The movie industry is constantly evolving, and we’ve seen some of the biggest names in entertainment gravitate towards TV in the past few years.
In terms of guaranteeing a box office hit, it looks like audiences are responding better to franchises than individual stars. Case in point is Avengers: Endgame, which has taken in around $2,7 billion at the box office at the time of writing.
What can we take from this? Well, if you’re thinking that the biggest actor paydays of all time would all be from very recent history, then think again.
According to Business Insider, the top 10 highest paid movie roles of all time includes Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception, Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman, and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump.
Let’s look at the top five, although there’s a caveat to be discussed later:
5. Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland
According to the Telegraph, Depp earned 50 million pounds for “Alice in Wonderland,” which was about $68 million (R991 million) in the US.
4. Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone in Gravity
Bullock was paid $20 million (R291 million) up front for “Gravity,” which is an impressive number on its own. But her deal also included 15% of box office revenue, which got her at least $70 million (R1 billion).
She also stole an Oscar for her role in The Blind Side. It’s a truly awful movie and you will never convince me otherwise.
3. Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol
Cruise earned $75 million (R1 billion) from the fourth “Mission: Impossible” movie, “Ghost Protocol,” which allowed him to top Forbes’ most powerful actors list in 2012.
2. Will Smith as Agent J in Men in Black 3
Will Smith’s performance-based pay for the third “Men in Black” movie got him $100 million (R1.4 billion) of its $624 million (R9.1 billion) gross.
1. Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix trilogy
Between all three “Matrix” films, Keanu Reeves’ combined pay was $250 million (R3.6 billion).
Not sure how that gets combined into one movie, but we dig Keanu and we won’t argue.
If you’re also a fan, you’ll like the Twitter account ‘keanu reeves walking to music’. Here’s a sample:
— keanu reeves walking to music (@keanuwtm) May 31, 2019
I know I said we won’t argue, but maybe just a little bit, because many of the figures paid to actors and actresses remain shrouded in mystery.
Then there’s the tricky business where the stars choose to defer all or part of their salary against a percentage of the film’s gross, which is known within the industry as a “profit participation” deal.
Also, Robert Downey Jr. was rumoured to have made a cool $75 million from Avengers: Infinity War alone, so why didn’t he crack the nod?
We aren’t always fond of linking to Wikipedia, but their list of highest paid film roles looks a little different.
What do we know for certain? Crack the big time in Hollywood, and you’re not going hungry, although you’ll never be Jeff Bezos rich.
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