Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction was savaged by critics while simultaneously raking in a massive amount of money — particularly outside the U.S. But just how much money did the FX-heavy film really make after all of the production and marketing costs? Quite a bit, according to a new study of 2014’s film slate that ranks Age of Extinction as the most profitable film of the year, narrowly edging out the Oscar-nominated American Sniper.
The report was compiled by Deadline Hollywood, and takes into account many of the production, marketing, and distribution costs, cast and creative teams’ salaries, and other industry-insider elements that go into making movies. It also accounts for each film’s overseas earnings, which can make or break some projects in the long run.
Transformers: Age Of Extinction ended up taking the top spot in the rankings thanks to $245 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and a grand total of $1.09 billion worldwide. After all of the costs associated with making the film were taken into account, the film earned $250.2 million for Paramount Pictures — a total that narrowly beat the $242.58 million that American Sniper returned to the studio thanks to its relatively low production costs and strong box-office performance here in the U.S.
With Transformers: Age of Extinction and American Sniper leading the pack, the ten most profitable films of the year stacked up as follows:
1. Transformers: Age Of Extinction – $250.155M
2. American Sniper – $242.58M
3. The Lego Movie – $229.008M
4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 – $211.609M
5. Guardians of the Galaxy – $204.2M
6. Maleficent – $190.77M
7. Big Hero 6 – $187.339M
8. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – $182.179M
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $166.224M
10. 22 Jump Street – $144.476M
Possibly the most interesting aspect of the report is the presence of lower-profile films like 22 Jump Street which managed to turn a significant profit without the high costs blockbuster fare. There are a lot of ways to go about making money in the movie biz (especially for international films), but the most important thing to studios when it all comes down to it is pulling in profits over all those millions of dollars spent, critical acclaim or not.
You can see the full list of the 20 most profitable films of 2014, as well as individual, comprehensive breakdowns for each film, at Deadline.com.