Film genres that make the most money

Film genres that make the most money

Film production

It’s hard to think of anything as glitzy and glamorous as the film industry; generating millions of pounds every year, movies are big business. However, a film’s potential to become a cinematic cash-cow depends on a number of factors, including its genre. Wondering which film genres generate the biggest bucks? Luckily we’ve created this nifty blog post giving you the low-down on which films make the most money to help you choose which genre you should invest in, so keep reading…

Horror / Thriller

They may leave some people hiding behind their sofas, but with the potential to earn lots of money, horror films certainly shouldn’t frighten film investors. Horror films are lucrative because of their low budgets and their likelihood to take off, which is a recipe for a big return on investment. The horror film genre is also great because its appeal crosses borders (scares and screams are understood in all languages and cultures) and with hordes of horror-hungry fans, it has a huge cult following.

So most horror movies are a screamingly good choice for film financers, but if you’re after the safest investment possible, it’s worth choosing your subgenre wisely because some are more profitable than others. 

At the moment, monster films are the least popular amongst movie-goers (sorry Mr Frankenstein, you’re gonna need a new invention if you want to feature in the next cinematic smash) whilst found footage films are the most popular, closely followed by serial killers *shudder*. 

This may not be good news for the protagonists who are about to be hunted down by a blood-thirsty murderer, but it’s great news for movie investors because found footage (those spine-tingling flicks that are filmed on shaky camcorders à la The Blair Witch Project) is the easiest and cheapest horror flick to make – probably the only type of movie whose low-budget adds to its scare-appeal.

Romantic Comedies and Dramas

We all love a romantic comedy, don’t we? Nothing says rest and relaxation quite like a night in with a bag of popcorn and a Sandra Bullock film. Although light-hearted rom-coms may not seem like a film genre that would break the box office, investing in one certainly won’t make you a laughing stock.

Whilst it’s true that romantic comedies generally don’t attract the huge audiences that flashy action-adventure films do, they have the potential to generate a huge return on investment. This is because, unlike blockbuster adventure romps, they don’t need glitzy special effects to be successful, meaning that their budget is usually a lot lower. 

Take Legally Blonde as an example. With a budget of $18 million, it made over $141 million at the box office worldwide. This is great news for film investors; if a romantic comedy takes off its return on investment will be massive and if it flops there probably won’t be a catastrophic loss. So choose the right rom-com to invest in and you could be laughing all the way to the bank.

Dramas can also be a clever investment. Whether they be hard-hitting stories or coming of age tales, they, like romantic comedies, usually have modest budgets and thus good potential for a high return on investment. The King’s Speech is a prime example of this; with a relatively small budget of $15 million, it saw a 1,340% return on investment, a right royal success for its investors!


On a classic trip to the cinema (with that unmistakable smell of popcorn, the comfy seats, and those illicit sweets nestled deep in your coat pockets) a documentary may not be the obvious choice of film. However, their popularity has seen a surge in recent years and they’re a smart choice for film investors because their budgets are tiny compared to big blockbusters so their return on investment is high. 

Take Justin Beiber’s Believe for example. Made using behind-the-scenes footage, new concert clips, and interviews with the star, it had very modest production costs and went on to make a solid 230% profit. With such good potential for a hefty return on investment, this film genre is an excellent option for anyone thinking of investing in movies.

Action Adventure

With heart-stopping stunts and eye-popping special effects attracting millions of viewers, the action-adventure film genre is one of the most profitable (and the most exciting). Choose the right film and you can hit a moviemaking jackpot, for example, Avatar. The futuristic sci-fi adventure grossed a colossal $2.76 billion – a true out-of-this-world success story for its investors. 

Another reason this film genre is great for film financiers is its potential for many action-packed sequels – just imagine the bounty that the investors of Pirates of the Carribean franchise made! 

Furthermore, action-adventure films often spawn merchandise. From video games to pyjamas, fans of this film genre go wild for any type of merch, earning investors even more money (and giving them the opportunity to fill their houses with action figures to celebrate their savvy investment). 

On a realistic note, it’s important to remember that all the stunts and special effects that make this film genre so exhilarating usually come with a hefty price tag, which makes action-adventure films slightly riskier for investors. However, with a good record of box office success, the return on investment on this genre should still be high (almost as high as your adrenaline whilst watching a Rambo movie).

Ready to invest?

As a film finance company, we know better than anyone that no movie is a failsafe investment choice, and it’s important to never invest what you can’t afford to lose because there’s always the risk that a film will flop. 

However, choosing a film genre that usually makes a good return on investment, like the ones we’ve listed above, is the best way to increase your chances of raking in the big shiny bucks. If you want to become a successful movie investor, look no further than Films4U because the films that we produce are guaranteed to be distributed; if you invest in one of our films, you’ll likely see your investment on the big screen (and get to attend its star-studded premiere) and on the television. 

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