Johnny Depp has made $350 million on Pirates movies

Senior Editor
07.06.11 14 Comments

The only Pirates sequel I'd watch

If you wondered why a universally-liked and generally-respected actor like Johnny Depp would waste so much of his time and credibility wearing eyeliner and dancing with skeletons, the answer is pretty obvious: CASH MONEY, SON! (*swings through room on chandelier, steals dinner roll, farts out candles*) Citing an “individual with knowledge of his deals,” TheWrap reports that Depp has earned $350 million from the franchise, so now you know how he affords all those accessories. Disney officially disputes the number, and Forbes estimated his 2009 – 2010 earnings at $75 million, but here’s how the Wrap says they came by their number:

The insider told TheWrap that Depp is paid a percentage of the movie’s gross profits after what Hollywood refers to as “cash break.” Cash break is the point after which the studio breaks even on its production cost and marketing expenses.

The Pirates franchise has made $3.7 billion worldwide, but as we’ve learned, with Hollywood Accounting, breaking even is never a guarantee.  The difference between a cash-break deal for a big player like Depp and your average net-profit deal is that if/when the film does break even, Depp gets a share of the GROSS profit, rather than splitting up net profit.  Whatever he’s made, I think “a f*ckload” would be a safe estimate. Not coincidentally, TheWrap also reports that Depp is nearing a deal to return for the fifth installment (“5rates of the Caribbean”, I assume).

Depp is close to signing a deal to star in a fifth “Pirates” movie, an individual close to the negotiations told TheWrap.
Another individual close to the franchise said that a rough draft for the script was in, and that producer Bruckheimer and others were meeting intensively – three and four times a week – on improving it. A deal will depend on whether Depp likes the script, but this individual said the broad strokes were in place for a deal with the lead actor.
He is working on another Bruckheimer project, “The Lone Ranger,” in which he plays Tonto. That will shoot in October.

And I imagine that the script’s “broad strokes” look something like this:

[banner picture source]

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