By Natalie Robehmed
As the weather heats up, so does the box-office competition. Summertime is when studios release their tentpole projects: expensive movies they hope will make an impact. It’s also the season when rising stars are made — and seasoned stars are mangled.
Yesterday, we gave you the actors with the most to gain this summer. Up-and-comers aside, many established actors have hefty paychecks — and their reputations — on the line.
From a financial viewpoint, the person with the most to lose is Tom Cruise. No one other than Cruise could play agent Ethan Hunt, and for that reason he has been able to maneuver himself into earning a ton based on how the Mission: Impossible movies perform at the box office. He earned an estimated $40 million in profit from 2012’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol , which grossed $694.7 million at global ticketing booths. If 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation does well, Cruise could see his paycheck exceed that amount. If it flops, he will settle for far less.
Watch a ‘Rogue Nation’ trailer:
It’s been a while since Adam Sandler had an out-and-out hit, and his reputation as a box-office draw is on the line. Costing an estimated $110 million to produce, Pixels is the latest bloated budget movie starring the crumpled funnyman. For the past two years, he has topped Forbes’ unenviable ranking of The Most Overpaid Actors and 2015 may be no exception. If Pixels flops, Sandler’s studio appeal could falter. (His paychecks will remain afloat for a few more years: Sandler has scored a four-movie production deal with Netflix which will continute to plump his earnings.)
Another gag wrangler with a lot on the line is Mark Wahlberg. His 2012 Ted, which follows the trials of a crass talking teddy bear, grossed $549 million on a $50 million budget. Wahlberg will have his fingers crossed that Ted 2 does as well — his compensation is thought to be weighted so he receives less upfront but stands to earn big from its profit.
This summer also sees 67-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger reprise his most famous role in Terminator Genisys. He has had few silverscreen outings since leaving the office of California governor in 2011. If Terminator Genisys fails to dominate, it will be the ultimate embarrassment for the former strongman. Perhaps he won’t be back.
Additional reporting by Madeline Berg