Put your money on Hanks

WASHINGTON:

Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks delivers for his $25 million per-movie salary, but not Jim Carrey, whose films haven’t done as well at the box office, a comparison in Entertainment Weekly showed.

Hanks, 49 and the star of the much-awaited film of the bestselling religious mystery novel, “remains one of the most bankable brand names in the world, which the Da Vinci Code should demonstrate later this month”, the Hollywood magazine reported.

Also “worth every penny” of their mega-salaries are actors Will Smith ($25 million a film), Brad Pitt ($20 million), and 2006 Academy Awards best actress Reese Witherspoon ($15 million).

But Canadian comedian Jim Carrey, 44, who was the first actor to ever break the $20 million barrier for his 1996 film The Cable Guy, and who now gets the same payout as Hanks, doesn’t bring in the bucks at the box office to merit that pay grade, EW said.

“He was the first to pocket a $20 million paycheck, but with Lemony Snicket and Fun with Dick and Jane only inching past $100 million each (in sales), studios may soon start looking for cheaper funnymen,” EW said. EW reaches the same verdict on the $20 million paychecks of Eddie Murphy, the Beverly Hills Cop and Nutty Professor star whose most recent films have flopped.

Despite his $12 million fee, John Travolta “simply doesn’t bring out fans like he used to,” EW said, and neither does the now 63 former Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford, who commands $15 million.

As regards top draw and Top Gun Tom Cruise, he has been asking for no pay up front and risks his take on a share of the ultimate box office — up to 30 per cent of the proceeds, EW says. With a total $2.5 billion earned by all of his films, Cruise could be worth it, EW suggested.

“It’s been a reliably winning gamble for the star, who is said to have taken home $75 million for Mission Impossible 2 and $100 million for War of the Worlds.” But such payouts cut into movie studios’ own incomes, EW noted, “making it an increasingly less comfortable deal for hit-starved studios.”