The First Million Dollar Movie - 1924


Just to get in slightly ahead of time (for once!), the world's first million dollar movie was released almost 100 years ago on 18th March 1924.  How do I know about it?  Well, many years ago, a friend and his family were moving to England, and I went round to help them pack the van they had bought to move their stuff in.  It was relatively small, and a lot of their things were being left behind.  One of the things they were going to dump was a copy of the rather classic movie poster shown above. I asked for, and was given the poster for my help.  Then, some years later, Channel 4 showed a series of historic movies, including this one, and since I had an interest in it because of the poster, I watched it.  Channel 4 included a short presentation on the movie before showing it.

Of course these days, it is freely available on YouTube if you want to see it.  The visual effects which seem so crude now must have been stunning to audiences back then.  The silent overacting does seem particularly strange these days though.  Even 100 years on it is still entertaining, and is worth the watch.

Wikipedia gives the exact budget as, $1,135,654.65.  That must have been a truly stunning budget back then, and I wondered what today's equivalent might be.  One rough way to work this out is to double the amount every decade, which gives the table below.

I doubt that even today's epics would raise a budget like that 2024 figure!


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