Die Hard Salary: Bruce Willis' 80s Paycheck Now Looks Like a Joke

Die Hard Salary: Bruce Willis' 80s Paycheck Now Looks Like a Joke
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The holiday season is the best time to rewatch some classic Christmas movies like Home Alone and Die Hard. While millions of fans can't resist watching John McClane trick Hans Gruber over and over again, some viewers wonder how much money Willis' first big movie made him.

With a $250 million net worth, Bruce Willis is number 37 in the top 50 richest actors, according to CelebrityNetWorth.

The A-lister started his career on the big screen with the beloved action movie Die Hard. The movie was a success and has become a cultural phenomenon. With a $25 – $35 million budget, Die Hard grossed about $140 million.

It has become a perfect transition from television to the big screen for Willis who had already been famous for portraying private detective David Addison Jr. in Moonlighting. Besides, in 1988, Willis' salary for Die Hard looked pretty high.

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Bruce Willis got $5 million for the 1988's movie. It would be around $12.5 million today after adjusting for inflation. Though at the time it was a shocking amount of money paid to an actor, today this salary looks average, to put it mildly.

For comparison, Robert Downey Jr. received about $75 million for Avengers: Endgame. It is more than Bruce Willis earned from the entire Die Hard franchise.

The huge 1988's hit became the first installment in a franchise when Die Hard 2 was released in 1990 and three more action movies followed. Each next installment grossed more than the previous one with the exception of 2013's A Good Day to Die Hard which received negative reviews and became the third highest-grossing movie of the franchise.

With a $7.5 million salary for the second movie, $15 million for the third, and $25 million for the fourth, the Die Hard franchise has made Willis at least $52 million. Robert Downey Jr. earned a total of $345.5 million portraying Iron Man in nine different Marvel movies. So Willis' paycheck looks like a joke in comparison.

However, Die Hard sent the actor to stardom so he has nothing to complain about. Thanks to the perfect start to his career, Willis set a record for the highest paycheck paid to a Hollywood actor for a movie. In 1999, Bruce Willis earned a total of $114 million for The Sixth Sense thanks to a percentage of the movies' box office.