Denzel Washington’s Highest Salary Was From One of His Worst Movies After WB Tried to Cheat Him Using a Nasty Trick

Warner Bros.' attempt to limit Denzel Washington's pay in a film. He earned his highest salary for one of his worst movies due to a compensatory cheque from the studio.

Denzel Washington’s Highest Salary Was From One of His Worst Movies After WB Tried to Cheat Him Using a Nasty Trick

SUMMARY

  • Warner Bros. cautiously hired Denzel Washington for The Little Things in 2021.
  • The studio followed the industry norm, agreed to offer a backend profits alongside base pay to Washington for the film.
  • But the film fell short of expectations and WB ended up paying Washington a fortune for a flop.
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Denzel Washington has many movies under his name. Known for his powerful performance, Washington first came to light in 1982’s NBC medical drama series St. Elsewhere and then in the war film A Soldier’s Story (1984).

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Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington as Herman Boone in Remember the Titans

The actor has won Academy Awards two times. The first Oscar he won was for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an American Civil War soldier in Glory (1989). The other was for Best Actor for playing a corrupt cop in Training Day (2001).

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In no time, he became one of Hollywood’s most successful and well-respected actors. But he experienced a setback in a film that was one of his worst. Though, this turned out to be his highest salary.

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Denzel Washington Has the Highest Salary From A Flop Film

Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto in The Little Things
Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto in a still from 2021’s The Little Things

When Warner Bros. signed up Denzel Washington in 2021’s The Little Things, they limited their financial commitment to him despite his established star power.

In the film industry, offering movie stars a share of the backend profits along with their base pay is a common practice. That way, stars benefit if the film hits the jackpot without studios having to commit any hefty upfront payments.

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That’s what Warner Bros decided to do in the case of The Little Things in 2021. But things didn’t work out as what the studio thought initially. It utterly failed at the box office. Though the interesting thing was that WB ended up paying Washington a fortune. And it proved to be the New York native’s highest pay to date.

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Warner Bros.’ Sneaky Move Backfires as Denzel Washington’s Huge Payday For a Flop

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Little Things faced a unique release strategy. Warner Bros. Pictures made a deal to premiere it simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max for a month.

But it didn’t work out as planned. And Warner Brothers faced a dilemma when The Little Things got mixed reviews and fell short of expectations. It was only able to fetch just under $30 million at the box office.

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This also impacted Washington’s backend earnings for the flick. So, to avoid damaging their relationship with the esteemed actor, WB compensated Washington with a substantial check to cover the expected theater profit share. In total, the Hollywood star earned $40 million—combining his base pay and the additional compensation.

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Written by Shreya Jha

Shreya is an Entertainment News Writer at Fandomwire. She has over a year of experience in journalistic writing with a deep knowledge of entertainment world. After completing her bachelor's program in Journalism and Mass Communication, Shreya is now pursuing her master's degree in the same. Apart from being an avid reader, she's a huge Swiftie and K-culture buff. So yeah, when she's not writing, she will be caught listening to Tay or watching "Business Proposal" for the 100th time.