To make it far in Hollywood, one needs talent, looks and a good agent. Some of Hollywood's biggest stars have been able to secure multi-millions for movie projects that otherwise would have netted them only a small fortune. Take A-list celeb Sandra Bullock, for instance. Her Oscar-nominated performance in "Gravity" earned her rave reviews...and an estimated $70 million paycheck. Bullock was paid $20 million upfront for her role in Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller and then received a big cut of the movie's box office receipts; "Gravity" took in $710 million worldwide.
Bullock's decision to forgo her usual salary in exchange for back end points is not unusual: Bruce Willis, Cameron Diaz, Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves and Tom Hanks have also reaped huge financial rewards for clever contracts.
"If you’re really an A-list star and you’ve got negotiating clout...you can share in the pot of gold," says Adam Markovitz, senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, in the video above.
The deal Diaz secured for her 2011 hit "Bad Teacher" has become "legendary" in Hollywood, according to Markovitz. Diaz "can command a really hefty salary but she decided to take a bet on herself," explains Markovitz, and it ended up being "a smart deal for her but not a smart move for the studio." To get the movie produced, Diaz was paid $1 million -- a considerable pay cut for the blonde starlet -- but she was awarded a sizable percentage of box office sales. The movie was a success and Diaz walked away with $42 million.
Unfortunately not every lucrative deal pays off. Take John Travolta. He waived his $20 million fee to get "Battlefield Earth" -- the scifi action feature based on the book by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard -- commissioned for the big screen. In return, he agreed to a $10 million salary and an extra $15 million if the movie surpassed $55 million in ticket sales. Sounds great -- but "Battleship Earth" tanked at the box office, totaling just $21.5 million. Travolta's foolhardy move cost him $10 million.
What other Hollywood power players have benefited from these unique deals? Watch the video to find out!
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