5:02 pm update: Remember Matt Damon talking about having shot an Ocean’s 8 cameo? Well, he’s been cut from the film over mansplaining. George Clooney‘s Danny Ocean is “dead at the beginning and also the end when Debbie Ocean visits his grave,” a friend says. The only person from the Soderbergh Ocean flicks is Elliot Gould, who appears in just one scene.
Earlier: Manhattan get-around guy Bill McCuddy got me going on a question about the salaries on Ocean’s 8 (Warner Bros., 6.8). It’s a bit of a chickenshit thing to bring up but what the hell. The idea is this: Pay equality is a very big issue these days in progressive circles (i.e., opposition to this or that actor getting paid more than this or that actress on the same film if she has roughly the same billing and screen time), but perhaps the equality thing receded when it came to an ensemble flick about heisting the Met gala?
Ocean’s 8 only cost about $70 million so nobody got any huge prima donna paydays, but I’m guessing that Sandra Bullock was paid the most, followed by Cate Blanchett and Rihanna and then…?
A producer friend: “It’s not in the upfront quote on a film like this. This was probably a lowball favored nations. You can’t make this movie paying each cast member their quote. Crazy expensive. The big money on a picture like this is in the back-end deal. If the movie hits, you make a serious amount of dough. You let go of the big upfront salary and negotiate a lucrative profit participation.
“True story: George Clooney sent Julia Roberts the Ocean’s 11 script with a ten-dollar bill inside along with a note that said ‘we heard you got ten for a picture so we included it with the script. Hope you like it.’ Roberts thought the note was hilarious and said yes.
“The message was that nobody was getting their quote. It’s also in the spirit of being on the team. No prima donnas. Not an upfront paycheck deal. In it to make a movie that makes money at the box-office. That said, I’m sure the profit participation cash deal [on Ocean’s 8] was very, very healthy.”
Okay, but what about those profit participation deals? Surely they were unequal and tilted toward Bullock, Blanchett and Rihanna?
Producer: “Probably gross points for Bullock and Blanchett. Maybe for Rihanna. Depends on whether they all have different agencies that are competing or not. There are no real rules at all here except previous quotes. The concept of ‘who gets what?’ is not really so relevant in an ensemble cast of this size. It’s also a kind of experimental reboot of a franchise, so it’s unproven. If it flies, the subsequent deals and sequels would then capitalize on the success, unless they were pre-negotiated.”