[Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens ahead]
Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens has had an epic opening weekend, smashing Jurassic World's $525m global box office record at $529m. With a cast comprised from massive household names from the original saga to relative unknowns, fans are bound to be curious how that huge profit compares to the salaries of its actors - who will no doubt now be looking at a significant pay rise for the next installment!
With Hollywood salaries usually negotiated with regard to fame and past successes, an actor's worth within any project can be a unique and complex quality to calculate in financial terms. The Force Awakens cast is a very mixed bag of notoriety versus screen time; however, one of the movie's actors has reportedly been paid proportionately a far larger salary than their co-stars.
The Force Awakens is the seventh episode on the saga's timeline and a hugely anticipated event from arguably the most popular sci-fi franchise in the world. Debuting during the holiday period as the largest scale release with only Oscar tipped The Hateful Eight and The Revenant as its real competition within the next few weeks, the movie has already broken several box office records and looks to out perform it's franchise predecessors. The installment is the first Disney produced Star Wars movie, with Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams at the helm.
The original saga's three big names; Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) all reprised their famous roles in The Force Awakens with varying degrees of screen time within the movie, but Variety have reported a rumour that Ford was awarded somewhere between $10 and $20m for his part in Episode 7 next to Fisher and Hamill's more moderate seven figure salaries.
Disney and Lucasfilm have apparently been fairly conservative in terms of the studios' actors pay in general, although a “Legacy pay scale” was devised for its returning actors. Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) - both having significant film and TV experience - have reportedly made “mid to high” six figure amounts for their roles, while the film's two young leads - Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn) - reportedly made low six figure amounts due to their relative inexperience in large scale projects.
These salaries are fairly common for lesser known actors as they do not include the post box office takings bonuses that are standard to many contract negotiations. It is probably safe to assume that Ford was awarded the heftier sum because (Spoiler Alert) this will be the only new installment he will star in due to the death of his character. The other cast's pay deals will undoubtedly rise with each feature and their worldwide fame, with the expectation that we will see more of Fisher and Hamill in Star Wars: Episodes VIII & IX alongside the charming and talented new lead characters.
Fan devastated by the demise of fan-favorite Han Solo can at least look forward to the young Han Solo spinoff film that is confirmed to be in the works and enjoy speculating about who will be cast to take on the iconic role (note: the movie will apparently sit between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope on the franchise's timeline). Ford is still open to returning to the beloved franchise - and with more Star Wars universe stand-alone features and spinoffs planned, it is possible we will see him again in some capacity.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.