Best Return on Investment for Independent Film Makers

Movie Genres with the Best Return on Investment for Independent Film Makers

Making movies is hard. Making money from your movie is even harder. Companies like Bitmax can help make sure your movie hits the right platforms to ensure your best chance of success, but as a filmmaker, it helps to know what genres of movies tend to make the best ROI (return on investment). Here, Bitmax brings you a list of the genres with the best ROI:


The horror genre attracts a loyal fan-base who are willing to forgive low budgets and a lack of special FX, as long as you can make ‘em jump! Some of the most famous horror movies were made on shoe-string budgets and delivered astonishing ROIs.The Blair Witch Project, the film which started the “found-footage” horror sub-genre, cost $60,000 to make and ended up grossing a monster $248.6m! Even more amazing is Paranormal Activity, which grossed £162m on a budget of just $15,000, an ROI of 540,000%! As an independent filmmaker, it is worth exploring the horror genre as a way of realising potential out-of-this-world ROI.


Romantic movies don’t need expensive sets or special FX. All you need is a good story and some great chemistry between your leads. The 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding made $370m on a budget of just $5m. Even more impressive is the 2007 film Once, which made $19m on a budget of $150,000, also picking up an Oscar for Best Song and spawning a West End musical.


Documentaries offer a great ROI as they can be incredibly cheap to make. However, you will need a compelling subject matter and a deft narrative touch to make it work. Examples of documentaries which realised massive ROIs include Supersize Me, with a reported ROI of 22,000% and Tarnation, which is said to have made an ROI of 260,000%

What to Avoid

As you might have guessed, action adventure movies come bottom of the list when it comes to ROI. They are very expensive to make, full of special FX, explosions and crazy stunts that are hard to replicate on a budget, and unless you can persuade a big star to take the lead, they can be difficult to market.

Certain genres of science fiction are also prohibitively expensive to produce and as such don’t represent a good ROI for the independent filmmaker. That said, the first Star Wars film has grossed $2bn on its original budget of just $11m. Now that’s the kind of ROI filmmakers like!