×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside Move: The ‘Matrix’ recalculated

Reeves to take between $90 mil to $200 mil for sequels

Franchise players, indeed.

With “The Matrix Reloaded” well on its way to the $300 million mark in domestic grosses and lots more to come internationally, star Keanu Reeves and creators Larry and Andy Wachowski will be seeing more digits in their paychecks than in the pic series’ cryptic computer codes.

For Hollywood talent, it’s a lesson in Tentpoles 101: Pick your franchises wisely and ride them for all they’re worth.

Indeed, Reeves will easily be the best-paid actor in Hollywood in 2003, thanks to a lucrative deal for “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” the capstone in the Wachowskis’ futuristic trilogy that hits theaters in November.

Reeves will pocket between $90 million and $200 million for the two pics — with the latter figure closer to the mark.

Not bad for a thesp whose last franchise experience was a pair of “Bill and Ted” pics back in 1989 and 1991 and who (fortuitously) turned down an $11 million payday for a sequel to his 1994 action hit “Speed.”

The Wachowski Bros., who bagged about $16 million upfront for the two “Matrix” sequels, are positioned to reap additional millions in backend coin, as well as revenues from a hit vidgame ($5 million), homevideo and residuals.

Reeves’ windfall is due to an enterprising deal made by CAA and 3 Arts when Reeves agreed to reprise his role in back-to-back sequels: Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow agreed to pay $30 million against 15% of the gross for both pics.

With “Reloaded” a big hit after its first week (when the split favored the studio), Reeves has already burned through his $30 million advance on that pic and is well into earning his 15%.

The actor will also get 15% of the $700 million the pic is expected to earn abroad, not to mention a big chunk of revs from the vidgame, TV sale and other ancillaries. “Revolutions” will only feed his bank account further.

While complicated splits between Warners and Village Roadshow muddy the final profit picture, the deal provides a new reality for globally viable franchises.

It makes all the more perplexing Josh Hartnett‘s reluctance to commit to a three-pic deal with nine-figure potential for Warners “Superman” revival.

More Film

  • Alamode Acquires Lone Scherfig’s ‘The Kindness

    Alamode Acquires Lone Scherfig’s Berlin Opener ‘The Kindness of Strangers’

    Munich-based Alamode has taken German and Austrian rights to Lone Scherfig’s “The Kindness of Strangers,” ahead of the picture’s opening-night gala screening at the Berlin Film Festival next month. Alamode acquired the rights from London-based HanWay Films, which is handling worldwide sales. Entertainment One is distributing the film in Canada and SF Studios in Scandinavia. [...]

  • Voltage Pictures to Produce Airborne Thriller

    Voltage Pictures to Produce Airborne Thriller 'Blackwing' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Voltage Pictures will produce and fully finance screenwriter David Loughery’s latest thriller “Blackwing,” Variety has learned exclusively. The company will introduce “Blackwing” to buyers at the upcoming European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, which opens Feb. 7. Nicolas Chartier and Dominic Rustam are producing, and Jonathan Deckter is executive producing for Voltage Pictures. [...]

  • ‘Metro Exodus’ Opens Up Post-Apocalyptic Russia

    ‘Metro Exodus’ Author On Film, Possible TV Series, Expansive New Game

    Since the launch of the post-apocalyptic survival first-person shooter “Metro 2033” in 2010, the series has kept its action confined to the tunnels running underneath Russia. “Metro Exodus,” due out next month, takes the gameplay to the surface for the first time, going above ground with sprawling levels against a changing backdrop of weather conditions [...]

  • Berlin Film 'The Ground Beneath My

    Berlin Competition Film 'The Ground Beneath My Feet' Sold to Germany's Salzgeber (EXCLUSIVE)

    Salzgeber has acquired the German rights for Berlin Film Festival competition title “The Ground Beneath My Feet” from sales agent Picture Tree International. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s trailer. Salzgeber will release the film, directed by Marie Kreutzer, mid-May. Picture Tree describes the movie as a “contemporary female-led drama touching on [...]

  • Donald Glover'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals,

    Childish Gambino Surprises Beverly Hills Crowd With Reimagined 'Redbone'

    Donald Glover made an unexpected appearance at Film Independent’s “An Evening With…” series on Tuesday, held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills and presented by the HFPA. Joining “Black Panther” composer and Childish Gambino collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who was the subject of a Q&A conducted by “The Treatment” host Elvis Mitchell, [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Film News Roundup: Glenn Close Selected for Oscar Wilde Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Glenn Close gets an honor, AFI names its Directing Workshop for Women participants and Teri Polo gets cast in a Christmas drama. CLOSE HONOR Glenn Close will be honored on Feb. 21 by the US-Ireland Alliance at the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot in [...]

  • Jason Reitman Ghostbusters

    Jason Reitman to Direct Secret 'Ghostbusters' Movie

    Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman. Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise. Reitman has also co-written a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content