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The Most Profitable Horror Film Of All Time May Surprise You

One of the things that set horror films apart from other movies is the way in which the genre caters itself to independent filmmaking (or more specifically, low-budget filmmaking). The horror genre's tendency to rely on sparse dialogue, limited locations, and cheap scares means that just about any independent filmmaker can make a horror movie on a very manageable budget.

This is even more true for so-called "found footage" films, which inherently allow the film to look raw and unedited as a way to seem more realistic. "The Blair Witch Project" famously grossed over $240 million on a much smaller budget of $60,000 (via Variety) and managed to be highly successful despite the fact that its cast was made of entirely unknown actors. As incredible as that may sound, "The Blair Witch Project" still isn't the most profitable horror movie of all time — that honor belongs to a newer film that came out eight years later.

Paranormal Activity has the highest return on investment of any film ever

As absurd as it may sound, 2007's "Paranormal Activity" is by far the most profitable horror movie of all time. Its production cost even less than "The Blair Witch Project," amounting to just $15,000, and the film went on to gross $193 million internationally. Not only is it the most profitable horror film of all time, but it's also the most profitable film regardless of genre when judged solely by its return on investment (via The Wrap).

With its measly budget, the film had an incredible 433,900% return on investment –- though it's important to clarify that this only includes the initial production budget and not the marketing costs for the film. Indeed, while the original film was shot on a budget of just $15,000, Paramount Pictures spent an extra $200,000 fixing the film's sound and ending after it was acquired by the studio. That brought the actual total budget of the movie up to around $215,000 before it was distributed (via The Hollywood Reporter). Still, if we're going purely off of production budget alone, there is no film in history that has been more profitable than "Paranormal Activity."