Despite the massive boycott (okay, by “massive” I mean just me) against Top Gun: Maverick for not including Kelly McGillis yet giving us the poster douche for “I Need An Adult!” (read: Miles Teller with a mustache), it has become a massive hit. Personally, I’m saving my coins for the porn parody Power Top Gun: Mavdick and its follow-up Bossy Bottom Gun, but many did not, and it’s made over $1 billion worldwide since its release in May. It’s also Tom Cruise’s biggest money-making movie, and because of this and his deal, Little Alien Lord Tommy has become even richer. But still, I’m with the talking Michael Myers’ Party City mask that is Mickey Rourke. That mega-rich trick who has the biggest movie of the year is “irrelevant!”
Variety did a piece on the studio deals of movie stars and how many mountains of money they make, and it’s really a feel-good piece. Because who doesn’t want to read about the likes of Tommy, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt making raunchy amounts of money as many people’s cards are getting declined while trying to be coffee and a jelly donut at Dunkin’? But Variety’s piece gets into how for the next two Mission: Impossible movies, Tom got paid a PALTRY $12 million to $14 million upfront but is taking a bigger percentage of the profits. He did the same with Maverick. So when you add together Maverick‘s profits from theaters and streaming services, he’ll fill the pockets of his Brooks Brothers Junior big boy pants with at least $100 million.
Cruise’s deal is unique, however. Most A-listers still command large paydays, and many get a chunk of the profits, but they can only access the pool of riches after a movie is in the black. For decades, the biggest actors in the world commanded $20 million. That figure dated back to Jim Carrey’s payout for 1996’s “The Cable Guy,” and it was a number that seemed immune to inflationary pressure.
Cruise’s pact is a vestige of a time when stars, not superheroes, were the reason that audiences flocked to movie theaters to see a new release. But things have changed since Marvel took the box office hostage in the early aughts, putting an interchangeable array of Chrises in spandex and masks. The problem is that even though those actors are surefire draws any time the Avengers assemble, they can’t always attract a crowd when they try to leverage their success in other genres.
Don’t worry, though, not all movie stars are desperately saying to their creditors, “The check is coming!”, while waiting for the profits from their backend deal (not to be confused with the kind of backend deal I’m always waiting for) to come through. The streamers are throwing lots of money at movie stars upfront. Apple gave Leonardo DiCaprio $30 million for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, $30 million to Brad Pitt for that Formula 1 movie, and slapped Will Smith with $35 million for Emancipation. Over at Netflix, Chris Hemsworth was paid $20 million for Extraction 2 and Millie Bobby Brown is getting $10 million for the sequel to Enola Homes. Although, all that upfront money comes with stipulations:
But those gaudy paydays come with caveats. Apple has included clauses in some contracts that make bonuses contingent on films coming in on time and on budget. And all of the streamers are essentially paying out the actors’ backends. That eliminates the risk that their movies will collapse at the box office, which would theoretically deprive them of all those bonuses. Yet it also puts a cap on their potential earnings if, say, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a globe-straddling phenomenon.
Variety thinks that because of the economy, some studios and streamers may not throw as much money at movie stars in the very near future.
Here’s a piece of Variety’s list of some of the biggest movie paydays of the year so far:
Tom Cruise – Top Gun: Maverick – $100 million
Will Smith – Emancipation – $35 million
Leonardo DiCaprio – Killers of the Flower Moon – $30 million
Brad Pitt – that untitled Formula 1 movie – $30 million
The Rock – Black Adam – $22.5 million
Will Ferrell – Spirited – $20 million
Chris Hemsworth – Extraction 2 – $20 million
Vin Diesel – Fast X – $20 million
Tom Hardy – Venom 3 – $20 million
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker 2 – $20 million
Ryan Reynolds – Spirited – $20 million
Denzel Washington – The Equalizer 3 – $20 million
As for the women, well, if you scroll all the way down while humming Margo Price’s Pay Gap, you’ll find Margot Robbie. According to Variety, Margot got the biggest movie paycheck of any actress with $12.5 million for the Barbie movie (Ryan Gosling got the same amount for playing Ken). The only other actresses on Variety’s list are Millie, Emily Blunt ($4 million for Oppenheimer), Jamie Lee Curtis ($3.5 million for Halloween Ends), and Anya Taylor-Joy ($1.8 million for Furiosa).
Page Six says that Tommy is planning to use a tiny piece of his fortune to buy a $10 million London home, which he’s going to make his main pad. And I’m sure Scientology is going to get a huge chunk too. I bet that right now, David Miscavige is breaking ground on the Shelly Is Fine, Okay? wing at Gold Base.
Pic: Cover Images/INSTARimages.com