This 1926 movie isn’t any normal film because it is a silent comedy movie inspired by a true event during the American Civil War. It stands as one of the most revered comedies in the silent era, which bears a lot of cinematic quantities that make viewers entertained.
The scene where an old train was blown up on an actual bridge is a real set, which costs about $42,000 to make. In today’s money, the equivalent would be $500,000.
The classic 1964 musical film, Hello, Dolly is a box office hit with more than $26 million in gross earnings. The gorgeous Barbara Streisand graced the big screen with a lot of dancing and singing on an elegant set staged in what appeared to be a restaurant, foyer, dance floor, and a bar.
According to the Classic Movie Hub, the set for the Harmonia Gardens took a month to film. The set was staged at the Fox Studios featuring three levels with a variety of large ornate fountains and ivory furniture. This set alone cost $375,000 to make or equivalent to $2 million today.
Cost: $1 million
In WarGames, the movie revolves around a particular set called the command centre, which has a sophisticated supercomputer with surveillance capabilities. This set replicates the North American Aerospace Defense Command Center, which is an air force base and operational control center.
Even though the movie was in 1983, the set looks futuristic and features a huge LED screen, computers, and other control systems. All these were possible with a huge set budget of $1 million, for only this one particular set.
Cost: $1.2 million
At the time when Metropolis film was made, it landed the top spot for the most expensive movie ever made. The reasons for that are the massive sets and visual elements, which cost $1.2 million to create. Nobody is exaggerating when they said Metropolis is huge and expensive, even to this day.
The movie opened a new genre in filmmaking that led to the birth of famous Sci-Fi films like The Matrix Reload, Batman Films, Dark City, and others.
Cost: $1.5 million
The iconic highway chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded is a true work of art that isn’t meant for shallow pockets. The set alone cost about $1.5 million to make because of the building of the mile and a half long stretch of road and 19-foot concrete walls.
To this date, the movie is considered a masterpiece with a futuristic set and phenomenal actors. The storyline hooked a lot of viewers, which is why the trilogy is a blockbuster.
Cost: $2.5 million
Some crazy film directors, like D.W. Griffith, build a 300-foot tall replica of the Great Wall of Babylon. This may not come as a surprise when you think about the cost of the set, which reached $2.5 million.
Intolerance’s Babylon set was once an iconic landmark in Hollywood until it was dismantled in 1919. It used to be a symbol of Hollywood extravagance years after the movie was made.
Cost: $4 million
Another movie director who decided to go down a different road and actually build a war-torn city is Fedor Bondarchuk. In the movie Stalingrad, it took 400 workers six months to build a war-torn city. The price tag? A staggering $4 million for the set alone.
Even if the price to pay is huge, it was all worth it because the set brought the story to life and critics applauded the jaw-dropping visuals.
Cost: $8 million
Speaking of expensive movie sets means mentioning the movie Ben-Hur. The best words to describe this film are big and scale. From 10,000 extras, 100 wardrobe technicians and 300 sets, the movie is literally groundbreaking.
The 300 sets were made by 1,000 workers, creating massive stadium out of a rock quarry. The cost reached $8 million, which is considerable, with a lot of carpenters, architects, and artists involved.
Cost: $70 million
James Cameron is not a stranger to multi-million movie set budgets. In fact, in his iconic film, Titanic, a staggering $70 million budget was needed to build a 90% scale replica of the original ship. $17 million alone was used to create the set out of a 17-million gallon tank.
According to reports, the $200 million budget of the film is more expensive than the real ship. In the end, it was all worth it because the film became a hit and is not a timeless classic.
Cost: $281 million
The set of The Lord of the Rings trilogy requires a lot of money to make. The intricate details required and the size of the set justified the $281 million budget for the production set. This is to achieve the fantasy world that supports the setting of the story.
Because of the masterpiece that came about creating the set, the people behind it decided to make it a tourist attraction for fans to visit.
Because the design, build, and overall look of the set affects the quality of the movie, no expense is spared. The films listed here are only some of the most recognized sets in history but the future of film is ever-expanding. In the years to come, a new breed of films can be introduced, with movie set budgets hitting a new record.
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