the actuarial foundation

Do Movie Budgets Predict Success?

Every studio would love to produce a movie that sells millions of tickets. Does spending a lot to make a movie result in greater ticket sales?

Choose Your Data:

Animated Movies Nominated for the Academy Award 2010–2013**


Movie Name Cost (in millions) Revenue (in millions)
Brave (2013) 255 554.6
Frankenweenie (2013) 75 81.1
ParaNorman (2013) 83 107.6
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2013) 87 123.1
Wreck-It Ralph (2013) 230 442.1
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2012) 220 661.7
Puss in Boots (2012) 190 554.8
Rango (2012) 195 244.8
How to Train Your Dragon (2011) 235 494.9
Toy Story 3 (2011) 270 1,064.0
Coraline (2010) 80 121.6
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2010) 62 46.5
The Princess and the Frog (2010) 155 267.4
Up (2010) 245 731.5
Reset Graph It!
Animated Movie Cost Compared to Revenue 2010-2013**

Review data and click “Graph It!” on the left.

Zoom: Highlight/release any point(s) to zoom in.

*Click into cells to edit data.

Discussion Question:

Based on the line of best fit, how much revenue would you expect from a movie that cost $160 million to make?


Discussion Question:

Do you think the line of best fit would be a good predictor of the revenue a movie that cost $400 million would make?


SOURCES: Names of Nominees: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “Nominees for the [82nd–85th] Academy Awards,” oscars.org.
Cost and Revenue Data: BoxOffice, boxoffice.com.
**Data provided for American-made films only.

The data sets used in these examples were obtained from public domain and third-party sources, and are intended for educational purposes only. All facts and figures may become inaccurate, out-of-date, or subject to revision without notice.

Photos: theater seats, © Karramba Production/Shutterstock; tickets, © Maria Dragomer/Shutterstock.