Gerard Butler got paid for Olympus Has Fallen, finally

Gerard Butler’s Lawsuit Shows How Twisted Hollywood Accounting Is

One of the gripes I see, while I’m minding my own business reading “real” ghost stories on the internet, is that actors are paid too much. Personally, I don’t particularly understand that general argument. Actors are the public-facing people of works of art that tend to make rich people even more rich. Why shouldn’t they get a significant payday? Would you rather more money go to the nameless suits at the top? Are these the same people who smugly say CEOs deserve every penny of their compensation when entry-level employees are making a woefully inadequate minimum wage? It doesn’t make sense!

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I bring this up because Gerard Butler, an actor who always means you’re about to have a good time even if a movie isn’t particularly good, just settled his lawsuit against the producers of the wildly successful “Has Fallen” film series. The suit was filed in 2021 and claimed that Butler was cheated out of a significant payday due to fraudulent accounting. Per Deadline:

Butler and his legal team claim he is owed more than $10 million in profits after it ordered an independent audit, which it said found the defendants “understated their own receipts and profits by over $11 million, including by failing to report approximately $8 million in payments to Producers’ own senior executives.”

The suit was filed July 30 [2021] in Los Angeles Superior Court citing fraud, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, intentional interference with contractual relations and accounting. Nu Image is a defendant alongside Millennium Film and Padre Nuestro Productions.

Hollywood is notorious for screwing over actors with “funny” accounting. John Cusack offered up an example of this in response to SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher announcing the SAG-AFTRA strike and railing against the CEOs of studios and streaming platforms crying poverty while giving themselves bonuses (like Butler claimed in his suit, too). Here’s the full content of Cusack’s social post:

The greed is almost a legendary comic trope – one fun fact – when I was a youngin- I did a film (with a boom box ) and somehow I got points – net not gross. Never expected to see any money – but the film became quite famous – so about 10 years ago – I looked again at the financial statements they were obligated to report – and to my shock – they claimed they had LOST 44 million dollars on the film – I thought wow , I almost bankrupted Fox! ( not really ) The film cost about 13 million to make – and money spent to release was minimal at the time – 30 years in – that film lost millions every year ! A neat accounting trick don’t ya think ?

John Cusack

Obviously, these are fantastical numbers to the average American. However, someone is making boatloads of money, and it’s clearly not the actors, comparatively speaking. Personally, I don’t understand how executive pay comes first, and profit sharing comes second. Butler apparently didn’t either. He did, however, seem to have gotten paid, finally, more than 10 years after Olympus Has Fallen came out. Per Deadline:

Details are confidential, but it seems the Scottish actor walked away “satisfied,” according to a source close to the matter. 

Again, it’s not that actors are never paid well for their job; it’s that Hollywood accounting is shady and its process is clear as mud. Personally, I’m glad Butler was able to hold the production companies responsible. Let’s hope real industry-wide change can occur, eventually.

(featured image: FilmDistrict)

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Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.