Film star salaries are not like they used to be. What was once an escalating war has been capped in recent years as star power has dwindled in favour of concepts and franchises ruling the day.
Even one of the few remaining box-office stalwarts – Tom Cruise – is earning around $12-14 million for “Top Gun: Maverick” – a far cry from the $20+ million he earned back in the 1990s (and that was in 1990s money).
A new article in Variety however indicates that the one place a star can still make a lot of money up front is streaming services – specifically Netflix. For example “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds is being paid a whopping $27 million to star in the Michael Bay-directed “Six Underground” which deals with a billionaire-financed vigilante squad.
Will Smith will reportedly score $35 million for reprising his role for the “Bright” sequel – which is more than twice the $17 million salary he’s receiving to do “Bad Boys for Life”. Denzel Washington was also rumored to be up for receiving $30 million to topline an Netflix action film for the company before opting to pass in favor of other projects.
Those numbers far outweigh the likes of $20 million that Dwayne Johnson and Robert Downey Jr. recently commanded for “The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle” and “Hobbs & Shaw,” or the $12 million Emily Blunt is getting for “A Quiet Place 2” and $10 million Gal Gadot is receiving for “Wonder Woman 1984”.
Netflix deals however are all upfront – there’s no residuals and no back-end deals which is how Lupita Nyong’o filmed “Us” for little more than scale, but by the time the film finishes up its home entertainment run she’ll be several million richer. Smith’s “Bad Boys for Life’ deal is likely to have a similar arrangement.