Each year when Deadline runs its film profitability countdown, readers understandably ask about wildly profitable films, usually genre pictures, that don’t merit inclusion on the basis of highest domestic gross. But that doesn’t mean these films don’t tell compelling stories in their own right. So this time, we included snapshots of five overachieving pictures. The final four films in our tournament will roll out Monday, along with every one of the revenue charts.

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Fox Searchlight

THE FILM
The original 2012 film was a spectacularly successful sleeper hit for Fox Searchlight, hitting an adult audience in its sweet spot and grossing $136M worldwide on a $10M budget. The sequel didn’t hit that number, but it held the production budget to the same level, while adding Richard Gere. The global box office was $85M, and the participations to talent were on the low side. The picture turned out a net profit of $10.85M to Fox, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.14.

Not Art Buckwald
3 months
It depends, remember several entities put up the movie to make the film, several often unrelated companies...
DougW
3 months
But in terms of what the studios report to the IRS, all of these films are in...
Anonymous
3 months
Interesting. Here's 5 more "smaller" films (all under $35m) that might not have had the ROI to...

THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

Paper Towns Featured Image 1PAPER TOWNS
20th Century Fox

THE FILM
Paper Towns was Fox and author John Green’s follow-up to the wildly successful YA movie The Fault In Our Stars, which grossed $307M worldwide. Let’s call Paper Towns a single, by comparison. The picture turned in a global box office performance of $85M, on a $12M budget. The outlays to talent were minimal. So the net profit to Fox was $14M, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.18. No wonder Green’s books are still in such hot demand as film properties.

THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

UnfriendedUNFRIENDED
Universal

THE FILM
The Blumhouse genre film launched in April without much fanfare, from Timur Bekmambetov’s Russia-based film factory Bazelevs. The key here is that the makers delivered this movie for a $1M budget, and it reached the mainstream. The picture grossed $64M globally, and participations were minimal. That meant that the net profit on this little but overachieving murder mystery with supernatural elements was a whopping $17.3M, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.3.

THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

the visit 2THE VISIT
Universal Pictures

THE FILM
Another highly profitable Blumhouse-produced genre film success for Universal, this one with M. Night Shyamalan. The picture cost just $5M to make, and when these babies hit at that budget level, the returns can be scary. The global box office was $98M, and while the participations were higher than on Unfriended, the gross was much higher as well. So the studio’s net profit on The Visit was $43M, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.61. A smashing result to the studio’s bottom line.

THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

insidious-chapter-3INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3
Focus Features

THE FILM
The third installment of the fright franchise — and another one from Blumhouse — slipped from the high-water mark of Insidious 2, but it was still great business. The original, made for just $1.5M, grossed $97M worldwide. The sequel carried a $5M budget and brought in a whopping $161M globally. The third installment carried a $10M budget and grossed $112M worldwide. The participations and bonuses reached that budget, but the film was still a profit-maker. The net profit was $44M for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.6.

THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them: