Robert De Niro has had an incredible acting career, having been on the big screen since 1963. How much money does he make per movie, though?
Reportedly, De Niro earned just fifty dollars for his first movie role in 1963 but would be earning around $200,000 by the mid-seventies. When the nineties came around, De Niro was receiving movie salaries in the millions, topping out at around $14 million in 2000.
Read on to learn more about Robert De Niro and his amazing career in the film industry.
You Talkin’ To Me?
De Niro’s most iconic role netted him $35,000, which at the time was the highest salary for an actor in a single movie. When he appeared in Taxi Driver in 1976, it was in a role that would become recognizable for decades to come. De Niro played Travis Bickle, an insane taxi driver who embarks on a killing spree. The film generated massive controversy when it debuted.
However, despite the movie grossing around thirty million dollars at the box office, De Niro received a potentially disproportionate salary. Although today, that salary would be worth around $160,000. The film was directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, with whom De Niro would work multiple times throughout his career.
As he worked his way through Hollywood, De Niro would find untold success. He became a highly sought after leading man, particularly through the eighties and nineties. His instantly recognizable voice and demeanor became iconic the world over.
He ultimately became a versatile actor, finding success in gritty thrillers just as much as comedies. He’s won a huge array of awards for his time on the screen, including two Academy Awards. One for his supporting work in The Godfather Part II, and another for his lead role in 1981’s Raging Bull.
It was a far cry from his first role in 1963, wherein De Niro was paid just fifty dollars. Bizarrely, he didn’t receive this money for another six years, as the film’s release was considerably delayed. The film, The Wedding Party, was a great industry exposure for the then young De Niro.
He was reportedly so young that he couldn’t even sign the working contract himself. His mother had to sign to permit him to receive the funds, which today would be worth around five hundred dollars. Although, he did get a chance to work with Brian de Palma, who would come to direct films such as Carrie, Scarface and Carlito’s Way.
The Big Paydays
In 2017, De Niro was slated to earn an eye-watering sum of $775,000 per episode in a Netflix production. However, the show – for an unknown reason – never aired. It wasn’t as though De Niro was hurting for the payday, though. In 2020, his net worth was estimated to be half a billion dollars.
Not all these earnings have come from movies, though. In fact, the majority of De Niro’s income is from ventures outside of the movie industry. He not only owns a football team, but also a string of restaurants, a vodka brand, and a fashion label. He’s a multi-faceted businessman with shrewd financial acumen, it seems.
Although he’d been working in the industry for over fifty years, he was still pursued for prominent roles. He secured a lead role in Scorsese’s 2019 crime drama, The Irishman. This was a Netflix release and performed incredibly well, as many Scorsese-directed movies do.
The movie was a massive financial venture, with a budget of around $175 million. The huge budget was reportedly unusual for a film in the genre, and especially for one that wasn’t going to the cinema. Scorsese wanted actors like De Niro so badly that he had to spend big on de-aging technology, to take years off his desired leading men.
However, as you can see in the below video, De Niro was showing his age at this point. In a fight scene in The Irishman, his movements are very rigid and wooden, and definitely don’t match the de-aged De Niro. Many critics zeroed in on this scene, questioning why a body double wasn’t used.
Having earned up to $14 million for his most successful movies, De Niro certainly has come a long way from his first payday of $50. Being as he is a truly dedicated career actor, it’s likely he won’t stop acting until he quite literally drops.