Keanu gave a kickback to Matrix VFX artists(!)

I haven’t been super caught up in it, but there has been a lot of talk this year in hollywood and beyond about how most blockbuster vfx driven movies don’t pay their artists very well, give them points or royalties, and how that practice is driving the entire industry in a race to the bottom.

It generally exploded when Lee Stranahan posted an open letter to James Cameron and it got picked up by the mass media. Lee has a lot of very valid points, such as

Just take a look at a list of the world’s top grossing films of all time – of the top 30 films, every single one of them is a visual effects driven or animated film.

That is definitely compelling. The top grossing 30 movies could certainly afford to break off a little piece of that for the vfx artists that helped make those movies so great. None of these movies had just a ‘little’ bit of vfx. Vfx MADE these movies. There are several films below where much of the ‘acting’ was in fact vfx. If they were actors they would have been paid far better, and worked far less… To be clear here is just the top 10.

1 Avatar
2 Titanic
3 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
5 Alice in Wonderland (2010)
6 The Dark Knight
7 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
8 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
9 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
10 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The point of this article is to look waaay back to 2003 in this little article from Hello Magazine where Keanu Reeves pledged to gave back £50m of his future proceeds from the two matrix sequels to the 29 costume and special effects artists! He was estimated to make roughly £70m out of the two sequels from both a flat paycheck and a percentage of box office revenue. That pledge amounts so him giving away 71% of his earnings from the two films!

The fact that Keanu deems it so important that he is paying them out of his paycheck is staggering. It is sad that it is the only occurrence I was able to dig up, but it is still a step in the right direction. Hopefully studios will start responding accordingly, and pay attention to things other than their bottom line.

~ by ross on June 4, 2010.

2 Responses to “Keanu gave a kickback to Matrix VFX artists(!)”

  1. Keanu Reeves only earned £70 from the two Matrix sequels and then gave fifty quid of it away?
    He needs a new agent and a new accountant!

  2. Ahhhh… MY bad. I’ll add an m to the end of those figures!

Comments are closed.