And most profitable film of 2011 so far is ... Insidious?

If you were a movie investor, you might think the best place to put your money would be in a big-budget sure-thing animated film like Rio or Rango, each of which brought in hundreds of millions at the box office.

But it turns out the most profitable film of 2011 isn't a giant blockbuster, but rather the tiny horror film Insidious. Which just proves what last year's Paranormal Activity showed us ... that a small-budgeted genre film can make big, big money.

How can Insidious be making more money than the big boys? Well, despite its general drubbing by critics—Roger Ebert described it as "not terrifically good, but moviegoers will get what they're expecting"—Insidious has managed to bring in $44.5 million in North America, and the filmmakers think it'll make more than $90 million worldwide.

While $90 million is less than a third of what Rio's made worldwide, it's also how much Rio cost. Since Insidious only cost $1.5 million, the rest is profit, which is a huge return on a small investment.

And just how'd they keep costs down? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the filmmakers convinced the actors to take deferred payments. Most of the rest of the cost went to marketing.

(via Hollywood Reporter)

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