What are the most profitable movie genres?

If you think of popular films, you will automatically picture the big, Hollywood blockbusters starring A-list actors. You might be right in terms of fan opinion, but these are not the type of films that will usually give the best return on investment (ROI), according to industry site The Numbers. Here are some of the genres that will keep executives happy with their returns.

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Action adventure

This genre includes the blockbuster films that get a lot of press and use a lot of pyro techniques. Film fans will usually come flocking to this type of movie, which means lots of ticket sales, but if you consider the budgets that go into them, it makes sense that they will not always have the best ROI. James Cameron’s Avatar is known for its high budget. Even though it made around $2.7 billion, it still had a surprisingly low ROI of 500 per cent. That seems like plenty, until you realise that Mad Max had a return of 24,837.5 per cent.


The great thing about horror films is that you don’t need a massive budget for them to work. In fact, this can often make it more realistic. Just take Paranormal Activity, which was made for $15,000 and had an amazing ROI of 539,336.30 per cent. Surprisingly, in a poll of the most popular movie genres by country, horror films didn’t rank as number one anywhere.

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Comedy, romance and drama

These types of films rarely use many special effects, so their budget tends to be much smaller than your typical action film. This category includes many films that are considered “flops”, but when a film does become popular, it really takes off. The film Once had a small budget of just $150,000 yet returned 6,232.39 per cent, which ranked it at number 10 in the list of best ROIs.

Home viewing

It’s worth noting that The Numbers didn’t take into account box office income and DVD sales/rentals. Many people nowadays prefer to stay at home and stream a film with the help of home automation companies. Although many do still prefer the cinema experience, home automation companies have made it much easier to simply ask for a film and watch it instantly.

Although investors are happy with the ROI on such films, it doesn’t always reflect fan opinion.

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