Harrison Ford Was Paid Over 50x More Than ‘Star Wars’ Co-Stars

Star Wars the Force Awakens Han
Courtesy of Disney

[WARNING – SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen “Stars Wars: The Force Awakens”  do not read any further because of plot details below.]

With its global bow now at a record $529 million, “Star Wars'” box office success will undoubtedly afford its cast members heftier pay cuts on their next projects. But just how much money did “The Force Awakens” actors earn to join a galaxy far, far away?

Sources tell Variety Harrison Ford came away the big winner on Disney and Lucasfilm’s sequel with a paycheck upwards of $10 million and as high as $20 million to reprise his role of Han Solo.

On Monday, the Daily Mail issued a report saying that Ford earned a staggering $25 million to return to the “Star Wars” franchise. A Disney insider tells Variety the story is completely false and way too high but other sources did confirm that the 73-year-old actor earned a substantially larger cut than his co-stars.

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher took home salaries in the low-seven-figure range, according to sources. Newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were paid in the low-six-figure range ($100k-$300k).

Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac, meanwhile, received offers of mid- to high-six figures. Because Driver and Isaac had fixed quotes from previous film and TV work, sources say their deals were negotiated higher compared to Boyega and Ridley, who, for the most part, had never appeared in a large-scale film before.

Insiders tell Variety that Disney made a decision in 2014 prior to casting the new roles to create a “legacy pay scale” intended for talent like Ford, Fisher and Hamill, who had previously been a part of the “Star Wars” universe, and general pay scale for actors that would be appearing for the first time.

Hamill and Fisher’s salaries are expected to rise in upcoming installments as their parts grow with each film.

The salaries don’t include back-end bonuses from the pic’s box office haul that in a rare case doesn’t even kick in till the film crosses $1 billion worldwide, and following the success of “The Force Awakens,” deals are expected to be renegotiated before the next films get underway.

While Ford is considered the biggest star in the ensemble, the No. 1 reason the actor walked away with the most money had to do with the fact that this would be a one-off situation for him (MAJOR SPOILER), since his character dies in “The Force Awakens.”

As for the younger talent receiving lower salaries — it’s a fairly common practice in today’s market for newer actors, especially with so many negotiations involving back-end box office bonuses. For the first “Fifty Shades of Grey,” stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan received offers in the six-figure range and have since renegotiated multimillion-dollar deals for future installments.

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  1. John says:

    John Boyega should have died at the end, since when does slicing someone up the back with a lightsaber not kill them. He did a terrible job portraying a weak character (maybe it was his terrible acting) he should not be on screen, he is lost.

  2. Joel Vinkle says:

    �I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Return of the Jedi has never gone into profit, we�ve got nothing to send you. Now here we�re talking about one of the biggest releases of all time,� said Prowse. �I don�t want to look like I�m bitching about it,� he said, �but on the other hand, if there�s a pot of gold somewhere that I ought to be having a share of, I would like to see it.� – David Prowse

  3. Daniel says:

    I think the producers should give the lower paid actors bonus checks after the success of the movie. It is only fair. They are fat cats.

  4. Issac says:

    If you think about the amount of time these new young lead role actors had to put into making the film then they really did not make much money at all. However, if you also take into consideration how this film will now propel their respective careers in the industry then it isn’t all that bad as now they have made a name for themselves. I haven’t seen the film as I am not a huge Star Wars fan (I didn’t know the spoiler would be as big as it was lol) but I do intend on watching it as the two young lead actors seem very well placed in their roles for the Star Wars franchise.

    • Dar says:

      militantgod:
      “Have you even watched the movie? Daisy Ridley is going to be a huge star. The series has seemed to really hinder Harrison Ford and Natalie Portman’s careers. And don’t even try to say Portman was some huge star before The Phantom Menance. 13 year girls, that aren’t products of Disney’s kiddy music and TV shows, don’t draw people to the theaters.”

      Hamill, Fischer, and Christiansen, who are the three unknowns, haven’t had a succesful career afterwards, though Christiansen tried with (the under-rated) “Jumper”.

      Natalie Portman was now a big star but she was known, from “The Professional”, “Heat”, and “Mars Attacks”. She was getting there with or without Star Wars, much like Ford with “American Graphiti” and later appearances in “The Conversation” and “Apocalypse Now”.

      I may be wrong, but if history is to go by, Boyega and Ridley are going nowhere fast in their careers.

      • DNA says:

        Hamill went into voice acting where he did VERY well for himself (his role as the Joker on Batman the Animated Series is considered one of if not the most iconic portrayals of the character of all time)

    • Dar says:

      “However, if you also take into consideration how this film will now propel their respective careers in the industry…”

      Honestly, if the six previous movies are anything to go by, their careers are going nowhere.

      No one who wasn’t already famous got much a career afterwards.

      • militantgod says:

        Have you even watched the movie? Daisy Ridley is going to be a huge star. The series has seemed to really hinder Harrison Ford and Natalie Portman’s careers. And don’t even try to say Portman was some huge star before The Phantom Menance. 13 year girls, that aren’t products of Disney’s kiddy music and TV shows, don’t draw people to the theaters.

      • Matt S says:

        The series “seemed to really hinder the careers” of Ford and Portman? Really? Are you serious?

        You mean the Harrison Ford who went on to Indy Jones, Best Actor Oscar nominated Witness, Airforce One, Patriot Games, The Fugitive, and many more?

        How about Portman who followed Star Wars with a Best Actress Oscar win for Black Swan?

        Most actors would get on their knees and beg for this kind of “career hindering”…

  5. The Author says:

    They could cast anyone they wanted in the new roles and picked two genuine nobodies (Ridley and Boyega) and two non-star names (Isaccs and Driver). None of those were going to put butts in seats. On the other hand, if they wanted Han Solo in the movie their option was megastar Harrison Ford or no one. You pay what it costs to get him. Given this is a man who devotes more time to working on his house, flying vintage planes, and volunteering to fly rescues in his helicopter, I think it’s money well spent that won’t be going on hookers and blow. And now it’s a fraction of the movie’s take to boot.

    • Shaun says:

      Can’t really agree with this. It is Star Wars. No one is going to see it or not going to see it because of Harrison Ford, regardless of his personal popularity. Indeed, it’s highly debatable how much “star power” really works. There are very few people who actually bring people into the cinema. It’s usually the quality and appeal of the project that does that. The Marvel movies do well because of the built-in audience and the nature of the material, not because of any of the actors involved.

      • Brabbit says:

        Star wars has been ongoing since the 70s. It’s one of those movies most people see eventually. However, most people absolutely do base what movie by who plays the lead. Side note, I’m tired of all the comic book superhero movies, but as long as the mindless sheep flock to the theater with platic in hand, Hollywood will always place profit over content

    • Bob Marley says:

      What’s wrong with hookers and blow? I can’t imagine how much inspiration came from that combination! A ton of the music that goes into many many movie sound tracks came full force from hookers and blow. That’s narrow minded thinking. If you never tried hookers and blow than its even more narrow minded of you! Most often its out of control situations when too much blow leads to dirty hookers and trouble occurs that’s a problem. But you have to appeal to the main stream so called church folks so I get it.

  6. DSD says:

    Another article that refuses to accept we live in a CAPITALISTIC society. You are paid what your name is worth, how much you draw people into theaters. Ford sells tickets, that’s why he’s paid more. This film wouldn’t have gotten near the hype without his name. The others are young and will get paid more as they make names for themselves (if they’re good enough to do so!)

  7. Micki Bauer says:

    And worth every penny

  8. Frank Hammer says:

    So big deal, you prefer he wasn’t back? We’re not talking useless CEO POS here, okay? The man is a national treasure.

  9. baulsingers says:

    Wow john Boyega only $300k peanuts!

  10. StarWarsFan says:

    Variety you should delete this sentence. “Hamill and Fisher’s salaries are expected to rise in upcoming installments as their parts grow with each film.” Spoilers.

  11. DarkStarAz says:

    Good thing they already killed Darth off or Disney would have had to shell out another $25M

  12. Joey says:

    I can see why Hamill got paid low seven figures for his role in this film, which I’m sure was both more physically and mentally taxing on him than Ford’s role…

  13. Grateful says:

    So what!!! In the years that have passed since Ford first appeared in Star Wars, he has earned his way to megastardom and deserves every nickel he is paid. This implies that you support wealth distribution…a purely communistic fallacy.

  14. Carl C. Kenyon says:

    Harrison Ford was worth every dime, for he was, as usual, superb!

  15. Dick Delson says:

    I’ve known Harrison for a very long time.Not only is he very talented, but he’s one of the nicest guys on the planet

  16. KP says:

    Considering how much press Ford has been doing — appearing on EVERY late-night talk show and all the other press and videos — it seems likely that he’s got QUITE a bit vested (not INvested) in this film.

    If in 1989 Jack Nicholson can walk away from Batman with about an $80M payout from his salary, backend points and piece of the merchandising, it seems VERY likely that Ford has a similar deal and will make a lot more money.

  17. “With its global bow now at a record $529 million…”

    Kind of says it all in that sentence. If the “lesser” cast members were paid the same way the original

  18. DanZee says:

    It’s simple supply and demand. Harrison got paid so well because Disney couldn’t cast anyone else in the role of the older Han Solo. The fans wouldn’t accept anybody else. Ditto for Luke and Leia. For the kids, Disney could have hired anyone. When the original cast was in their position 40 years ago, they were only paid in the low five-figures. In Hamill’s original contract, he was paid about $35,000 up front, but the three of them did get a small cut of the profits, which amounted to about a million dollars each afterwards.

  19. Last check says:

    Spoiler alert – He will not make another dime from Star Wars!

  20. STAR WARS WOULD NOT OF BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE HARRISON FORD AND CARRIE FISHER SHOWING IN THIS ,,,,THAT IS ONE GREAT REASON I WENT TO SEE THIS MOVIE,,THEY NEEDED TO SHOW US OLDER GENERATIONS THEY MOVED ON AND THE NEW GENERATION IS NOW TAKING OVER…AND IT WILL GO ON,,,

  21. Paige says:

    And has acted like a total ass. STAR WARS made him and he acts like it was an inconvenience to do this movie. Probably why they killed him off. I say this because of the interviews he’s done to promote it.

    • Matt S says:

      What an idiot comment. Ford did a fine job this time around. As reported by him and JJ, unlike decades ago, he was happy to reprise his role for he liked the story and those making the movie. He has likely come to terms with the character and what it means to people and pop culture after letting nearly 40 years pass.

      If the experience was an “inconvenience” and bad experience, why did attend previews, the SD Comicon and almost every late night talk show to promote the movie? Most stars who have issues with a movie they just filmed distance themselves from it, not laud it.

      Ford was worth every penny he made if not to simply give legitimacy and initial excitement of the project.

    • Steven says:

      Maybe that’s because he broke his leg during production. Also, I think he honestly cares about the integrity of the films. He started ‘being an ass’ way back in RoTJ when they changed their minds about killing off Han Solo because they wanted to be kid friendly. After the darker tone of Empire Strikes Back he probably worried about doing a movie where Teddy Bears defeat the Empire. Never-the-less he gives a top performance in everything he does, if you don’t believe me then check out the Star Wars Holiday Special. Cracked did a video on how he’s clearly giving his all in what he must have known was the low point of the franchise.

  22. Jeff Rittenour says:

    well it would have been garbage without him lol ;)

  23. Speaking on behalf of all the trees and wildlife the charitable Ford will save with all the extra $$$, “THANK YOU!”

  24. Dalton F says:

    I feel like the spoiler warning came a little late in that paragraph. It’s already spoiled at the point that the warning is placed. Maybe move it up to the beginning of the sentence.

  25. He had the most screen-time of all the original cast (meaning Mark Hummel got paid at least $1m for the one minute he was on the screen much more than Ford’s $10-20m for at least 40-60 minutes on-screen so $0.16-0.5m per minute)

    As for the new cast being paid less they were probably chosen from a wide selection of actors and actresses meaning if the studio had all the power in the salary negotiations compared to the original cast who could practically only be plaid by the original actors.

  26. Eddie Hagler says:

    He earned it… he was the only one of the original cast to do any real acting or action scenes…

  27. Matt S says:

    For being “industry publication”, it’s amazing how many folks responding here have a superficial, non-business, “equal pay for all” People Magazine mentality. It all seems wonderful now, but let’s not forget making a new Star Wars movie by a Disney and its chosen director, JJ Abrams, was a controversial to a suspicious many within the fan base.

    Ford’s salary was worth its weight in gold well before he stepped onto the first soundstage. His presence (along with Hamill and Fisher) gave the movie instant credidibilty and an anticipation buzz that was worth ten times the cost. Was it Ford’s young costars who made grown men weep at the conclusion of the first trailer when “We’re home Chewie?” came on screen?

    “Selling” this movie to the fan base well before opening day was critical as it’s the springboard to so much more Star Wars coming being planned and created simultaneously by Disney, from movies and games to theme park lands, and the success A Force Awakens was critical.

    So, if you can break your minds from the shackles of a salary envy mentality, in retrospect, Ford’s pay day was clearly a bargain. As for the new kids, have no concern for them. They will be greatly compensated for the sequels (not to mention any box office bonuse they are receiving now) and will maybe have their own chance for 8 figure salaries to reprise their roles 40 years from now…

  28. Garry Cotton says:

    Well this is kind of expected really if you think about it logically.

    Comparing to Fisher and Hamill, Ford is in the movie a heck of a lot more. Fisher I’d class as supporting actor, Hamill is pretty much a cameo whereas Ford is virtually one of the main characters.

    Comparing to the new leads, well, they were relative unknowns, so their pay is going to be quite a bit lower. That’s normal and I suspect their pay will go up considerably for the next movie.

  29. Kamille says:

    I understand paying Ford more because he’s a legend and so is his Han Solo character but 50 times more? Isn’t that a bit ridiculous?

    • tom vinelli says:

      Oh come on .what Disney made on this film(still ongoing) is chicken feed what they paid everyone.Your thinking based on what you make in a real world job. In the movie business ,this kind of pay is normal.

  30. NikGl says:

    This movie would have been a mere shadow of what it turned out to be, had Ford not been in it. Harrison Ford put in one of his best performances in years in this film, perfect as a world weary Solo re-energized by the events of the film. He and Ridley carried the entire movie. As for the pay differential, remember that Ford got $10,000 for the original Star Wars. He has worked his way to this pinnacle and the newcomers, all of whom got many many multiples over what Ford got for his first Star Wars movie, will similarly work their way up the pay scale.

  31. nerdrage says:

    Holy crap, that’s a lot of money for Ford to sleepwalk through his role. Boyega and Ridley, I dunno. Mary Sue characters are apparently popular, but I didn’t see much in them. Isaac of course is another story. He’s got enough screen presence to spare and needs a bigger role in the next movie (with Boyega, who works well in scenes with him).

    But the real find is Adam Driver. He’s got a tough role, easily the most challenging assignment of them all: take an emo whiny pathetic overgrown teenager and turn him into someone who won’t turn our stomachs. And he pulls if off! Anakin Skywalker, eat your heart out.

  32. Jack Monte says:

    He deserves it. Harrison is 50x more talented than the new leads for the film that can’t even hold my attention through an interview or commercial.

  33. mike pazda says:

    D’oh.. I missed the “spoiler alert”.. no point going to see it now…

  34. Smokey Bottoms says:

    Good Lord. Hamill got over a million bucks for putting on a bathrobe and doing the “dramatic squirrel”?

  35. Maybe because all the other actors were nobodies, duh.

  36. Matt S says:

    I find article like this that project salary envy a bit annoying.

    Did grown men weep with joy when the new stars appeared on screen in the first trailer? I think not. Those were 10 to 15 million dollar tears. Money well spent for Ford, if you ask me.

    The kids most likely have box office performance bonus in store and will renegotiate their contracts for upcoming episodes based on TFA’s success. Everyone will be happy in the end.

  37. Robert says:

    Uh-oh, that sounds racist and sexist Hollywood!

    • Matt S says:

      And don’t forget age-ism. How dare Ford’s legacy and age allow him more money than young newcomers? Where are the politicians on this? Hillary?

  38. Je vizzusi says:

    What big surprise? He is 50x the actor of anyone else in the cast! He opens -box offices.. none of the other talent can make that claim. Pay the man…

  39. verbatim says:

    Why is this a story? Han Solo is a major character in the mythology of Star Wars. Ford is well known actor who played the roll well. These are two newcomers and their characters are not necessarily the draw to the film.

    Plus, he didn’t make that much money the first time around. He deserves to get get paid.

  40. paulmor909 says:

    Harrison Ford still has the draw when he plays his most famous characters, namely Hans Solo and Indiana Jones. The last Indiana Jones was a huge hit in spite of being a mess (especially the inter- dimensional aliens crap ending) and the new Star Wars might go on to become the biggest grosser in history! The newcomers bring nothing except fresh faces and good potential actors. And Fisher and Hamill never went on to anything much outside of Star wars unfortunately.

  41. onexupdate says:

    Nothing unusual about ths…Harrison Ford is a major plus to SWVII. I loved the movie & I did not expect it to be as good as the 1977 SW. I stood 2 1/2 hours in line to see that one back in ’77. And I was not happy that Lucas sold out to Disney. I love Disney, but I thought they may have pushed for a different kinds of SW movie. I WAS WRONG. JJ Abrams and Disney did as good a job as any. I enjoyed SWVII from the beginning to the end and felt the same kinds of emotions that I did in ’77. Yep, I sure did. So I definitely look forward to the next installments. I hope they come out every year!

  42. Justin Kroll and the Variety staff offerd the caveat to not read the article with a SPOILER alert, but some ignored the warning , and now upset. Suggest that Variety put spoiler alerts in 36 point type et on two lines and repeated…in tandem. Make that 42 point.

    • babsw says:

      The spoiler alert that is now at the beginning of the article was added subsequently by Variety, so not at all helpful for early readers- when this article was originally posted there was no spoiler alert.

      • doug r says:

        If you haven’t seen the movie that came out a week ago, and are reading articles about it, ya takes yer chances

    • babsw says:

      Spoiler alert was stated about four words before the actual spoiler given so visually no way to avoid reading the spoiler. That is why all the upset.

  43. DK says:

    Maybe not the world’s greatest idea to insert the spoiler-alert after the spoiler!

  44. taffy says:

    Well he is the only box office name in the movie. What do you expect? Plus they needed him for plot reasons. What next? An outraged “expose” to tell us that Meryl Streep was paid more in her latest movie than some random extra?

  45. lazytrini says:

    Thanks for spoiling it you bastards. Seriously. Pretty much never clicking on a link for Variety every again. I have no words to describe how much I hate you.

  46. babsw says:

    Wow! What an incredibly poor way of inserting a spoiler alert (for a very BIG spoiler) been very careful at avoiding all articles as they typically have spoiler alert at the very beginning of the article. I thought I was simply reading an article about pay and as I continued to read have now ruined the experience I was looking forward to having for Star Wars. Having the alert mid sentence when there is no way to not see the next few words is now way to alert readers. I can’t unsee what I just read so now I simply have to go into the film knowing this very major spoiler – this wasn’t some small point that purists would want to avoid knowing.

  47. Mike says:

    For the record….if you write “Spoiler alert” in the middle of the spoiler, it does nothing, and you’re still a jerk. Never coming here again…..

  48. wjm980 says:

    Just another click bait story. Hamill and Fisher are nowhere near the box office draw of Ford, and everybody knows that….except apparently, Variety.

  49. Sco says:

    Simply put they did not pay that money for Harrison Ford, they paid it for Han Solo. Even in the last Indiana Jones movie he still seemed like Harrison Ford doing an Indy shtick; in this, he firmly (re)established himself as Han Solo.

  50. Eric says:

    Not sure why this is news… Harrison Ford’s movies have made 100 times more than the entire younger cast’s films combined. (Note: I have not done the math. My figure may be a lie) Either way, the man earned his money :-)

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