Money Making Shot

The term Money-Making Shot refers to any really critical scene in a film (especially a scene that makes the trailer of the film). It is, essentially, the bit you bought your ticket for, so one could say that it's the point at which you get your "money's worth." Some films might have more than one Money-Making Shot.

See also Just Here for Godzilla, where the Money-Making Shot is all the audience comes for, and Watch It for the Meme. Not to be confused with Shoot the Money.


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  • In Grand Canyon, the film director played by Steve Martin was upset that his editor didn't keep the violent "money shot" of the bus driver's head being blown apart by a shotgun.
    Davis: Where's the shot?
    Editor: What shot?
    Davis: You took out the shot.
    Editor: Which shot is that?
    Davis: The money shot. The bus driver's head. The brains-on-the-window shot. The viscera-on-the-visor shot.
    Editor: We thought we'd show it to you without...
    Davis: Put it back. Don't show me anything.
    Editor: You don't need it. You're not even giving it a chance.
    Davis: How's the rear-view-mirror gag supposed to work without it? Am I the only one here who respects the writing?!
  • The scene in Independence Day where The White House is destroyed by the alien Death Ray. The producers knew how vital the shot was: It was one of the first special effects shots put into production, so that it would be complete in time to be used in the trailers.
  • Uses of Bullet Time and the acrobatics freed from "real" physics in The Matrix:
    • Morpheus jumping across the building to show Neo how to jump.
    • Any of the flips (Trinity spinning like a rabbit on a spit; Neo escaping Smith in the train station; Neo and Trinity dodging bullets in the building lobby).
    • The lobby shootout as a whole.
    • Any of the unusual shots (Bullet Time ducking of bullets; Trinity's "Dodge This!" shot of an agent; "Guns. Lots of Guns".)
  • Quite unusually, the Money Shot in Armageddon isn't the destruction of the asteroid... it's the Power Walk just before the drillers go into space.
  • Parodied in a video where Joel Schumacher is discussing the Money-Making Shot of Batman & Robin
  • Referenced in a scene in The Simpsons Movie trailer where Lovejoy says "And here's the money shot". This line was not in the film, however.
    • Also happens once in the show. After Maude Flanders dies, Homer is secretly filming Ned to submit him to a video dating service. He says the line when Ned takes off his shirt to reveal his manly physique.
  • Dr. Strangelove has one of the earliest examples Slim Pickens riding an atom bomb until it detonated all over the Soviet Union's face.
  • In American Beauty, the viewer is teased with cheerleader Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) in several semi-nude situations where nothing is actually shown. Near the end of the movie Lester opens her shirt to finally reveal her breasts.
  • Gi Joe The Rise Of Cobra has its money shot during the action sequence in Paris, where Duke and Ripcord dodge the missiles the Baroness shoots at them in Bullet Time.
  • Inception played its cards close to the vest when it came to promotional items, but one thing that became analogous to the movie was the shot of Paris folding in on itself like a taco.
  • Crosses oddly with Just Here for Godzilla in many of the Mothra films, where the scenes of caterpillar-Mothra spinning her cocoon are Money Making Shots of a sort...
  • In pornographic films, the term "money shot" often refers to shots that show ejaculation, typically onto an actress's face or breasts (most uses of the term "money shot" are referring to this figuratively).
  • The exploding head scene in Scanners.
  • The (very) long reveal of the shiny new Enterprise in Star Trek The Motion Picture. To a lesser extent, the badass Klingon battle at the start of the movie as well.
  • In The Avengers (2012), it's the Epic Tracking Shot that pans from one Avenger to another fighting the Chitauri. Joss Whedon says in the commentary that they considered cutting that shot several times, only to conclude that a shot like that is why they're making such a movie in the first place.
    • There's also the shot that does a 360 degree pan around the group as they're surrounded by Chitauri. They aren't doing anything; it's merely for the audience to revel in the fact that, yes, these six characters are together in one movie, and they're about to kick ass together.
  • Pacific Rim: Any extended sequence involving the Jaegers, or the Kaiju for that matter.
  • The end of the Nature Has An Order TV spot for Godzilla (2014) features a clear, if brief, shot of Godzilla roaring up into the sky in broad daylight.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014): Shredder's introduction in full armor, fanning out his excessive number of blades. There is also Raphael crashing shell first into a humvee, flipping it over.
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: Yes, it's an acclaimed love story and an acclaimed piece of lesbian cinema. Yes, it's actually only a very small part of the 3-hour running time of the picture and could be excised without causing undue harm to the storytelling (YMMV in that point). But in the end the extended, supergraphic sex scene between the two leads is what most people remember (and later bought the Blu-rays for).

    Live Action TV 

     Video Games  

  • Hitman: Blood Money had a scene in most promotional material that featured 47 in Vegas. All right, so Vegas is there for two levels, but the first is a hotel/casino and the second's a highrise.
  • The trailers for Call of Duty: Black Ops featured a helicopter crashing in a city, the camera riding the wing of an Blackbird spy plane and a close-up of a Soyuz rocket launch, among other things.

     Web Original  

  • Done in Suburban Knights when the teams walk up a small hillside before separating on their respective missions. As with most things in the movie, a lampshade was promptly hung on it.

Alternative Title(s):

Money Shot