Here at GFR headquarters, we have a big bank vault full of chocolate coins that we occasionally like to go swimming in, though never in the hot, melty summer. Some might say we could have done something better with our money than buying all that candy, but we aren’t so good with money. We should have gotten some advice from Sandra Bullock, whose rare and hyper-specific contract with Warner Bros. is giving her a mega-gigantic payday for her work on Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. She’ll be stacking dollar bills all the way to the International Space Station when the rest of her $70 million-plus earnings are all paid and done.
According to THR, the Oscar-winning actress took advantage of her post-The Blind Side fame to hook up a contract that guaranteed her $20 million up front against 15% of Warner’s first-dollar gross. So even though it sounds kind of obvious, let’s drag that out. Once her advance has been matched, she gets 15% of the film’s $700 million grosses, plus the same percentage off of Blu-ray/DVD sales and free TV deals. I’m assuming if Warner decided to release a LEGO tie-in — filled with broken pieces of the Hubble that no longer fit together — she’d be making $5-$7 on those sets too.
This might sound like bad news for Warner, but they’re not sweating it in the least. Obviously the film did better than anyone imagined it would, with giant takes from 3D and IMAX, and the only other company that teamed with Warner financially is Brett Ratner’s RatPac-Dune Entertainment, and that’s only a small percentage. With the production and marketing budget combined totally around $220 million, combined with other standard fees to foreign distributors and the $70-80 million going to Bullock, it’s still quite a pay day. Granted, it’s possible that co-star George Clooney, producer David Heyman, and Cuarón himself all got miniaturized versions of Bullock’s deal, but still. This is a spectacle film that completely earned its box office. In fact, it’s by far the highest earning film of everything nominated for a Best Picture at Sunday’s Academy Awards.
This is the same kind of deal that gave Robert Downey Jr. enough money to buy several small countries for his work on Marvel’s Iron Man and Avengers movies. And it all would have been different had the film gotten made with its original star, Angelina Jolie, who dropped out early on. I can’t imagine Gravity would have made as much with her in the pilot seat. Though I bet the sounds of her whimpering and breathing heavily could be turned into a soundtrack that would sell millions. I need to break into Hollywood with these ideas.
Have you guys seen Gravity on Blu-ray or DVD yet? How does it look?