Comedy movies at their core really don’t need that big of a budget to be funny. Comedy comes from acting and storytelling at its core, and these 15  films have those skills down pat. Here are 15 movies that bring big laughs with small budgets.

Napoleon Dynamite

napoleon dynamite

Fox Searchlight

Jared Hess and Jon Heder’s masterpiece Napoleon Dynamite cost just $400,000 dollars to make and ended up grossing over 46 million at the box office. Heder was paid just 1,000 dollars for his role in the film, which is actually a recreation of a short film Hess and Heder had made prior. All must bow down to this film which ushered the ultra-dry style of humor into the mainstream.

Monty Python And The Holy Grail

Monty Python and the holy grail

Python Pictures

Monty Python has always dealt with low budgets, most notably from The Life Of Brian and of course Monty Python And The Holy Grail. The film was made for an estimated $400,000 dollars, requiring the filmmakers to improvise constantly. The coconuts are a result of not being able to afford horses, and castles seen in the distance are often plywood cutouts.

Velocipastor

Velocipastor

Hollow Tree Films

Like a modern Clerks, Velocipastor is an inspiration to indie comedy filmmakers everywhere. This film, if you still haven’t seen it, is a spoof on Sharknado-style movies with a thin plot and cliches dispersed wildly throughout its script. Writer-director made the picture for just $36,000 dollars and has gained a wide fan base for its DIY production style.

The To-Do List

Aubrey Plaza and Bill Hader star in this film about a high school graduate meticulously planning out her sexual awakening. The 90’s period piece has some great guest stars like Lauren Lapkus and Donald Glover and was also directed by Hader’s wife, Maggie Carrey. The film cost a mere 1.5 million dollars to produce, which is impressive considering all the 90s nostalgia needed on set.

Clerks

Clerks

View Askew Productions

Clerks is revered as the best example of “if you want to make a movie, go make a movie.” This Kevin Smith classic was made for the small sum of $27,000 and went on to become a classic among critics and audiences alike. Smith released the budget in 2015 on Twitter to inspire young filmmakers and added “You can make a movie for WAY less money these days, kids. All the tech you need is right on your smart phone. So... What's stopping you?”

What We Do In The Shadows

What we do in the shadows

Unison Films

This indie cult classic from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi follows the lives of three vampire roommates in the documentary format. The film is based on a short  the duo wrote and directed in 2005 entitled What We Do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires. The feature production only cost $1.6 million and went on to gross $8.2 million while garnering a rabid fanbase and sporting a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Juno

Remember Juno? Remember how we all went out and bought our hamburger phones and got pregnant? Juno snagged some big stars like Jason Bateman, Jennifer Gardner, Rainn Wilson, and J.K. Simmons, but still managed to pull off the shoot for $6.5 million. The film gained massive national attention and made over $231 million at the box office. Now THAT can buy you a lot of orange Tic-Tacs.

Swingers

Swingers

Independent Pictures

Jon Favreau’s early success, Swingers with Vince Vaughn took the Favreau just a week and a half to write. Jon and his agent set out to find money and ended up getting around $200k for the budget. The film ended up taking home $4.6 million. Our little babies, all grown up.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding went from a small five million dollar budget to making over $360 million dollars at the box office after it played in theaters for almost a year. The film didn't get much attention when it was released, but audiences grew exponentially, making its biggest box office weekend four months after its initial release. 

Lost In Translation

Lost in Translation

Elemental Films

This dark dry dramedy starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray who are lured into an unlikely friendship was made for the measly sum of four million dollars. The film shows off the much-loved soft side of Murray, allowing the comedy to come from situations and small nuances as opposed to rapid punchlines or innuendo. The film was a huge commercial success with a $100 million dollar payday at the box office.

The Full Monty

3.5 million was all it took to finance The Full Monty, a British film about six out of work men turned strippers. What resulted from this beloved comedy was a box office return of 200 million dollars and several spinoffs. 

Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer

Eureka Pictures

Wet Hot American Summer, written by Michael Showalter and David Wain was not an initial success despite having an immaculate soon-to-be-huge cast. Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, the list goes on and on. The film gained cult notoriety over the years eventually returning in the form of a Netflix limited series, even though the original was made for just $1.8 million. 

Cannibal The Musical

Cannibal The Musical

Troma Entertainment

Cannibal The Musical is the first large project written and produced by Trey Parker of South Park fame. Cannibal was made immediately after Parker graduated college with the help of investments from other recent University Of Colorado grad’s rich parents. Parker scraped together $100,000 dollars to make his movie, which propelled Parker and Matt Stone into their future careers.

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