Pop Quiz: The Money Behind the Oscars

Pop Quiz: The Money Behind the Oscars

A. "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
B. "Cleopatra"
C. "Titanic"
D. "John Carter"

"Cleopatra" often gets highlighted as the definitive example of an expensive, extravagant flick, but it actually ranks fairly low on the all time list of big budget bloat. Whether you're talking about nominal cost or dollars adjusted for inflation, the $300 million budget for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" made it the most expensive movie ever.

A. "Avatar"
B. "Star Wars"
C. "Gone with the Wind"
D. "Jaws"


In terms of actual grosses, Avatar's $2.8 billion worldwide haul blows away the competition. Adjusted for inflation, though, it runs second behind "Gone with the Wind," which, in today's money would have raked in a stunning $3.3 billion.

A. "Ishtar"
B. "Cutthroat Island"
C. "Battlefield Earth"
D. "The Adventures of Pluto Nash"

While all four movies were world-class duds, when you adjust for inflation, the all-time biggest loser is "Cutthroat Island." It grossed about $11 million, or about 11 percent of its $98 million budget. Adjusted for inflation, it lost over $147 million.

A. "Star Wars"
B. "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding"
C. "Grease"
D. "E.T."

When it comes to movies, a high gross doesn't necessarily translate into a high profit margin. To be truly profitable, a film must mix high returns with low costs, and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" met that standard in major way: With a $369 million gross off a $6 million budget, it had a 6150 percent profit margin!

A. Marcellus Wallace's briefcase from "Pulp Fiction"
B. The eponymous car from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
C. Audrey Hepburn's dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
D. James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 from "Goldfinger"

Ejector seats and machine guns don't come cheap: In 2010, James Bond's tricked-out spy car sold at auction for $4.1 million.

A. Joan Crawford
B. Katherine Hepburn
C. Mickey Rooney
D. Harvey Weinstein

In 1946, eager to make a splash with her tear-jerking role in Mildred Pierce, Joan Crawford hired Hollywood publicist Henry Rogers to help her bag an Oscar. With a combination of behind-the-scenes wrangling and clever manipulation of the press, Rogers got the gold -- and Crawford got the award for best actress.

A. 10 percent
B. 15 percent
C. 20 percent
D. 25 percent

While Oscar winners' actual salary boosts vary from person to person, Hollywood agents estimate that one of the little gold statuettes can increase an actor's next payday by an average of 20 percent.

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