The Ridiculous Amount of Money Bruce Willis Got for The Sixth Sense In The End

The Ridiculous Amount of Money Bruce Willis Got for The Sixth Sense In The End
Image credit: Legion-Media

Bruce Willis is not only one of the most recognized and talented actors of his generation, but also one of the richest.

Even at times when his difficult character got better of him, his combination of business sense and sheer luck still allowed him to make bank in the end. Perhaps the best example of this is Willis making $114 million for The Sixth Sense despite negotiating a $14 million salary – and despite the fact that he did not choose to play the leading role in that movie to start with.

Rather, he was forced to by his contractual obligations, after the self-inflicted disaster that was Broadway Brawler forced Willis to sign a three-movie deal with Disney, which stripped him of his freedom to choose projects.

How Bruce Willis managed to turn his luck so miraculously? Well, $14 million was only an upfront payment. Willis also asked for 17% of the movie's global box office gross and additional rights to the film's home video sales. On the studio's end that was quite a risk, and on Willis' end that meant settling on a guaranteed salary well below his then-usual $20 million asking price, in hopes of recouping the loss if – and only if – the film succeeds.

That was far from a sure bet, given that everything about The Sixth Sense – a seemingly unremarkable horror film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, who at that moment had no track record of filming anything big or financially successful – resembled a potential cult classic rather than a potential high-earning blockbuster. But against any pre-defined expectations, the risks paid off handsomely. The Sixth Sense received great word of mouth and achieved a massive box office success earning $672 million worldwide and becoming the second highest-grossing film of 1999. Willis' cut from that reached $100 million, in addition for his salary. Never mind that his role in The Sixth Sense became one of Bruce Willis' most iconic performances, perhaps even his defining one, it got him more money than starring in the entire Die Hard franchise.

Now, at the end of his acting career, Bruce Willis has estimated net worth of roughly $250 million, more than enough for comfortable retirement. Ironically, a hefty part of that sum he earned from the film he probably would not have been a part of, if not for a contract forcing him to.