Will Smith Reportedly Gave His King Richard Co-Stars A Payout After Move To HBO Max

Will Smith and his co-stars in King Richard
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros.’ pivot to same day-and-date release strategy received some initial backlash from Hollywood and movie theaters. Fortunately, things have worked out for the better (see the success of Dune and Space Jam: A New Legacy). But the biggest potential pitfall of this strategy has been the backend box office profits. Thankfully, the film studio worked out that issue with many of its A-list stars. One of those who benefited from a hefty payout was King Richard’s Will Smith. While Smith received his cut, his co-stars were left out of the deal until he reportedly stepped up.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, close sources revealed the King Richard star received a reported $40 million payout from Warner Bros. After receiving a huge payday, Will Smith allegedly decided to give his co-stars some of the money. While the amount was not revealed, the sources reported the Hollywood star wrote personal checks to all his co-stars. Co-stars like Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal and Aunjanue Ellis received a nice bonus. Of course, being a producer on the biopic, the Oscar nominee wanted to make sure his stars were taken care of.

Giving some of his payouts to his co-stars showed just how generous Will Smith can be. But that wasn’t the first time his King Richard co-stars felt the love from the Hollywood star. Smith’s co-star Layla Crawford revealed he had gifted the entire cast new iPhones along with other gifts while shooting the anticipated film. So, the alleged bonus was nothing new as Smith showed his love and appreciation for his cast regularly.

Will Smith being generous to his co-stars showed his growth since his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days. The best example of that has been his repaired relationship with former co-star Janet Hubert. Hubert revealed she and Smith have communicated regularly since their revealing exchange during the Fresh Prince reunion. She seemed happy about the place where their relationship is at. It seems the Gemini Man star is out here trying to be a better person to his castmates – past and present.

All this charity seemed to translate to the Oscar buzz surrounding King Richard. Having seen the biopic already, multiple critics have singled out Will Smith as a potential Best Actor nominee. This might set up another battle between him and Denzel Washington following their nomination for Ali and Training Day for the 2002 Oscars. Even his co-stars Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton have been singled out for their performances in the feel-good sports film. Along with Smith, the film’s original song “Be Alive” by Beyonce might be a potential Best Song Oscar nominee.

As things began coming together, Will Smith wanted his co-stars to know their contributions didn’t go unnoticed. Moviegoers will get to see Smith give his all when King Richard arrives on Nov. 19 in theaters and on HBO Max.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).