When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.


Universal had a record-setting 2015, a feat it managed without a single superhero franchise. Now, Jurassic World certainly helped, as did Furious 7, but a lot of surprising things went right for the studio. One of them was Pitch Perfect 2.

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

Elizabeth Banks made her directing debut on the film and brought back Barden University’s all-female a cappella singing group The Bellas, in high style. The film was delivered on a $29M budget and turned in a $69M opening weekend opening May 15. It passed the original’s $115M gross in just five days, and grossed $287M globally. Not surprisingly, the studio set Kay Cannon to return to write a third installment of the film and Banks signed on to direct that one as well. Aside from a low budget, the picture also kept its talent payouts to a reasonable level, explaining how it just missed the Top 10-grossing films of the year. The bottom line: Universal netted a profit of $139M, for a very respectable Cash on Cash Return of 1.78.