,908,235      $35,000,000         994%
20. 8/27/2010   The Last Exorcism       $19,230,678       $1,800,000          968%
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    Cool, thanks! Besides including what I was after (profit ratio), I also like the other rankings by things like absolute profit. It's amazing that Avatar generated nearly $3Bn USD in worldwide revenue! – sharky Dec 18 '14 at 3:14
  • yeah it's a cool website! – Ben Plont Dec 18 '14 at 3:21
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    Looks like horror movies are cheap to make and bring in a truck load of money. Now I know why there are so many crappy ones. – bobbyalex Dec 18 '14 at 5:49
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    @BobbyAlexander Yeah, of course, make some shaky hand-held footage with your home webcam and put some scary sound effects into it. Then just claim it was found in some old deserted house and you're a made man. ;-) – Napoleon Wilson Dec 18 '14 at 11:58
  • I think "Mad Max" held the record for budget-to-profit ratio for 20 years or so. Does this list include Australian-made movies? – John Jeffery May 19 '15 at 8:25
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I always thought American Graffiti held this record.

According to wiki, this is correct.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Graffiti

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  • Thank you for assisting the community. Ideas for framing an answer may include describing your sources along with a synopsis of what they said (did not do), and/or adding links to the resources and visuals you’ve found (did do). I hope you enjoy participating. – John Jan 7 '17 at 21:13
  • I went to this source, and found statements that read "... one of the most ..." (or similar). But the question is asking about the a list of highest ... – John Jan 7 '17 at 21:16

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