When Jim Carrey got $20 million to star in The Cable Guy, a lot of people in Hollywood were furious. Actor rates subsequently went through the roof, thus driving movie budgets into the stratosphere.
But in Hollywood, so much money is at stake on movies, the industry will pay huge amounts of cash in return for some sense of security in what’s essentially a big budget crap shoot.
Recently, Forbes compiled a list of over-paid actors, with Eddie Murphy and Drew Barrymore topping the list.
Murphy, who may have the worst taste in material of any major star in Hollywood, needs to thank Shrek every night for keeping him in business, as Forbes reports the studios get back $2.70 for every buck spent on him. (Barrymore only brings back forty cents per dollar spent).
Will Ferrell was number one on this list for the last two years, this time he’s #3, and he’s bringing back $3.50 on the dollar.
Others on the list include Reese Witherspoon, Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler (who could be in real trouble with Jack and Jill, which by all accounts is painfully unfunny and forced, hence it flopping at the box office), Nicholas Cage, who stopped actually acting years ago and now just sleepwalks through his roles, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman.
The Hollywood money game is obviously completely insane, and it’s nuts to think someone would pay this kind of dough to an actor just for a false sense of security. What’s even more insane about these amounts of money is how eager Hollywood is to pay it, and believe me, nobody’s gonna fork out this kinda cash unless they’re willing to.
Only when actors desperately want to do a role, like when Cage was actually acting and did Leaving Las Vegas, will they willingly work for much less money, and as we’ve seen by the recent debacle over the Lone Ranger at Disney, it’s not easy to convince people in Hollywood to work for less, even in these rough economic times.