This week's paper edition of Entertainment Weekly has a cover story on the production of Paranormal Activity (the article doesn't seem to be available online yet.) This is the $11,000 indie horror film that has, at last count, grossed over $84,000,000 - Eighty-four MILLION dollars. Talk about catching lightning in a bottle. Was it shot on a Red One? No, the slightly less expensive Sony FX1. Was it edited on a Mac on Avid or Final Cut? Nope, it was cut with Sony Vegas on a Dell. The article contains a pretty interesting breakout of all the other expenses:
Miscellaneous camera, tape, mics, batteries - $1000
Actors - $1500
Travel, accommodations - $1000
Catering (groceries and Pizza Hut) - $500
Red Bull - $100
Baby powder - $3
I'd have to say that Paranormal Activities is the poster child for payback on an investment!