If you’re a big fan of The Matrix, or The Matrix Reloaded, you likely assume Keanu Reeves earned a hefty Hollywood sum, and you’d be partly right.
He did earn a massive pile of money, but it was more like a Kingly sum. Of course, if you’re a big fan of The Matrix Revolutions, you’re either imaginary or someone who hasn’t actually seen the film.
With roles in action hits like Speed and Chain Reaction, he was an established leading man. He wasn’t a big risk, but he also wasn’t the first choice for the film. He couldn’t command a $20 million salary, but he could negotiate a fat cut of the box office, which was expected to be good.
What wasn’t expected was that the man best known for playing Excellent Ted would lead the 1999 film to $460 million in box office receipts.
Reeves’ salary for The Matrix was reported to be $10 million plus 10% of the box office take. Quick math says he got $56 million for playing Neo.
He wasn’t in a sequel contract, so after The Matrix became the best selling DVD of all time, the studio had some hard negotiating to bring back the star to reprise his role.
For the consecutively filmed The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, Reeves landed a contract of $15 million plus 15% of box office for each.
Those two films went on to block busts as well. The Matrix Reloaded grossed almost buy you a single F-22 Raptor… Now that is a good value.