As cinema becomes more global, we’re seeing a rise in Bollywood budgets over the years as they’re made to appeal to audiences across the world. There have been some movies that have had such high budgets that they would fit right in with Hollywood blockbusters like those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Out of all of the Bollywood films, here are the five most expensive to make and how they performed at the box office.
RRR is not only one of the most action-packed movies in Bollywood, but it’s one of the most well-known action films around the world. Released by DVV Productions in 2022, RRR was directed by S.S. Rajamouli and stars N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan as friends that fight against the British Raj of the 1920s.
The film was delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which inflated the budget a bit higher than it was originally intended to be. The budget ended up being just over $70 million, but that was nothing compared to what it made at the box office. RRR made over $175 million, making it the highest-grossing film with only Telugu as the primary language.
2.0 earned was released in 2018 as the sequel to the sci-fi Bollywood film Enthiran. The films follow the creation of the man-made android humanoid robot, Chitti, and the drama that ensues. 2.0 was produced by Lyca Productions and directed by B. Jeyamohan, Madhan Karky, and S. Shankar who also is credited with co-writing the film.
The film cost an incredible ₹600 crore, $87.73 million US, making it the second-most expensive Bollywood film ever made. When it was first released, 2.0 became the fifth highest-grossing movie in Indian history with an estimated $91 million to $117 million.
Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva
Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva is an action-packed fantasy film released in 2022 and is the first installment of the future three-film franchise known as the Astraverse. It cost a whopping ₹410 crore, $59.95 million US. Brahmāstra would end up losing money, though. The film grossed $54 million at the box office, making it a minor flop despite being one of the 20 highest-grossing films in India.
The film follows lovebirds, Isha and Shiva, who fight to keep powerful celestial weapons from falling into the wrong hands, including the most powerful of all, the Brahmāstra. The film was produced in part by Dharma Productions, Starlight Productions, Prime Focus, and Star Studios. It was directed by the film’s creator and writer, Ayan Mukerji.
Saaho is full of action, crime, and dramatic intensity. The Bollywood film was released in 2019, produced by UV Creations, and directed by the film’s creator and writer Sujeeth. The film follows a pair of covert operatives as they delve deeper into a tangled web of theft, murder, and secrets. Leaving the audience on the edge of their seats the entire time.
Saaho cost an estimated ₹350 crore, $49.7 million US. The film’s action-packed scenes, cinematography, bilingual script, and cast earned praise from critics and viewers alike. As for box office returns, though, things weren’t quite as great. It’s estimated that Saaho earned around $60 million at the box office, meaning that it was a net positive, but not by as much as the studios were hoping.
Radhe Shyam is a drama and romance film set in 1970s Italy. It was released in 2022, produced by UV Creations and T-Series, and written and directed by Radha Krishna Kumar. The film follows the lives of two strangers Vikramaditya, a palm reader, and Prerana, a medical doctor. The two fight for love, attempting to make their own destiny after Vikramaditya learns their troubled fate.
Radhe Shyam earned ₹350 crores, $44 million US, making it one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films. Although, the initial budget for the film was more than that earned after release. At a minimum, experts say that it cost $38 million to create Radhe Shyam, but some reports have said that it cost $4 million. Either way, the film would operate at a loss domestically.