Jamie Lee Curtis reveals she didn’t make money from Halloween movies until late in her career, even taking the minimum upfront on the 2018 sequel.
Jamie Lee Curtis reveals she didn’t make money from Halloween movies until late in her career, even taking the minimum upfront on the 2018 sequel. Curtis, the daughter of Psycho star and original scream queen Janet Lee, became a scream queen in her own right after appearing in the original 1978 cult hit Halloween as Laurie Strode, the sole survivor of a killing spree perpetrated by Michael Myers. She reprised the role in Halloween II and returned again in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later in 1998 and Halloween Resurrection in 2002.
Curtis also parodied her reputation in the satirical series Scream Queen, and finally returned to the Halloween franchise for the 2018 movie of the same name, which ignored all of the sequels and reboots of the previous 40 years and pitted Curtis’ Strode against Michael Myers again after he breaks out of a mental institution. Directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley, the movie was a hit for Blumhouse Pictures, with two reportedly more intense sequels, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends coming in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
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Now, Curtis reveals that she never made much money from the horror films she starred in earlier in her career. During an interview hosted by Variety with fellow scream queen Neve Campbell of the Scream franchise, Curtis says that it was only on Halloween H20: 20 Years Later that she started to make money, and even added that on the 2018 sequel everyone who worked on the movie got paid scale (an industry term for the minimum allowed by the relevant actor’s union) but adds that on that movie she got a share of the profits and ended up doing ok. Curtis adds, though, that in the grander scheme of things she can’t complain. You can read her comments below:
The truth of the matter is, I didn’t really make much money off of the horror movies to be perfectly honest. Look, we’re actors, so we already make more money based on the little work we do. It’s hard to ever say, “I didn’t make a lot of money.” Tell that to a teacher or nurse. As a young actress, I did not [get paid well]. I did not have ownership in the movies. There was no profit participation. There was no back end. And I didn’t get out for that reason. And I certainly by Halloween 2, which was my last of the six [horror movies] I did in my 20s, I think I got paid OK for the time. But it wasn’t … there was no large amount of money made. So from my standpoint I couldn’t equate my role in it with money. Obviously someone was making a lot of money — it was not me. And it was only in the latter years [on] H2O [and] the 2018 Halloween, which, by the way, 2018 was made just like Halloween 1978. Nobody got paid upfront, everyone got paid scale. But then obviously I had a piece of the pie, so of course I’ve made some money off of that movie. But it’s only now. I’m 61. I didn’t legitimately make some money from horror movies until much, much later.
Campbell, who revealed in the same interview that she initially didn’t think the Scream franchise would become as iconic as something like Halloween, adds that she too has never made tons of money from horror, saying that sometimes even the promise of the back end profits never materialize due to creative Hollywood accounting. It’s a sad indictment that the women who are the faces of their respective franchises don’t feel they’ve been paid appropriately.
Especially when you realize that, together, the Halloween and Scream franchises have made more than a billion dollars at the box office. That’s small relative to the likes of the MCU, but those movies also cost hundreds of millions to make, as opposed to horror movies, which have small budgets in Hollywood terms. Hopefully, both actors see a bigger “piece of the pie” to borrow Curtis’ term, in future movies, given that Campbell has returned for Scream 5 and Curtis will play Strode two more times for Green and co.
Next: Halloween Kills: Laurie Strode Isn’t The Main Character (& That’s Good)
Key Release Dates
- Halloween Kills (2021)Release date: Oct 15, 2021
- Halloween Ends (2022)Release date: Oct 14, 2022
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