Sandra Bullock's Gravity Payday May Blow Your Mind

Oscar wins tend to lead to bigger paydays for actors, directors and other creative talents. It’s a big part of the reason why the annual Oscar race is as cutthroat as it has become. Having the description "Academy Award winner" ahead of your name drives up your asking price. So we knew that Sandra Bullock – already a huge star – would earn more bank following her Oscar win for The Blind Side. We just never imagined that the sky literally would be the limit for the former Speed star.

Bullock, according to a report in THR, stands to earn more than $70 million for her participation in Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-nominated space thriller Gravity… a movie that earned Bullock her second nomination. It will be her biggest payday to date. Bullock reportedly earned $20 million upfront to carry Cuaron’s lost-in-space picture. But the actress brilliantly agreed to take "15 percent of first-dollar gross," meaning the better the movie does (financially speaking), the better Bullock does.

So far, Gravity has earned more than $700 million worldwide. So Bullock is laughing all the way to the bank.

Bullock’s deal reportedly cuts her in on a percentage of the profits for home video, television and ancillary revenue. Which means thanks to her participation in this one film, she and the remainder of her family's family will never have to work a day in their lives again.

The funny part? She almost passed on the movie:

This isn’t a groundbreaking system. The concept of agreeing to take a percentage of a film’s profit – in an effort to cut down on up-front production costs – dates back to the earliest days of the studio system. But we went through a phase when mega-massive movie stars like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone were guaranteed somewhere in the ballpark of $25 million just to get their names attached to a picture. (Willis still believes he’s worth that type of money, which sometimes costs him a gig.)

Nowadays, actors like Tom Cruise (who don’t need the money) take pay cuts up front to get passion projects made. If the films succeed, the actors see more money on the back end… like Bullock and this current state she happens to occupy.

Try to imagine this: What if Bullock wins Best Actress for Gravity? How high will her asking price climb in that new reality? She is coming off major hits in both Gravity and The Heat. She has clout, and financial freedom. Bullock finds herself in a unique position of power. Outside of lending her voice to the animated Minions, she doesn’t really have a "next" project lined up. And as we said before, the sky literally is the limit as to what she’s capable of doing. We can’t wait to find out what it will be.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.