The cheap way to make a movie is obvious, if you think about it.
Simply use cheap labor.
Don’t hire anyone on one of those highest paid people of the year lists. For that matter, don’t hire people that ANYONE has heard of before.
Frankly, I don’t know how some of the star-studded films out there came to be.
Convince a half dozen A-listers to take a pay cut and do it for fun, I guess.
You would think it would make your fixed costs so high that it would be hard to recover from at the box office.
But actually, finding a way to cut labor costs is not a bad way to cheapen anything.
At the end of the 60s a small film called Easy Rider got made by a small company run by the aforementioned Bert Schneider, whose family happened to be a power at Columbia. Easy Rider cost not much and made a lot, besides which it also made Jack Nicholson a movie star, which he has been ever since. It was one of those highly watchable cheap movies without stars that convince the studios that it is at last possible to do away with the star system, a method of financing films that started at least as early as Chaplin, Pickford, and Fairbanks, a system that operates virtually unaltered to this day.