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Here's What F. Scott Fitzgerald Made From 'The Great Gatsby' Film Rights In 1926

Aly Weisman
F Scott Fitzgerald family


F Scott Fitzgerald sold "Gatsby" to Hollywood for $16,666.00 — nearly $220K today.

A handwritten ledger documenting author F Scott Fitzgerald's film payments from 1919 through 1938 has just been released online  —  shortly before the modern "Great Gatsby" movie adaptation opens in theaters May 10.

According to Fitzgerald's records, he sold the "Gatsby" film rights to Hollywood in 1926 for  $16,666.00.

According to an inflation calculator, today that amount would be equal to  $219,174.85.

Baz Luhrmann's upcoming "Gatsby" has a production budget estimated at $127 million alone, while the 1974 film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow has grossed $20,563,273 since its release.

Fitzgerald's Ledger documenting his  film payments  is part of the F Scott Fitzgerald collection in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.

The ledger was meticulously divided into five sections:  “Record of Published Fiction,”   “Money Earned by Writing since Leaving Army,”   “Published Miscelani (including movies) for which I was Paid,”   “Zelda’s Earnings,”  and  “Outline Chart of my Life.”

Check out Fitzgerald's movie industry earnings, in chronological order, before commissions were taken:

  • Head And Shoulders  - $2,500.00
  • Myra Meets His Family  – $1,000.00
  • The Off Shore Pirate  – $2,250.00
  • ‘Option on my output’ – $3,000.
  • The Beautiful And Damned  – $2,500.00
  • This Side Of Paradise  – $10,000.00
  • The Camel’s Back  – $1,000.00
  • Grit  – $2,000.00
  • Titles for Glimpses Of The Moon  – $500.00
  • The Great Gatsby  – $16,666.00
  • ‘California work’ on Lipstick  - $3,500 00
  • ‘Additional Payment’ The Great Gatsby  - $3,333.00
  • ‘Treatment’ Metro Goldwyn Mayer – $6,000

Elizabeth Sudduth, director of the Ernest F. Hollings Library and Rare Books Collection at the University of South Carolina, points at items in a ledger owned by author F.Scott Fitzgerald.
Sudduth says the Fitzgerald collection is now valued at more than $4 million.
The university has digitized the ledger and put it online for scholars.

F. Scott Fitzgerald ledger


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