With leading roles in popular series such as “The Matrix”, “John Wick” and “Bill & Ted”, Keanu Reeves has been a star for more than three decades. How much does he make per movie?
Keanu Reeves’ salary has varied greatly throughout his career. He was paid $95,000 for his role in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, compared to the $250 million he reportedly made from the two “Matrix” sequels. Much of his wealth has come from box office profit-sharing.
For more on Keanu Reeves’ career in movies and how much money he has made, read on.
Bill & Ted
For many viewers, their first exposure to Keanu Reeves was in 1989’s “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, where he played Theodore “Ted” Logan.
The film became a cult comedy classic, spawning a sequel, “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” a couple of years later, as well as a second sequel, “Bill & Ted Face the Music” more than thirty years later.
As one of his first roles, Reeves’ portrayal of Ted did not net him the millions he would enjoy later in his career. He was paid a reported $95,000 dollars for the role, an impressive amount for a young actor but one he would later greatly surpass.
Money clearly isn’t the primary motivator for Reeves, who famously (and probably wisely) turned down a role in 1997’s “Speed 2: Cruise Control”, leaving a reported $12 million on the table in the process.
While Reeves is a professional actor, he is evidently not a greedy one.
After a relatively mixed spell in the mid-1990s, Reeves starred alongside Al Pacino in the well-received “The Devil’s Advocate” in 1997. He reportedly agreed to have his salary reduced by a few million dollars so the producers could afford to hire Al Pacino.
The film was the beginning of his most successful period financially and “The Matrix” would take his career to new heights. He was paid $10 million upfront for the first film in the trilogy but this eventually rose to $35 million from profit-sharing when it turned out to be a smash hit.
The huge success of “The Matrix” meant that Warner Bros soon greenlit a pair of sequels, to be made simultaneously and released half a year apart in 2003. It’s unclear exactly how much Reeves was paid for the sequels, though it’s believed he was being paid about $15 million per movie at the time.
In any case, the “Matrix” sequels were even greater successes, with “The Matrix Reloaded” in particular becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie for 13 years until it was eventually overtaken by “Deadpool”. As Keanu retained a sizable profit-sharing deal in his contract, it’s believed that he was paid as much as $250 million for starring in the two sequels.
According to the Wall Street Journal, however, Reeves decided to donate much of his profit-sharing money to the films’ production. It’s alleged that he gave away tens of millions to the special-effects and costume-design teams, saying that they deserved to be properly funded for their hard work on making the movies.
Reeves’ next big series would debut a decade later with the premiere of “John Wick” in 2014. The film, which had a modest $20 million budget, saw Reeves reportedly paid less than $2 million.
His reduction in salary was not unique to him; the majority of major film projects no longer pay their stars significant salaries upfront and prefer to backload their contracts with box office incentives. “John Wick” made $80 million globally, meaning Reeves likely made a good deal more than his initial payment.
While he received a higher salary for the sequels, about $2.5 million for “John Wick: Chapter 2”, the film’s much larger $171 million worldwide gross means he probably made significantly more than he did for the original movie.