Ryan Gosling reportedly earned $20 million for his upcoming film The Gray Man. The Gray Man is based on a novel of the same name by Mark Greaney. The novel follows Court Gentry, a former CIA operative turned freelance assassin known as the Gray Man. The film adaptation is said to follow Gentry, as played by Gosling, in his effort to protect his daughters, who are unaware of his existence. While the film’s plot diverges from the source material a bit, there are numerous books in the series, which means that The Gray Man has serious franchise potential.
The Gray Man is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who are best known for their contributions to Marvel’s cinematic universe where they directed Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The Russo brothers are reteaming with their Avengers writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely on The Gray Man, along with writers Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel. Joe Russo is also one of the five credited writers. Gosling will be sharing the screen with a roster of accomplished actors that include Alfre Woodard, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, and Billy Bob Thornton. However, with Gosling in the lead, he seems to have secured a hefty payday.
According to Variety, Gosling received a $20 million dollar paycheck for his work in The Gray Man. With the film having franchise potential, Gosling also has a multipicture bonus if sequels end up manifesting down the line. The $20 million Gosling earned is also said to already include a streaming back-end buyout, which is something streaming services are doing in lieu of box office returns.
Lead actors earning massive paydays was something that came to prominence in the 1990s. Jim Carrey set a high bar when he nabbed $20 million for 1996’s The Cable Guy, and it seems to have set a standard. Over the years, actors began taking pay cuts upfront with the promise of a share in the film’s profits, which has seen actors like Tom Cruise earn astronomical sums in back-end deals. Now, with the advancement of online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu that release new movies directly to their platform rather than in theaters, the way actors are being paid is changing.
Gosling’s $20 million with a back-end buyout is an example of the changes the industry is starting to see. As theater chains still work to get audiences back in the seats, studios are very aware of the shaky ground the COVID pandemic has left the industry on. With the push toward streaming greater than ever, these new payment models are likely to become commonplace. For audiences eager to see The Gray Man, it currently looks to be eying a 2022 release date on Netflix.