Arnold Schwarzenegger began as the Austrian bodybuilder who won Mr. Universe but soon rose to be one of the biggest action film stars in the world.
Arnold Schwarzenegger makes anywhere from $12,000 to $35 million per movie. The movie that has earned him the most money ever comes as a shock to most people. It was the 1988 film Twins. However, when Arnold started his career with the role of Hercules in Hercules in New York, he made only $12,000 for the film.
Scroll down to read more about what Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid for his early roles, his highest-paying roles, and his net worth today.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Started Small
While he isn’t a small person, Arnold definitely started out his acting career with some meager paychecks. As mentioned above, he was paid only $12,000 to star in the 1970 film Hercules in New York.
While the checks got bigger after that they weren’t exactly huge. When he was signed on to star as Conan in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian, Schwarzenegger was paid $250,000.
His contract stipulated that he couldn’t star in any other sword and sorcery films. His paycheck for the sequel, which came out two years later, was only $360,000.
However, he saw it as an opportunity to establish himself as a Hollywood actor. He did it for the experience, not the money.
It was also in 1982 that Arnold took the opportunity to star as the antagonist in James Cameron’s debut film, The Terminator. It was a super low budget film with only $6.4 million in funds so Arnold was paid only $75,000 for his role.
As we know, the film was a massive success grossing over $78 million at the box office. From then on it was official, Arnold sells, at least that’s what was thought.
From that point on, Schwarzenegger’s pay increased significantly. His paychecks rose to millions.
According to Republic World, “He earned $2 million for Commando, $3.5 million for Predator, $11 million for Total Recall, $12 million for both the movies, Kindergarten Cop and Terminator 2.”
These paychecks don’t even come close to his biggest paychecks ever either.
You can watch the below YouTube video where Arnold Schwarzenegger shares the secret of his success in a 2018 speech.
Arnold’s Biggest Payout
While the numbers above are pretty massive for films that were released in the 1980s, Arnold has received bigger paychecks. The most money Schwarzenegger has ever made on a role is probably for the 1988 film Twins.
He said that he would star in the film for free if they would give him backend rights. He ended up working out a deal where he, Danny DeVito, and Ivan Reitman would own 45% of the film.
It was a massive success and it is estimated that he made about $40 million from the deal. That translates to over $88 million today when factoring in inflation.
Another role that gave him a massive paycheck was T3: The Rise of Machines. According to Edward Jay Epstein at Slate, Arnold landed an absolutely ludicrous contract for the role.
Apparently, the contract included a stipulation that Schwarzenegger would be paid $29.25 million regardless of whether the film was made or not. He had an overage fee of $1.6 million a week that he would be paid if the film’s shooting went over the allotted 19 weeks.
Producers were forced to accept his contract because he was the face of the terminator. Oh and one other thing, his contract included 20% of profits after the cash break-even point.
Overall, Schwarzenegger made over $35 million for the 2003 film. And of course, this contributed to his massive net worth.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Hundreds of Millions
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Arnold Schwarzenegger has a net worth of around $400 million. All of that money didn’t just come from starring in films either.
When he moved to America from Austria in 1968, Arnold had around $27,000 with him. It was all of the money that he had earned from bodybuilding competitions.
He used that money to invest in real estate. He started buying apartment buildings in the Los Angeles, California area.
Every time a building increased in price, he would sell and then invest in a larger building with more units. This strategy has led to him owning around $100 million in real estate alone today.