Although nobody can satisfactorily explain the phenomenon, $7 million has become the target figure for budding – and reviving – stars to shoot for ever since Jim Carrey scored that payday from New Line for “Dumb and Dumber.”

After “Pulp Fiction” re-established his name, John Travolta joined the $7 million club on the John Woo-directed, Mark Gordon-produced Fox action film “Broken Arrow.” Brad Pitt also is headed for membership in the club.

Though he has turned down a $7 million offer to star in a Warner Bros. remake of “Captain Blood,” Pitt is being courted for several films, including “A Time to Kill” and “Pair a Dice,” and he’ll undoubtedly get that figure when he accepts his next assignment.

Even if a star doesn’t accept a high offer, it becomes the measuring mark, as it did for “Speed” star Keanu Reeves when he turned down $7 million from Savoy to star in the screen version of the Tom Clancy bestseller “Without Remorse.” Reeves got his $7 million for Fox’s “Dead Drop,” an action film to be directed by Andy Davis.

Times sure have changed since Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” cost $9 million – total.