Arnold Schwarzenegger, known for his iconic roles and illustrious career, made headlines in 1997 when he portrayed the villain Mr. Freeze in the film Batman & Robin. Notably, Schwarzenegger earned an astronomical sum for his role, as he revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Reflecting on his changing perspective on money, Schwarzenegger recalled how $5,000 meant a lot to him during his early days working in construction in the ’70s. However, as his circumstances improved and he transitioned to Hollywood, his paychecks grew significantly.
His breakthrough moment in terms of earning power came with Batman & Robin, where he was reportedly paid over $30 million, securing his position as the highest-paid entertainer in Hollywood’s history at the time.
During the 1990s, Hollywood witnessed a trend of actors commanding substantial paychecks. Jim Carrey, for instance, famously earned $20 million for his role in The Cable Guy (1996), a figure that other prominent actors such as Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner also commanded for their films in the ’90s. Julia Roberts was known to earn the same amount per movie, a fact that her Ocean’s 11 co-star George Clooney playfully teased her about.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, Batman & Robin featured George Clooney as Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. The film marked Schwarzenegger’s notable collaboration within the superhero genre.
Before landing his extraordinary payday for Batman & Robin, Schwarzenegger had already made a name for himself in Hollywood. His filmography includes notable works such as Stay Hungry (1976) alongside Jeff Bridges and Sally Field, Conan the Barbarian (1982), and the immensely successful 1984 sci-fi film The Terminator. Additionally, he ventured into the realm of comedy with movies like Twins, co-starring Danny DeVito, and Kindergarten Cop.
Schwarzenegger’s filmography continued to expand, with appearances in The Expendables series, among others. His upcoming project, the Netflix film Fubar, is set to release on May 25.