Bruce Willis has been a bona fide blockbuster action star for about 25 years now, and in that time, like most A-list actors, he has been well compensated for his work. Over the course of his career he has signed many multi-million dollar contracts - to the point where you'd think that $1 million wouldn't be that much. Apparently it means everything, though, because it was that sum that ended up stopping the Die Hard star run in the Expendables movies.
Following Sylvester Stallone's announcement yesterday that Willis would not be returning as the mysterious Mr. Church in The Expendables 3, The Hollywood Reporter did some digging and apparently discovered what caused the fallout between the two action stars. According to the trade's anonymous source, Willis was offered $3 million for four days of work on the set of the anticipated sequel, but said that he wouldn't return for less than $4 million (a.k.a. $1 million for each day). Stallone and "everybody else involved" rejected this counter-proposal, and Willis walked away from the table. Within three days of that negotiation Stallone reached out to Ford and got him to sign on. Said the insider, "I think [Willis] was pretty surprised he was replaced in 72 hours by Harrison Ford — a better actor, a much nicer person and a more interesting direction for the film."
When Stallone revealed the news about both Willis and Ford yesterday he was quite vocal - and a tiny bit passive aggressive - about his disappointment with Red 2 star. Said the actor/writer on his Twitter feed,
As Katey explained in her feature earlier today, this is far from the first time that Willis has managed to get under somebody's skin during his time in Hollywood. Over the course of his career there has been very public antagonism between him and people like his Moonlighting co-star Cybill Shepherd, Michael Bay, and Kevin Smith. What's surprising about the Expendables news, however, is that Willis and Stallone actually go way back - all the way to the days of Planet Hollywood.
Hopefully someday the two sides will be able to bury the hatchet and then we can have Willis come back for The Expendables 16.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.