“Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” is a British crime thriller from 1998 directed by the one and only Guy Ritchie. You may know Ritchie’s name from when he was married to Madonna, but he’s also a talented director. “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” was his first feature film and wound up launching his career. But he wasn’t the only one who benefited from the success of the movie.
Jason Statham acted as “Bacon” in the film, which ended up kickstarting his career as well. It had a fairly small budget of just $1.35 million but ended up making nearly $30 million back. Later, Ritchie’s filmed mega-hits such as “Sherlock Holmes,” and Statham has made his way onto the A list, acting in blockbusters like “Crank,” “The Transporter,” and “The Meg.”
The Evil Dead
"The Evil Dead" is another creepy cult classic that began as a short film back in 1981. The short film attracted financiers who backed the feature-length version, which ended up pulling in nearly $30 million in the box office — quite a feat for a movie that was made in the early ’80s! The king of horror himself, Stephen King, absolutely loved the movie and helped creators land an awesome distribution deal with New Line Cinema.
The film, which was both written and directed by Sam Raimi, was shot mainly using a cabin deep in the woods in Tennessee. It’s been followed up with a few sequels and spinoffs, along with the television series "Ash vs. The Evil Dead."
"Mad Max" is a dystopian thriller from the late 1970s that stars Mel Gibson. The movie was filmed for an incredible $300,000, and yet it ended up pulling in around $100 million. That’s an impressive number now, much more in 1979. The finances were so incredible that the film landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the best ratio of profit to budget.
Decades later, "Mad Max: Fury Road" was produced for a much, much higher budget of $150 million. It also made even more money than the first, hitting over $350 million in sales at the box office. There have been more movies in the Mad Max franchise made to date, each of which has made Rotten Tomatoes’ “certified fresh” list.
It’s kind of hard to imagine Vince Vaughn starring in a movie with a budget of less than $1 million, but back in the 1990s, he wasn’t exactly the A-lister he is today. He and Jon Favreau starred as two wannabe actors in Hollywood trying to live life in the fast lane after moving to Los Angeles from New York City. The dark comedy was filmed with a modest $200,000 budget but ended up making about $25 million at the box office.
Plus, it can be credited with launching Vaughn and Favreau’s careers, along with that of the film’s director, Dough Liman. The film was also written by Favreau, who happened to write the entire thing in less than a month. He only actually cast himself in the film due to the lack of funding to hire more actors.
The Big Sick
"The Big Sick" is an adorable romantic comedy about a couple who stems from different ethnic backgrounds that must rally together with the in-laws when one of them develops an illness that threatens life as they know it. The film was produced with a modest $5 million budget and brought back over $55 million in the box office.
The movie is somewhat based on the relationship between its director and co-writer, Kumail Nanjiania, and his wife (and co-screenwriter of the film) Emily V. Gordon. "The Big Sick" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and ultimately became one of the most profitable movies in 2017. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval score of nearly 99%.