Gravity star Sandra Bullock set to earn $70m windfall for Oscar-nominated film

Actress would top Forbes' highest-paid actors list if paid the estimated sum

Sandra Bullock is set to enjoy one of Hollywood’s biggest paydays after the astronomical success of Gravity has secured the actress a $70 million fee.

The space thriller, expected to sweep Sunday night’s Oscars, has taken $703 million (£421 million) at box offices across the globe so far.

Bullock, 49, was paid an upfront $20m basic fee for her astronaut role. But under her deal with Warner Bros, she will take 15 per cent of the studio’s share of theatrical revenue, as well as a cut from home video, television and other sources.

Gravity is expected to pass through the $750 million box office mark, and once Warner has taken its 45 per cent share of the proceeds, Bullock’s share will total $50 million, including her upfront fee.

Additional earnings from television sales, DVDs and downloads will generate a further $20 million at least for Bullock, Hollywood sources believe.

Bullock, tipped to win Best Actress at the Oscars, will close the pay gap between Hollywood’s biggest male and female stars. Last year Forbes named Robert Downey Jr. the highest paid actor with earnings of $75 million, of which $50 million came from his role as Iron Man.

 

Bullock’s windfall is partly down to timing, luck and smart negotiating skills. The actress was riding high after her Oscar win for The Blind Side when the deal was struck in 2010.

Angelina Jolie had pulled out of Gravity when her management failed to strike a deal with Warner Bros. The studio needed an A-list replacement who could carry the film’s long sequences of a woman floating alone in space, giving Bullock considerable leverage.

Such “first dollar” guaranteed box office deals for actors are becoming rare, the Hollywood Reporter said, because studios now want to recoup all the costs for expensive productions before sharing the profits with talent.

Bullock’s co-star George Clooney, Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón and producer David Heyman are also believed to have “back end” pay deals.

Cuarón and Heyman may have renegotiated their deals during shooting, reducing their upfront fees, in order to keep the ambitious 3D film on track as the budget rose beyond $110m.

Bullock's windfall contrasts with the admission by fellow Oscar-nominee Jonah Hill that he gladly accepted the Screen Actors Guild minimum of $60,000 to work with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio on The Wolf of Wall Street. “I would sell my house and give (Scorsese) all my money to work for him,” Hill said.

Downey Jr. was denied his own Gravity payday. He was originally cast as the lead but Avengers and Iron Man 3 scheduling conflicts ended his involvement.

If Bullock gets to deliver another Oscar-winning speech, she might be advised to thank the team which boosted her bank balance – her representatives at CAA and the Ziffren Brittenham law firm.

Bullock has selected her roles sparingly in recent years. She is next due to appear as the voice of villain Scarlet Overkill in Minions, a 3D animated prequel to Despicable Me, set for release in Summer 2015. Gravity is up 10 prizes at the Oscars including best film and best director for Cuarón.

Hollywood’s biggest pay-days

Keanu Reeves

Agreed a $30 million flat fee to return in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions sequels but a 15 per cent cut of those movies' combined gross earnings bumped his total earnings to $185m.

Bruce Willis

Paid $14 million for role in supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense and agreed a 14 per cent cut of the gross. Surprise box office success made Willis $103 million richer.

Tom Hanks

Waived his usual $25 million fee for a profit-share agreement in 1994 romantic comedy Forrest Gump. Decision vindicated as huge hit paid out Hanks $70 million.

Tom Cruise

Back-end profit shares earned Cruise $100 million for both Mission: Impossible 2 and War of the Worlds. Tougher economic times forced star to cut his basic $25 million fee for MI: Ghost Protocol in 2011.

Harrison Ford

The veteran pocketed $65 million for 2008 return in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Waived full fee for profit share to help Paramount cover soaring budget.

Read more: Oscars 2014 nominations in full
Vagina rejuvenation procedure in Oscar's goodie bags
Jonah Hill accepted $60,000 for The Wolf of Wall Street
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue