A 2009 study says the more spent on an MPAA film, the more the studios can expect from the various revenue streams.
According to an SNL Kagan study of films that received a wide theatrical release, films with production budgets of over $90 million actually generated higher returns than less-expensive films.
The study, "Economics of Motion Pictures," analyzed 764 films released on over 1,000 screens from 2004-2008 and included 83 films with budgets of more than $100 million. Of the films studied, the most expensive films were the most profitable for the studios, with animated films leading the way followed by sci-fi and fantasy.
Although these numbers might steady a studio head's hand as he/she writes that big check, the study did not factor in marketing expenditures.