Ah, the joys of being a film star. Aside from having worldwide fame and millions of fans, our beloved Hollywood A-listers also earn a hefty six to seven-figure salary when they appear in big-budget films. Some even rake in more when they serve as actor-producers. But what about the times they made equally mind-boggling pay for very little work? Read more to find out how some stars made millions in mere minutes …
The veteran actor received somewhere between US$1-3 million for his 30-second cameo (he only needed to stand and remove his Jedi hood) in the box office smasher Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), according to Men’s Health Magazine.
The American sweetheart was paid a whopping US$3 million for her six-minute appearance in Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day (2010), where she played a soldier opposite Bradley Cooper. According to Vulture, Roberts earned around US$500,000 per minute.
Back in the day, Depp was known for his US$20 million per film rule. However, amid the ongoing scandal he is currently in, he was asked to leave a few films and even had his salary reduced. In 2020, he was asked to step down as Gellert Grindelwald from the Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts 3, which he has already appeared in twice. Despite this, Depp still received a US$10 million pay cheque thanks to his pay-or-play contract. According to IBTimes, the contract “requires that he be fully compensated whether a film is made and even if he is recast”.
American actor Rhames played an integral role in the Mission Impossible series. In 2011, he returned for a fleeting appearance in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and managed to reportedly snag US$7.7 million. Rhames was also paid US$3.5 million in 2006’s Mission: Impossible III.
Albeit being a difficult actor to work with, Hollywood’s “Godfather” Brando was also a bankable star. So for Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman, the actor asked for US$3.7 million and an amazing 11.75 per cent back end to play Jor-El. He was on screen for less than 20 minutes, per Variety.
Robert Downey Jr.
Downey kicked off Marvel’s gargantuan superheroes franchise when he starred in the first Iron Man films. He then reprised his role in the star-studded The Avengers (2012). According to Cinema Blend, Downey was in the film for a total of 37.01 minutes and was paid a whopping US$50 million for his work, whereas his other co-stars only received a US$4 million pay cheque.
Clooney only appeared for 18 minutes in the Oscar juggernaut Gravity (2013), but he was handsomely rewarded with US$20 million plus a share in revenues, according to Cheat Sheet. He reportedly used his film salary to surprise friends with US$1 million gifts. Talk about being a great friend.
The charming Murray played himself in the mega-hit horror-comedy Zombieland (2009). While he only appeared for a few minutes, he was paid a US$3 million salary for this role, as reported by Money Nation.
Although Ford was billed as main actor, he only spent roughly 20 days working on Kathryn Bigelow’s K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) and earned US$25 million for his role. When you do the maths, Ford was paid roughly US$1.25 million per day.
Watching Rampage on Prime right now & it got me thinking…what is your favourite movie featuring @TheRock?
The Other Guys might just edge it for me pic.twitter.com/loR0TpZcaQ
— FUTDAD // FUT Trading (@FUTDAD) June 12, 2020
As Forbes’ highest-paid actor in the world in 2020, Johnson commands a ridiculous amount of money even for a short appearance. In 2010, he did a cameo in the cop-comedy The Other Guys and walked away with a US$9 million cheque, according to Yahoo! Finance.
Sure, it wasn’t a seven-figure salary, but US$250,000 for one day of work is still a pretty penny. That’s what Hollywood’s controversial star Sheen earned for a one-day shoot in Scary Movie 5 where he essentially played himself. However, as reported by TMZ, the actor gave Lindsay Lohan (his film’s co-star) a US$100,000 check to help her out with her financial troubles, and he donated the rest of his salary away.
Scottish actor Connery also made US$250,000 for an uncredited cameo in Kevin Costner’s 1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He reportedly only spent one day on set.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.