To the average person, a million dollars is a lot of money. But when it comes to filming a major motion picture, a million dollars is a drop in the bucket. The truth is, a typical modern blockbuster (anything in the Avengers or Star Wars arsenal) takes upwards hundreds of millions of dollars to make. And yes, that’s a fair investment when your profits are in the billions, but most movies aren’t playing anywhere near that ballpark.

In the movie-making business, it takes money to make money, right? Well, not always. You might be surprised to learn that these big name films had humble beginnings. Here are twelve films that were made with a budget of less than a million dollars.

Gallery — The Most Expensive Blockbusters of All Time: