In one of his many cheeky TV moments leading up to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford offered a very simple answer to Jimmy Fallon when asked why he returned to the franchise: “They paid me,” Harris said blithely. And he wasn’t kidding.
Harrison Ford’s payday for his role as Han Solo in the The Force Awakens was massive, far outpacing the other actors in the new installment of the franchise. The 73-year-old actor received somewhere between $15 to $20 million for his role, according to Variety. The sum is substantially higher than co-stars Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and it’s in another league when compared to John Boyega (Finn), Daisy Ridley (Rey), and even Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron).
(Note that the linked Variety piece reveals significant Star Wars spoilers.)
According to the report, before the movie even got underway Disney decided to make a “legacy pay scale” for actors who had previously been part of Star Wars, and a different pay scale for first-time Star Wars cast members. Hamill and Fisher, both longtime stars in the storied franchise, received salaries in the “low-seven figure range.” Driver and Isaac, both of whom have had their share of small-time fame leading up to the movie, received “mid to high six-figures.”
At the low end of the scale were relative unknowns John Boyega and Daisey Ridley, who were paid “low-six figure” salaries.
Considering Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ unparalleled $238 million opening weekend, it looks like Disney’s significant investment in Ford reprising his role as Han Solo was an easy one to make. The seventh installment of the epic saga now has the most successful debut of all-time stateside. Jurassic World ($208.8 million), released in May of this year, previously held the record.
The cited salaries are prior to box office bonuses, but those won’t kick in until the film crosses the hallowed $1 billion line worldwide, according to Variety. In previous releases, the $1 billion watermark might’ve sounded almost absurd, but this is Star Wars: The film grossed $517 million globally in its first weekend.
Given his box office track record throughout the years, it’s easy to see why Ford made so much more than Hamill and Fischer (neither of whom have done much in the world of cinema as of late), but some may be surprised the film’s bright young stars got such a low fee in comparison. However, as Variety explains, getting pennies on the dollar to your superstar co-workers is “a fairly common practice in today’s market for newer actors.”
Give it time, kids. You’re all going to be rolling in it soon enough.