Bruce Willis Refused $850M Franchise Because He Wanted $1 Million Per Day

Bruce Willis Refused $850M Franchise Because He Wanted $1 Million Per Day
Image credit: Lionsgate Films, Emmett/Furla Oasis Films

It may not be critically acclaimed, but this franchise could top $1 billion.


  • Bruce Willis is one of the most popular action movie stars of all time.
  • He knows his worth.
  • But he has priced himself out of this franchise.

Since rising to fame as David Addison on the popular comedy show Moonlighting in the early 80s, Bruce Willis has become one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

Now better known for the Die Hard movies, as well as blockbusters like The Sixth Sense and Armageddon, Bruce Willis has amassed a net worth of a reported $250 million in a career spanning five decades. But he could have been richer.

He wanted $4 million for a pretty minor role

Willis has played many popular characters, including Mr. Church in the first two Expendables films. In a cast full of big name action stars from years of movies, Willis' character was one that fans fell in love with.

After a cameo in the first film, he was invited to reprise his role in the sequel and given a more prominent role. When The Expendables 3 was announced, many assumed he would be back.

And he might have. A deal was on the table for Willis to return as Mr. Church. Not a bad deal either. He was offered $3 million for a substantial (but relatively small) role that would require him to be on set for four days.

To put that into context, we're talking about $83,000 an hour! He refused and demanded an additional $1 million for his trouble. With neither party willing to budge, Bruce Willis' time in The Expendables was up.

At the time, there was some debate as to whether he could be lured back for future sequels. Now that he's retired, that ship has definitely sailed.

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Bruce Willis in The Expendables (2010)

The franchise could be worth over $1 billion

Although the fourth installment of The Expendables was an expensive flop, the success of the first three films means that the total box office gross is just over $850 million. And rumors of a fifth film are still swirling. There are certainly some positive vibes around the possibility, but with Sly Stallone now in his late 70s and many of the other key players not far behind, it's going to have to be pretty quick.

One thing in its favor is that there seems to be fan demand. Critics hated Expen4bles, giving it only a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Conversely, its audience rating on the site is 70%. By this measure, the fourth film is the most popular with fans. The original got 64%, part 2 67% and part 3 is the lowest with only 48%.

This is not reflected in the box office results of the movies. The Expendables grossed $103 million, with the subsequent films grossing $85 million, $39 million and $16 million respectively.

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Expend4bles (2023)

However, a fifth film would almost certainly be a swan song that would capture the interest of action movie fans around the world. Regardless of the critical response, it could easily be expected to be a box office success.

And let's not forget the current trend of spin-offs and prequels that build on a franchise. The Expendables may never be a critical success, but it could ultimately be worth more than $1 billion.

But Bruce will have to make do with the $250 million he has in the bank thanks to his other projects.

Source: Celebrity Net Worth.