10 Actors Who Earned Next to Nothing for their Roles in Successful Films
Granted, in most of these cases (save for the Paranormal Activity actors), the roles for which they were paid very little did help to launch their careers, so the sacrifice was obviously worth it.
George Clooney was paid only $1 for writing, directing, and starring in Good Night, and Good Luck (in fact, he mortgaged his house to help finance it). The film earned $54 million worldwide.
Jon Heder was initially paid only $1,000 for appearing in Napolean Dynamite a role he took as a favor to his friend, Jared Hess. The film earned $46 million worldwide.
Seann William Scott was paid only $8,000 for appearing in the first American Pie film, which earned $235 million worldwide.
The cast of Paranormal Activity were originally paid $500 for their work in the film, which would earn $193 million worldwide.
Harrison Ford was apparently paid only $10,000 to appear in the first Star Wars film, which would earn $775 million worldwide.
Hilary Swank earned $3,000 for her work in Boys Don’t Cry, and despite the risk of reducing her body fat to 7 percent, did not earn enough on the film to quality for health insurance. The movie, however, did earn her an Oscar, and $11 million at the box office.
Mel Gibson was paid only $15,000 for his role in the first Mad Max, which earned $99 million (or $421 million adjusted).
Joshua Leonard, who starred in The Blair Witch Project, earned only $500 for that movie, though it made $248 million worldwide.
Jamie Lee Curtis earned only $8,000 for her role in Halloween, which earned $70 million at the box office in 1978.
Bill Murray was paid only $9,000 to star in Rushmore, which earned $17 million.