Money, Dear Boy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
One of the greatest stage actors of all time performing the classic role of Laser Zeus.

"People ask me why I'm playing in this picture. The answer is simple: Money, dear boy."

Laurence Olivier, on his role in Inchon (full quote here)

"I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said 'Hey, here's $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.' What am I going to say, no?"

Shaquille O'Neal, explaining why he did Kazaam

Sometimes, undeniably famous, classical actors and actresses take roles in movies that are very against their type. Unlike the Classically-Trained Extra, who laments that their talent is being wasted, or the small but legitimate roles of the One-Scene Wonder... or the Old Shame of roles taken when it was the only work available, this trope covers actors who are completely fine with the situation. Why? Simply put: the long green.

Obviously, movies are big business, and the right name at the top of the poster can be the difference between a hit and a flop. And it's hard to argue with the fact that, when offered buckets and buckets of cash for three weeks of shooting, anyone would be a fool not to take it. After all, acting is a volatile profession, as many starving artists can attest, and financial security for you and your family is nothing to turn from: It's not so much selling out, as selling well. And furthermore, most creative professions are overcrowded; for every wealthy and successful artist who can afford to sniff at jobs that are 'beneath' him or her, there's ten or more underworked ones who would kill for a chance at the income. On a cynical note, in today's economy, you shouldn't be surprised to see this more often.

Still, if you do too many of these, you run the risk of having a rather strange IMDb record and irrevocably ruining your reputation as a creative thespian: so much potential and talent wasted. Some artists, however, can turn this to their advantage; a common reason cited by many successful artists who engage in this trope is that a high-paying job that doesn't greatly interest them means that they have more money to put into funding and appearing in lower-budget but more creatively appealing ones.

To be clear, however, there is no shame at all for doing a movie for the money, and if the movie happens to be a great one, artistically or popularly, all the better. People in creative jobs need an income the same as anyone else, and in fact, many of the greatest popcorn flicks of all time are great primarily because the studio shelled out the money to get actors and directors who would rather be doing something else, but who were still prepared to give the audience a good performance. However, doing a So Bad It's Horrible movie is something to be ashamed of, and it'd be a lie to say the first doesn't often lead to the second. Still, these performances can be delicious Ham and Cheese in the otherwise bad movie. Similarly, whether the result is quality or not an artist who takes the job for the money but still makes the effort to put in a decent (or at least entertaining) performance will usually be afforded more respect from the audience than one who took the money but made it clear through their performance that they couldn't care less or thought it beneath them. And in many cases it can be subverted: Even if it is for the money, the level can be kept high and professional and they can turn out something great (like the example with Coppola and The Godfather). It's just that most cases where somebody does something strictly for paycheck tends to be for a reason...

Similar to getting a healthy paycheck, some actors will just want to do something "their kids can watch", the kind of roles most actors seek usually being dark and not appropriate for minors.

A common theme—especially among older actors and actresses—stems from growing up during hard economic conditions, either from a poor economy as a whole or from family hardships. The fear that "The Next Job" may not come, as it often failed to do for their family, drives them to take roles they might not otherwise be interested in.

Compare and contrast Doing It for the Art (when artistic value and/or achievement is the primary motivator), and Awesome, Dear Boy (when the actor takes the role for the coolness of it, regardless of how crappy the work is).

See also Paying Their Dues, I Was Young and Needed the Money (when this trope is given as the excuse for Old Shame), What the Hell, Casting Agency?, Took the Bad Film Seriously, and Humans Are White (for non-white actors who have little choice but to take what they can get).

Not to be confused with Only in It For the Money, which is when this is the excuse a character uses in-story. Also notice that if a great actor is in a crappy movie, it doesn't necessarily means that he's in it just for the money.

Examples of Money, Dear Boy include:


  • Arab-American comedian and actor Ahmed Ahmed has a stand-up bit where he talks about getting offered the role of Terrorist #4 in a Hollywood movie (after attempting to troll the audition by playing the role as mockingly over-the-top as possible). Ahmed describes that his first reaction was to reject the role on principle, because every time an ethnic actor takes a stereotypical role it just perpetuates the problem... until his agent informed him that he would be paid $30,000 for a week of work, at which point he promptly signed on.
  • Anime dubbing actors do not get high pay; in fact, actor and singer Eric Stuart (of Pokémon fame, among others) once stated in a video that one commercial stint pays more than a week of dubbing an anime episode. 4Kids! Entertainment, notorious for its hack-and-slash translations and edits of its licenses and its opinions of television viewers in general will never live down its reputation, but compared to other dubbing companies, it paid its actors very well, so it's unlikely that anyone who works/worked there will ever complain about the company's existence, despite any personal feelings they might have over their editing practices.
    • It doesn't help that a lot of anime and video game dubbing is non-union, which means there are no minimum wage requirements for the dubbing studio.
  • Lance Bass and Richard Chamberlain had cameos in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. The title alone indicated the quality of the film.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared in Airplane! because the role paid for an expensive rug he wished to purchase. Subverted in that the movie (and his part in it) is now considered a classic.
  • Ben Affleck once hawked Paycheck on Conan O'Brien. Conan asked him why he did the film, and Ben told him "the answer lies in the title", fittingly.
    • Affleck appeared on a British chat show to publicise the movie, only to be told by the enthusiastic host that it was one of the best science fiction films he had ever seen - the host actually suggested that Paycheck was at least as good as Blade Runner, and asked Affleck if he agreed. You could see how bemused Affleck was as he admitted that he thought Blade Runner was the better movie.
    • Co-star Paul Giamatti referred to the film as "the aptly-named Paycheck" in an appearance on The Daily Show.
  • John Barrowman stated this as his only reason for appearing in the legendary Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.
  • Halle Berry received a record salary for appearing in Catwoman, which flopped at the box office. She accepted the "Worst Actress" Razzie with her Oscar (for Monsters Ball) in her other hand. This film has a strange history; before Berry was attached it was a generic superhero film. After getting her, it became a vanity film for Berry, and they shoehorned in the Catwoman angle. Perhaps Money, Dear Boy was at work when DC Comics allowed their trademarked name to be used in a film they had no input to.
    • It really didn't help that the actual Catwoman character was off-limits because of the possibility she would appear in another Batman movie.
  • Paul Bettany's growing family must be the reason he made Legion and Priest. He even pulled out of the lead role in The King's Speech (which won Colin Firth an Oscar) to do the latter.
  • Bruce Boxleitner in The Mockbuster Transmorphers: Fall of Man. This being a freaking Mockbuster, it can't be any other reason. Hell, anything he's done apart from Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Tron and Babylon 5 probably does.
    • He was also in King of the Lost World, another mockbuster by the same company.
    • He must either have hellish bills or be inordinately fond of Tron, as he is the only cast member that has been in all the incarnations, including Kingdom Hearts.
  • An entry in Roger Ebert's "Little Movie Glossary" describes the effect of Marlon Brando's participation in a film as the "Brando Acceptability Yardstick" - as the whole idea of respected actors doing comic book movies for the money can be traced to him. See the Superman franchise, Apocalypse Now and the 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Incidentally, Brando received, as a salary for the entirety of his work on The Godfather, approximately 1% of his Superman: The Movie salary, which was once calculated by The Guinness Book of Records as $8... per second!
  • In an interview promoting the film 28 Days (no, not that one) the interviewer asked Sandra Bullock why she chose to star in it. She promptly answered that she needed the money. The interviewer started to laugh, but stopped shortly when he noticed Ms. Bullock was serious.
  • Steve Buscemi will not turn down a high-paying role. When asked about his appearance in Armageddon, he replied, "I wanted a bigger house."
  • Michael Caine, who has stated: "First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don't come, I choose the ones that pay the rent." His most shameful role is probably Hoagie in Jaws the Revenge - his work on the film also prevented him from attending the ceremony where he would've been awarded his first Oscar. After his work on Jaws IV, Caine finally started turning down offers like this. At least until his appearance in Bewitched.
    • Caine said of Jaws IV: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house it built, and it is terrific."
  • In his autobiography, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, Bruce Campbell explains this reasoning in response to fan criticism of his appearances in stinkers like Congo. He reiterates that actors need to pay the bills like everyone else, and notes other side-benefits of being tied to a production. In the case of Congo, he was flown to Costa Rica, and his scenes did not involve the rest of the main cast so he was only needed on set one day a week. The rest of the time he toured Costa Rica on the studio's dime, "which I would have done myself anyway!".
  • John Carradine may well be the patron saint of this trope. On the stage he played Hamlet. On the screen he played, well, damn near anything. He wasn't just in B-movies, he appeared in Z-movies like Red Zone Cuba and Vampire Men of the Lost Planet.
    • And his son David Carradine definitely followed in his footsteps.
  • Sean Connery agreed to do his last official James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever, for a fee of £1.2 million, which he used to found the Scottish International Education Trust (an arts funding company for Scottish artists).
  • Joan Crawford, for much of her life, was an in-demand actress who reigned at the box office. However, no one can deny that her film choices later in life were less motivated by the need for fame and more influenced by cold, hard cash (which was apparently caused by her star power fading and her being ousted from the board of Pepsi, formerly run by her deceased husband). This would explain why she went from dramatic leading roles to scenery-chewing in cheap horror films like Berserk! and Trog,[1] as well as appearances in several short-lived television series (although she did also appear in the most guest-star laden episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.). As Neil Deagle of Bad Movie Night explained about Trog, "It's really sad to see such a huge star (like her) be consigned to the Z-grade abyss of films like this. But, hey, a girl's gotta eat."
  • John Cusack has gone on record as stating that he'll take just about any well-paying gig he's offered, because it lets him finance the small indie projects that are his true artistic love.
  • When asked why he did Stargate, Jaye Davidson said, "I needed the money.".
    • Originally, he had no intention of acting again after The Crying Game. So when he was offered a role in Stargate, he insisted on a $1 million salary, figuring there'd be no way they'd be willing to pay him that much. But his offer was accepted, and he decided that it'd be nice to have some financial security, so he took the role.
    • Ditto for James Spader, who found the script "awful". "Acting, for me, is a passion, but it's also a job, and I've always approached it as such. I have a certain manual-labourist view of acting. There's no shame in taking a film because you need some fucking money."
  • Gerard Depardieu stars in an average of 3.6 movies a year, most of them probably to pay his bills. There's a rhyming lament of the American Foreign-Film viewer that goes: "I fear I shall never view, a French film without Depardieu." Admittedly, it rhymes only if you pronounce him incorrectly.
  • Michael Douglas's Rotten Tomatoes page is very telling. He tends to alternate several "rotten" Hollywood films (You, Me and Dupree, for example, or The Sentinel) with highly rated indie films (Solitary Man, Wonder Boys). While there are obviously exceptions on both sides, it can be assumed he takes the Hollywood parts to pay for the independent ones.
  • John Gielgud. Oscar winner. Emmy winner. Grammy winner. Tony winner. Acclaimed actor and director. Knight. Connoisseur of fine champagne.
    • He originally and consistently refused starring in Arthur, but the producers kept upping his fee until he really couldn't turn it down.
  • Matthew Goode said that Leap Year was "turgid" and the only reasons he did it were for money and so he could see his family more often.
  • Cuba Gooding Jr.: Academy Award-winning actor and well-paid star of Snow Dogs, Boat Trip, Norbit and Daddy Day Camp.
  • Tim Roth in Virgin Territory. Haven't heard of it? Roth breathes a sigh of relief.
  • Can there be any other reason for Oscar and Emmy Award winning Louis Gossett Jr. appearing the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie and a slew of Iron Eagle sequels?
    • Gossett himself pointed out that a "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar is something of a curse; smaller projects think they can't afford you, and larger projects don't think you can open a film on your own.
  • Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. His contract for 2% of the film's gross over a base salary was one of the most lucrative film deals ever made, and one of the most notable examples of this trope.
  • This is why Deadwood star John Hawkes played what was essentially a bit part in season six of Lost-his role was literally just repeating what another actor said and for that he got paid a lot and filmed in Hawaii.
  • As an actor, Lance Henriksen has appeared in well over 100 films. Many of these have been great (Aliens, The Terminator, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Near Dark). Many more, however, have been pretty dire (Piranha II: The Spawning, Vampires: Out For Blood and Hellraiser Hellworld to name but a few). He even worked in a Brazilian soap opera about mutants. Henriksen is a king of direct-to-DVD, and seems to specialize in mostly low budget SF, horror, fantasy or action flicks - films in which he is very often the only notable actor on board. Henriksen is also often very guilty of phoning-it-in, and frequently plays the same deadpan, imposing, monotone father-figure character he's been portraying for the last thirty or so years. He's appeared in multiple cheap cash-ins on pre-existing popular franchises (see The Da Vinci Treasure and Pirates Of Treasure Island, both released in 2006) has provided voice duties for many animated series and video games, appeared in adverts and also found time along the way to star in Chris Carter's grim (but mostly great) pseudo-X-Files spinoff series Millennium for three years.
    • Henriksen has admitted to taking some less-than-stellar roles for the money because he owed alimony to his ex-wife.
    • That said, he is undeniably one of those actors and when he is good, such as in Millennium, he is very good.
  • Anthony Hopkins invoked this trope hard in an interview on Conan O'Brien. Conan said to Anthony that "some actors choose movies based on who they'll be working with, or who's catering the set. What makes you choose a movie?" Hopkins' response was "Well, money."
  • When Dennis Hopper was asked by his younger son on why he appeared in awful productions such as Super Mario Bros., he replied it was to buy him shoes. His son replied he didn't need them that much.
    • Bob Hoskins also said this was the only movie he did for the money. And yes, he hated the film too.
    • Hopper probably starred in the box-office flop Meet The Deedles for the same reason.
    • Though surprisingly averted with Waterworld, which he admitted to liking. He believed the reason that it bombed in the US was because the filmmakers announced that it was overbudgeted, shooting themselves in the foot.
  • Jeremy Irons' appearances in Dungeons and Dragons and Eragon are motivated either by this or a desire to be out-acted by his eyebrows. It's a toss-up. According to Wikiquote, when asked why he took his Dungeons and Dragons role, Irons replied: "Are you kidding? I'd just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow!"
  • James Earl Jones has always been very upfront about doing anything that comes with a salary attached. Lampshaded by his appearance in Two and A Half Men: "To be completely honest, I didn't know Charlie Harper. But any man who, with his dying breath, would set aside $25,000 and a first-class air ticket so I could deliver his eulogy is aces in my book!"
  • Raul Julia taking the role of M. Bison in the Street Fighter movie was motivated by knowledge of his imminent death from stomach cancer, and a wish to leave his children well off - in fact, he let his sons choose which film he'd perform in, and they chose Street Fighter because they were fans of the game. His amazing Magnificent Bastard performance in the role is one of many elements that made the film hilariously awful instead of just simply bad. Julia's accepting of roles as Gomez in the 1991 and 1993 Addams Family movies (particularly the latter) are also attributed to this circumstance.
    • Similarly, he was in the cheesy Overdrawn at the Memory Bank entirely due to his support of public television. He was also the only bright spot in the entire movie, and when Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed on it shortly after his death, they went out of their way to point out that they respected Julia and were mocking the movie itself, not his performance.
  • Ben Kingsley has been in many bad films: Blood Rayne, Species, Thunderbirds, The Love Guru and A Sound of Thunder. His excuse? His children have gotten used to eating. And sometimes actors are susceptible to the Rule of Cool: Kingsley says he took Blood Rayne because he had never had the chance to play a vampire.
  • Klaus Kinski says it himself in one documentary. "Every time when I was out of money, I would just make any movie, I really didn't care. And suddenly the newspaper write I am the best murderer, the best this one, the best that one. And it isn't even too megalomanic to say 'Sure, you idiots. I can do all that. Without even trying.'"
  • John Larroquette in 50 Cent's Gun as the rich gun runner Sam, not to mention his appearance in Southland Tales as Vaughn Smallhouse.
  • Christopher Lee made a career out of doing any role at a reasonable price without excessive prima-donnaism. In other words, if you could fork up the cash, you'd get a classy talent who will play any role. Except Dracula. He never did that again (although in the last years of his life, his age made him increasingly uncomfortable with flying, so his roles were mostly limited to the UK, such as when the team on The Hobbit accommodated him when he reprised his role as Saruman.) He also voiced his displeasure with some of his choices; while filming Gremlins 2: The New Batch he apologized to director Joe Dante for appearing in the sequel to his film The Howling.
  • Eugene Levy is not as top-tiered an actor as many of those on this list... still, you'd think a man with two Emmys and a Grammy could do better than New York Minute, Cheaper By the Dozen 2, Bringing Down the House, The Man, and the endless appearances in Straight-To-DVD American Pie sequels. Several of Levy's SCTV co-stars could qualify in this regard as well, particularly Martin Short.
  • While Peter Lorre's career probably never reached its full potential to begin with (due to typecasting, studio practices, and a distinctive appearance), it definitely reached a low point after the failure of his only directorial effort Der Verlorene in the early 1950s. After that he took whatever roles he could get because he desperately needed the money after losing most of his early earnings through bad investments and a corrupt accountant, and he had to provide for himself, his family, and cover the costs of various attempts to cure his morphine addiction. Lorre warned friends to never leave money management up to somebody else, and often said that he would have retired from acting if he hadn't needed the money so badly.
  • Michael Madsen said he's only been in six good movies - Kill Bill, Species, Free Willy, Thelma and Louise, Reservoir Dogs and Donnie Brasco. He explains due to both "I'm just hard to please" and "I've made some crap but you've got to pay the bills".
  • John Mahoney has said this of his role on Frasier.
  • Steve Martin has admitted that he only does films like Cheaper By the Dozen and The Pink Panther so he can finance his writing and art collection, and it's more fun to keep starring in comedies than to try breaking out as a dramatic actor.
  • Ewan McGregor has always been very up front about the fact that he takes roles in big-budget Hollywood movies so he can afford to be in the little Scottish indie films he loves doing but wouldn't otherwise be able to afford him.
  • Ian McKellen, early in the 2000s, was a relatively respectable version of this: huge blockbusters, but well-reviewed ones. He seemed to quite enjoy his higher profile, and remarked on how funny it was he and his cohorts from his stage days were known for these sorts of roles. Of course, he's also done things like The Da Vinci Code in between things like appearing with Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot on stage.
  • Helen Mirren was once asked why she appeared in Teaching Mrs. Tingle. The answer? "Because they gave me a shitload of money to do it."
  • When David Mitchell and Robert Webb were criticized for appearing in Apple's "Get a Mac" adverts, Webb responded by saying, "when someone asks, 'Do you want to do some funny ads for not many days in the year and be paid more than you would be for an entire series of Peep Show?' the answer, obviously, is, 'Yeah, that's fine'".
    • In response to claims that they'd 'sold out', David Mitchell said that since they'd never attacked the capitalist system in any way, the only possible criticism could be their choice of product...and computers aren't notably evil.
  • This is likely the only reason why Demi Moore starred in Nothing But Trouble.
  • Roger Moore did Boat Trip for the money and for a free vacation.
  • Money was one of Bill Murray's reasons for taking on the role of Garfield in the Garfield movies. (The other two being the challenge of voice-over work and a script by one of the Coen Brothers. Suffice to say the latter wasn't quite what he'd hoped)
  • Eddie Murphy starred in the very-forgettable film Best Defense. When he hosted Saturday Night Live soon after, he slammed it as "the worst film in the history of everything" and justified his role by saying "If you were paid do do Best Defense as much as they paid me to do Best Defense, you'd do Best Defense too!". In one interview, he admitted that The Adventures of Pluto Nash wasn't very good, but went on to say that it was hard to really regret it when "your pocket goes out to here", while holding his palm several inches away from his pocket.
    • Let's not forget that an interviewer asked Murphy whether he'd have preferred to have the Academy Award for Dreamgirls or his paycheck from Norbit. He replied that while an Oscar statuette would look nice in his living room, it wouldn't pay the bills.
  • Jack Nicholson's $60 million deal for the 1989 Batman movie included a $6 million base salary, top billing and both a percentage of the gross and merchandising. It remains the single-largest film salary record. Around the time the Joel Schumacher movies were hitting theatres and there were projects for a follow-up if Batman and Robin didn't flop so hard, Nicholson said he would consider reprising the role of The Joker for $150 million. Which makes sense. After seeing Schumacher's Batman movies, wouldn't you ask an exorbitant wage to shame yourself on his next movie? Apparently, when Danny DeVito was in negotiations to appear as the Penguin in Batman Returns, he called Nicholson to ask his advice on the character and the contract. Jack's response? "Try to get my deal".
    • Then again Jack Nicholson did go on record for saying he enjoyed playing the Joker and was a big supporter of then rookie Director Tim Burton during filming. So while the money got him to do it, he didn't hate or feel indifferent toward role like most others on the list.
    • Speaking of Jack Nicholson: While making The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Roger Corman offered him a secondary but significant role. Looking at the shooting schedule, however, Jack noticed a small bit part- two scenes and one line of dialog- which due to a Good Bad Bug in the Screen Actors Guild regulations would get him paid for five weeks of work. He took the small role and the big paycheck instead.
  • Edward Norton has followed the Ewan MacGregor route and taken roles in big-budget flicks to help bankroll projects like Spike Lee's Twenty Fifth Hour. He also made no secret that the only reason he did The Italian Job was because of a contractual requirement.
  • Gary Oldman is known for driving a particularly hard bargain. He won't even read most scripts without a hefty offer on the table, and he's known for having almost bowed out of the Harry Potter franchise over salary disputes.
  • Laurence Olivier was determined to leave a comfortable inheritance to his family, and was more than willing to take unusual roles if they paid well, especially in his later career. The two most striking examples are his portrayals of Zeus in Clash of the Titans and Douglas MacArthur in Sun Myung Moon's (yes, the Unification Church cult leader) terrible production of Inchon, for which it said he insisted his salary be paid weekly in a Briefcase Full of Money delivered by helicopter. He also appeared as a hologram in a terrible Rock Opera called Time. Olivier's posthumous performance in Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow may be the logical extension of this trope.
  • Patton Oswalt pretty much only acts for the money or the anecdotes.
  • Ron Perlman also falls into this category. A quote of his once posted at "I'm doing weapons training for this piece of shit, then I go to Romania to shoot another piece of shit, then come back to shoot my part in this piece of shit...[sighs]...What can I say? My wife loves shoes." Then, he turns around and makes movies with Guillermo del Toro. Film truly is a diverse medium.
    • He has also hinted that a big factor in his taking the role of Hellboy was that, as an actor in his fifties, he had never gotten the girl at the end of the movie. Until that one.
  • Brad Pitt was very vocal about how much he hated The Devil's Own. According to him it was "the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking -- if you can even call it that -- that I've ever seen" and he also called the film a "disaster". Which combined with his weak performance in the film (not to mention his totally ridiculous sounding Irish accent) makes it clear that money was his only real motivation for starring in that film.
  • Donald Pleasence says it all:

There was a sort of horror picture that I did called The Mutations. I think I did that solely for the money. I have six daughters, and they can be quite expensive, so one has to keep working and be able to pay the bills.

  • Oliver Reed ended up doing a lot of B movies towards the end of his life, including an awful adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher, as his drinking habits and wild lifestyle meant many mainstream directors would not give him a role.
  • Jean Reno. Granted, not all of his latest movies are bad, but the times of Léon and Ronin seem very far.
  • Burt Reynolds was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1996 after being $10 million in debt, so Reynolds vowed to cut back on expenses and to pay back every single dime, and he's appeared in over 40 films since, and it's easy to see that he starred in most of them (Dungeon Siege, Without A Paddle, The Longest Yard remake, The Dukes of Hazzard film adaptation) for the money.
  • Richard "Shaft" Roundtree in Steel.
  • For years, Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to do a third Terminator movie if James Cameron wasn't directing. Figuring that the character was as much Arnold's as it was his, James just told him to go for it and ask for a lot of money. The $30 million he received are still an upfront record for a single movie (though Tom Hanks is rumored to have received along the lines of $29–59 million for Angels & Demons).
    • Arnold has admitted he loves to spend Hollywood's money. Almost all of his salaries since the first Terminator movie rose from $11 million to $25 million.
  • Liev Schreiber appears in about two movies a year so he can afford to do classical theater in NYC, like Hamlet or A View from the Bridge. His decision to appear in the Wolverine film probably had a lot to do with the birth of his two sons.
  • Peter Sellers did several ill-fated films and TWA ads in the early 1970s largely because he was nearly broke after a string of late '60s flops and unwise money management. It was also a big reason he agreed to revive The Pink Panther films with Return of... in 1975, which turned things around. He did two additional sequels after that to rebuild his fortunes—but also to achieve the needed clout to get Being There made, crossing this over with Doing It for the Art.
  • Chloe Sevigny explains her motivation for playing a Butch Lesbian in the TV Movie If These Walls Could Talk 2: "... yeah, I did that job. For money. I was paying my mom's mortgage. I've still never seen that movie. People say it's really good. We all gotta make a living."
  • Slight variation: Michael Shanks of Stargate SG-1 fame claimed at a fan convention that he agreed to star in the Sci-Fi Original Movie Mega Snake (without even reading the script!) solely to obtain a new US work visa.
  • William Shatner earned some money off of the Priceline adverts by being paid in stock when Priceline was still young (though not the hundreds of millions sometimes reported).
    • Also notoriously true during those long, lean years in The Seventies after he had been profoundly typecast by Star Trek but before his career resuscitation in The Eighties. Obviously, this affected all of his castmates as well. Only Leonard Nimoy seemed to land on his feet, first getting a job across the Paramount lot at Mission: Impossible and then narrating the In Search Of... series.
    • Even Star Trek itself was an example of this for Shatner. Known at the time for his guest appearances in various other shows (most famously The Twilight Zone), he turned down the role of Dr. Kildare, only to regret it a couple of years down the line when offers started drying up. Needing the financial stability of a regular job, he took the role of Captain James T. Kirk.
  • Michael Sheen has made a serviceable career of juicy dramatic roles, including playing Tony Blair several times on the small screen and the big screen, plus solid hits like The Damned United, Frost/Nixon and Midnight in Paris. On the other hand, he's Chewing the Scenery in glorified bit parts from films such as Alice in Wonderland, Tron: Legacy. Twilight and Underworld. There's no reason why he would be doing this unless he wanted a paycheck so that the filmmakers could capitalize on his star power.
  • Stellan Skarsgård is blunt about his motives for starring in films. He's called several of his larger-budget Hollywood movies "utter crap" that pay well and allow him to do great films with lower budgets - during EPK interviews. In an even more pronounced example of this trope, Skarsgård was a softcore porn actor in his youth.
  • Patrick Stewart as the hammy King Ooblar in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Great Prince of the Forest in Bambi 2, an over-the-top drug lord confined to a chair in Gunmen and 1996's Masterminds. Stewart's knowingly hammy scene-chewing is all part of the fun - he's clearly having a blast with it. He has said in interviews he loves "popcorn movies" like X-Men and Star Trek: The Next Generation as much as he loves stage and serious drama. To be fair, most of what Stewart does is because he just loves acting in general and has the habit of doing whatever he likes at the time, being serious drama to cornball comedy and everything in between. It's been said that he never takes on a role unless he wants to. Even before he was in Star Trek, Stewart took a role in Lifeforce (the naked space vampire movie) to pay for the replacement of a broken bay window at his house.
    • By the way, Stewart once recollected about accepting an award in Britain. While with other British stage actors, he said he was asked the same thing repeatedly about his Hollywood experiences - "How much do you get paid?"
  • Ryan Stiles admitted in an interview that, despite having a fear of flying, he was willing to fly to the UK to do Whose Line Is It Anyway? because at the time he desperately needed the money.
  • The Japanese actor Tetsuro Tamba was legendary for never turning down a paying role, no matter what it was in (he also never read the entire script for a movie, or memorized a script). He also founded a religion. Cool guy.
  • Charlize Theron admitted in an interview that she starred in Hancock for the money.
  • Marisa Tomei has pretty much admitted herself that she enjoys money:

I don't prefer much of film over stage...The only thing I prefer is the paycheck.

Crow T. Robot (As David Warner): In it for the money, folks.

    • Warner may be the new patron saint of this trope, as he was paid for two roles in Delta Knights.
  • Sigourney Weaver's involvement in Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection was motivated largely by this. After Aliens, Weaver had intended it to be the last role she would play as the character...until 20th Century Fox lured her back to the third film (after rejecting several scripts by other writers that didn't include her) with a much bigger payday and a producer's credit. Years later, during an interview, she responded to the question, "Why did you agree to do Alien Resurrection?" by saying, "Because they drove a dumptruck full of money to my house."
  • Orson Welles willingly accepted an endless chain of well-paying bit parts in many films. He also hawked frozen peas and Paul Masson wine. His work on these commercials has been the subject of much parody, most notably on The Critic and Animaniacs.
    • One of Welles' last roles was voicing the Transformers villain Unicron. While both the character and the performance are unforgettable, Welles himself viewed the production with contempt and could only recall it was a movie about "toys killing each other."
    • He did the narration on the remastered version of Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe by the Alan Parsons Project. It was straight wagework: the whole thing was arranged through agents, Welles was sent a script, and Parsons was sent a tape.
      • He also narrated the frightfully awful, fundamentalist Christian dreckfest, The Late, Great Planet Earth, with Hal Lindsey, and the cheesy, sensationalistic Nostradamus "documentary" The Man Who Saw Tomorrow.
  • Ray Liotta has said that the only reason he voiced Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto Vice City was because of the money. In an MTV interview, he admitted that he's never even seen or played the game.
  • Morgan Freeman said he only did Batman Begins for the money. The fact that that movie and its sequel The Dark Knight which he also appeared in turned out to be successful financially and critically may have been a nice surprise for him.
  • In general, this is the traditional mindset among British stage-trained actors: the theatre is where the "real" acting is. You do movies for the money... or for fun.
  • Famous Bollywood dancer Malaika Arora once said that, although she had receivedy numerous offers for acting roles, she didn't accept them because doing Item numbers paid better with comparatively less time on set.


  • This is the main concept behind Japandering. Many American celebrities have done commercials for other countries promoting energy drinks, whiskey, cars and pachinko machines, and everything in-between. Usually, they have clauses in their contract stating that these won't be shown anywhere overseas, but the invention of the Internet and YouTube has rendered that a moot point. These include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Cage, Charlize Theron, Kiefer Sutherland, Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Britney Spears and many, many others. When you realize it's good pay for one day's work, can you blame them?
  • When asked why he did a series of adverts for American Express, Peter Ustinov responded "to pay for my American Express".
  • The reason why Mikhail Gorbachev appeared in commercials, including ones for Louis Vuitton and the infamous Pizza Hut ad, was for him to fund his research foundation, as he was virtually broke after leaving his position as premier of the now-defunct Soviet Union.


  • In 1996, writer Mark Waid and artist Ron Garney were unceremoniously removed from a critically acclaimed run on Captain America and replaced by Chuck Dixon and Rob Liefeld. One year later, Waid & Garney were reinstated. At that year's Comic-Con, when asked why he would come back after what happened, Waid simply rubbed his fingers together.
  • Comics great Fabian Nicieza once talked about his role in writing the terrible comic book NFL Superpro: "I was handed the concept and character, including his basic origin. I don't know if that was all the NFL's creative work or a combination of Marvel editorial and the NFL. I didn't ask. I just wanted Jets tickets."
    • Linkara has mentioned a few times that he likes Nicieza as a writer, but he keeps turning up in the bad comics he reviews, like X-Force.
  • Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Matt Fraction and Warren Ellis are all writing Marvel Comics titles to raise money for publishing their personal projects. The first three also use Marvel's publishing line, while Ellis publishes his personal titles through smaller companies, like Avatar Press.
  • Wilhelm Busch (from 19th century Germany) rather wanted to become a "real" artist, like a poet or a painter, but found that people preferred his simpler, funny picture stories.
  • Charles M. Schulz freely admitted that he agreed to Peanuts endorsement and merchandising deals so he could have more money for his various philanthropic projects.


  • Does anyone remember Ishtar (Dustin Hoffman) or Leonard Part 6 (Bill Cosby)? Thought not.
  • Jackie Chan admits that he did appear in a porno film to get by several years before he became famous.
    • He originally did his own stunts because it meant he brought home a little more money every week. Over time this became his trademark, proving Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • It's also the reason he continues doing big budget Hollywood movies. The massive salary enables him to fund his Asian movies as well as continue his charitable work.
  • David Cross in the 2009 CGI Alvin and The Chipmunks movie. From The Other Wiki: "Responding to critics of his decision to appear in the critically panned but enormously profitable Alvin and the Chipmunks, Cross noted that the film paid for a summer home, and more than 'all my other projects combined: book, TV show, the two pilots, Year One, yeah.' He reprised his Ian Hawke role in The Squeakquel."
    • He infamously claimed that his role in Chipwrecked was the last straw, calling it "literally, without question, the most unpleasant experience I’ve ever had in my professional life". Understandable since the guy spends the entire movie in a pelican costume and it only gets worse from there.
  • One notable exception: Kim Basinger backed out of the production of Boxing Helena, and as a result was sued for eight million dollars. Basinger was forced to enter bankruptcy. Money well spent? Considering its critical/commercial failure and career damage (to both director/writer Jennifer Chambers Lynch and star Sherilyn Fenn), most would agree it was. Rolling Stone's review even stated: "Sometimes even making the right decision can cost you."
    • Basinger's situation was the main reason Whoopi Goldberg settled for a massive paycheck on Theodore Rex. She agreed to do it, saw the script, tried walking out, and decided "rich & ashamed" beat "broke & principled".
    • Mike Myers backed out of a film based upon Dieter, the SNL character, and was sued by Universal Pictures for $3.8 million. His decision to back out of the $20 million contract was an inversion of this trope; he was unhappy with the script (despite having written it himself) and didn't feel the film would be of a standard acceptable for moviegoers. If only he'd had similar scruples when he got the idea for The Love Guru...
  • The spoof adaptation... of Casino Royale. Featuring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Woody Allen, Peter O'Toole, Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, John Huston...and nothing resembling coherence at any point. Part of the incoherence may be because Sellers wasn't in it for the money but proved extremely difficult to work with and was subsequently fired, leaving the producers with half a film which they roped Niven into completing.
  • The fantasy flop Eragon boasted the likes of Jeremy Irons, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, and Djimon Hounsou. They couldn't save it, and they didn't try, either.
  • This is probably why Christopher Eccleston was in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He also just decided to have fun with it.
  • Francis Ford Coppola apparently only directed The Godfather, Part II in order to do The Conversation and get funding for one of his other projects, Apocalypse Now. Then, after making an expensive flop in One for the Heart, his entire career for nearly two decades was simply doing movies for the money. After getting it paid off, a decade-long break followed, and now he uses the money from his wine to make the movies he wants.
  • The cast listing for Marmaduke movie has this trope in spades.
  • Averted by respected actor Frank Langella, who has denied that his part in Masters of the Universe was a purely mercenary decision. He states that he quite enjoyed playing a cape-swirling villain.
  • Christopher Plummer in the Italian B-movie Star Wars knock-off Starcrash.
  • The Superman franchise has been the focus of a number of publicized instances involving the stars:
    • Marlon Brando was ultimately paid $14 million for 10 minutes as Jor-El.
    • Christopher Reeve only signed to star in The Quest For Peace if he could get a pet project made by Cannon Films (Street Smart, in case you're wondering).
    • Gene Hackman, as Lex Luthor, also apparently swung a nice deal. Hackman admitted in interviews that his appearance in The Quest for Peace was entirely financially motivated. Admittedly, it couldn't be much else.
  • Transformers: The Movie: Featuring the voice talents of Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy and Eric Idle, among others, in what can best be described as an 80-minute toy commercial. They were all in it for the money. Welles told his biographer about the film, "I play a big toy who does horrible things to a bunch of smaller toys." Idle admitted in his book, The Greedy Bastard Diary, that he had hated every minute of production. "Why did I do it, again? Oh, right, they offered me oodles of cash." He also said that he never even watched the movie, and makes a habit out of it with such roles. It is rumored that Leonard Nimoy was so embarrassed about it that he refused to address it for years afterwards, whether in interviews or at science-fiction conventions. Only Michael Bay's interest in casting him as The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen prompted him to talk about his role, and then only briefly (and he also said that Bay could call him up if he wanted to, but Bay ultimately went with Tony Todd because of his guest appearance in Batman: The Brave And The Bold). Nimoy was however later cast as Sentinel Prime in Dark of the Moon.
    • This negativity wasn't true of all the celebrities in the movie, however; Robert Stack and Judd Nelson were in it to get paid and embraced their roles; Robert Stack (according to some production staff) liked the movie and Judd Nelson reprised his role for Transformers Animated 20 years later.
    • On the Transformers film, Hugo Weaving has casually admitted to phoning in his performance as Megatron.
  • Both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have said that they only did the Twilight movie for the money, and both of them have inserted Take Thats against the book and its fans in interviews. Also, Pattinson said that he wanted to do Twilight in order to have the opportunity to work with Stewart, who, prior to Twilight, was known as a serious actress who did mostly independent films (and Zathura). Also, it's Kristen Stewart. He was reportedly hitting on her throughout filming. Jamie Campbell Bower, who is playing Caius, also seems to have only signed on for the money as all he knew about Twilight prior to then was that the first movie had done well. And Pattinson has gone on record as saying he thinks Stephenie Meyer is literally insane. Both lead actors have also been publicly caught in scandals, in what many anti-fans jokingly claim are attempts to get released from their contract... a hypothesis that was then backed up by Stewart in an interview.
    • David Slade, who publicly blasted the Twilight franchise prior to signing on to do Eclipse, had to apologize for his comments later on. Given the budget for Hard Candy, he can be forgiven for invoking this trope.
  • Any film made by Uwe Boll. He might not be much of a creative talent, but he reportedly pays well:
  • This has to explain Warrior of the Lost World, which in addition to featuring Donald Pleasence, also provided an income for Robert Ginty, Persis Khambatta (pretty much only known for her role in Star Trek: The Motion Picture), and Fred Williamson.
  • Wes Craven had this to say about his involvement in The Hills Have Eyes 2 (The 80s one)

I’m sorry about The Hills Have Eyes, Part II. The reason I did that film was that I was dead broke and needed to do any film. I would have done Godzilla Goes to Paris.

  • Dustin Hoffman, and Robin Williams did not take salaries for Hook, instead opting (with Steven Spielberg) to split 40% of the gross revenues. Since that movie, Spielberg likes to convince his stars to get this instead of their usual paychecks (considering the budget is usually already huge, it helps a lot). Examples include Tom Hanks for Saving Private Ryan and Tom Cruise for Minority Report.
  • The late director Gary Winick did a number of cookie-cutter romantic comedies (13 Going On 30, Bride Wars, Letters To Juliet) and family films (the remake of Charlotte's Web) so that he could finance smaller independent projects that made use of digital cameras. It ended up working rather well as he produced a number of critically acclaimed films through his company Indigent.
  • When asked in an interview what he hoped to achieve with his early movies, John Ford simply replied "a big check". He repeatedly maintained over the years that moviemaking was just a way for him to make a living, which he stuck with because it paid well and he found it easy.
  • Invoked by Alfred Hitchcock:

When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, ‘It’s in the script.’ If he says, ‘But what’s my motivation?’ I say, ‘Your salary.’


  • L. Frank Baum, creator of the Wizard of Oz series, repeatedly tried to end the franchise, which bored him, only to repeatedly come crawling back once his other non-Oz books failed to sell.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs only started writing in his thirties during a period of low employment. He had been reading pulp magazines and thought that he could write at least as well as this garbage and get paid for it, despite never having written anything before. After his stories became successful he made all the money he could, in particular marketing Tarzan, his most successful character, in every way possible. This was against advice that doing so would overexpose the character. Burroughs was right though, the public couldn't get enough of Tarzan.
  • Agatha Christie openly acknowledged that she wrote The Mystery of the Blue Train and The Big Four because she needed money. It shows.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had initially refused to revive Sherlock Holmes (the man did, after all, kill Holmes off purely out of spite for the character). The huge sums of money editors were offering him for new Holmes stories, and his dwindling bank account, no doubt played a part in his decision to finally take the plunge. There is an anecdote sometimes cited that says that, tired of being asked to revive Holmes, he finally asked for a ridiculously huge sum of money that he knew the publishers wouldn't be able to pay, and was appropriately shocked when they immediately said yes.
  • As noted before, this trope doesn't necessarily result in bad fiction - think of the doorstopping evergreens by Dostoievsky and Alexandre Dumas. Both were paid per line. In case of Dostoievsky his urgent need to repay his gambling debts caused him to write "Crime and Punishment" at a crazy speed. This is thought to be one of the reasons for the novel's unique flow of thoughts making it both an inspiration to psychoanalysis and Joyce's stream of consciousness.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's writing career started as a way to pay off debts incurred in an unsuccessful run for office, in 1937. The male protagonist of The Cat Who Walks Through Walls took this trope as his own.

Richard Ames: The most beautiful prose in the English language is "Pay to the order of..."

  • Samuel Johnson wrote Rasselas in only seven days to pay for his mother's funeral.
  • An In-Universe example occurs in Robert B. Parker's novel Shrink Rap when a Tom Cruise stand-in named Hal Race threatens to leave after the lead character refuses to take her dog out of the room, and the author of a book that he's interesting in playing a role in a film adaptation tells him he can take a hike if he doesn't cut the attitude. Sure enough, he stays. When asked later why the author was willing to risk him walking, she replies with this trope.
  • Terry Pratchett, in an interview with Stephen Briggs in the third edition of The Discworld Companion, on not having won many literary awards and the hint that the Booker prize may be opened up to more popular works: "A 'popular' book means the author has already got what a true writer craves: a lot of readers and a big cheque." He once said of being beaten out for a Hugo award, "On the other hand, going home and falling backwards into a big pile of money always helps." Of course, Sir Terry's (Kt, OBE, Ph.D. (x8, all honorary)) lack of literary awards was likely due to the Sci Fi Ghetto more than any lack of talent on his part.
    • When asked if he was jealous of the money that Douglas Adams made, he replied, "Not at all, especially since it's been tactfully pointed out that I had to change banks after filling the last one up"
  • Anthony Burgess basically belched out A Clockwork Orange in a matter of weeks to pay off some debts. He regretted its glorification of violence and was annoyed by the way it overshadowed the rest of his work, causing quite a bit of Creator Backlash.
  • The ultimate example may be William Shakespeare. The plays were probably written for the quick profit and the poetry to increase the author's social standing in the Elizabethan court. Not surprisingly, Hamlet seems to be the major exception.
  • Arguably the entire point of the Spackman Initiative in The Pale King.
  • After his wife gave birth to their fifth child, Charles Dickens needed some cash to cover the doctor's bills. Six weeks later he had written and sold A Christmas Carol. Something of an aversion in that, even though it was almost immediately a critical hit and is regarded as a classic today, it ultimately didn't make Dickens as much money as he hoped it would.
    • Great Expectations was only written because Dickens' magazine All The Year Round was doing poorly and the only thing that would revive it was a serialised Dickens novel.
  • Robert Graves claimed he wrote I, Claudius and Claudius The God for this reason.
    • This was his stated motive for writing all of his novels; he considered himself primarily a poet but was plagued with money problems throughout his life.
  • The "penny dreadful" pulp authors of the 1930s, when magazines paid $0.01 a word.
  • Piers Anthony is paid by the word for his Xanth books. So characters tend to explain their entire life story, and that of their party members, to anyone they meet. And they meet someone new at least once a chapter. Also, lots of random reader puns, complete with explaining the meaning of those puns to the reader. As you can guess, the books get a little repetitive. Because the characters explain their entire life story to everyone they meet. Which happens once a chapter. And there are a lot of random reader puns...

Live Action TV

  • Johnny Depp for four seasons of his six-season contract on 21 Jump Street.
  • Eamonn Holmes explained his appearance on Mongrels by saying he didn't even look at the script, only the fee.
  • Comedian Doug Stanhope proudly says he hosted the final season of The Man Show strictly for the money.
    • As he says in his stand-up act: "If you were offered $100,000 to kill a dying show, you're a fucking idiot if you turn it down!"
  • Brenda Hampton, creator of the lambasted show The Secret Life of the American Teenager has responded to the horrible critical reception by saying she'd rather have good ratings than good reviews.
  • The producers of Lost managed to get almost every main character back for at least one episode in the sixth and last season. The exception was Mr. Eko, as actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje asked for too much money.
  • Joe Rogan once referred to Fear Factor, a show which he hosted, as "Joe Gets Paid".

"This is me, every day at work: '...REALLY. And they're going to do this on camera? What the fuck is wrong with these people? ...No, dude, I got a mortgage; mic me up."

  • In one game of "Scenes from a Hat" on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where the scene in question was "rejected names for Whose Line", Wayne suggested "Drew Carey's House Payment".
  • Then-well-known stage actors James Daly and Louise Sorel, who guest-starred together in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Requiem for Methuselah" as Flint and Reyna respectively, both thought the series was childish and cartoony and later both admitted the only reason they did the episode was the paycheck.

Louise Sorel: (about the episode) "They put me in this funny costume – I stood still and they just wrapped fabric around me – and I had an Annette Funicello bouffant and Dusty Springfield eye make-up. James Daly and I thought of ourselves as these two very serious theater actors. He kept looking at me and asking, "Why on Earth are we doing this?" I kept telling him, "Christmas money."

  • Carroll O'Connor pulled off a massive version of this during the sixth season of All in The Family. During the hiatus between seasons, O'Connor lobbied for CBS to greatly increase his salary, as well as give him more creative control. Studio executives balked at his demands, and production of the season started without him (with an explanation given that he was out of town). CBS head Fred Silverman successfully convinced O'Connor to come back at a much higher salary. By the time Archie Bunker's Place began, O'Connor was the highest-paid cast member (and, by the end of the first season, the only original cast member) and an executive producer, and rode the salary bump through four more seasons of diminishing ratings.
  • It seems that a sitcom is doomed as soon as its star/s become/s the "highest paid on television." (Notably Seinfeld, Frasier, Friends).


"Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'"

  • Supposedly, lead singer Tarja Turunen's focus on money was the reason she was kicked out of the band Nightwish.
  • The Boomtown Rats never bothered to pretend that they weren't at least partly in it for the large sacks of cash they were getting out of their success, unlike pretty much every other punk band of the era, particularly the Sex Pistols. Interestingly enough, whilst Bob Geldof went on to devote his fame and connections to one of the greatest humanitarian endeavors of the 1980s, Johnny Rotten of the Pistols, after a decade of Doing It for the Art with his acclaimed experimental band Public Image Ltd, was last heard of appearing in a decidedly not-punk butter commercial.
    • On a related note, while the artists appearing at Live Aid were unpaid, many of them were fully aware of the exposure they would get from their performances. While not entirely a case of this trope, some of the less keen artists were persuaded by their managers (and Bob himself in many cases) to take part because of the resulting publicity that would translate into increased sales.
  • Anthrax rhythm guitarist Scott Ian responded to charges that the band was "selling out" with new singer John Bush and the more mainstream-sounding Sound of White Noise album by noting in an interview that "The bottom line is, everyone in this business is in it to make money. Myself included."
  • Another example from Jay Z's "Moment of Clarity": I dumbed down for my audience, doubled my dollars/ They criticize me for it, but they all yell "Holla!"
  • In an interview on VH-1 some years back, Kid Rock responded to comments made by another rock star in the vein of Doing It for the Art. "I'm in the for the music? You're a lying sack of shit. You're a musician, I'm a musician, of course you're in it for the music; that's a given. Why are you REALLY doing it? Money and girls."
  • Legendary band Kiss is blatantly and unapologetically in it for the money. Founder and band leader Gene Simmons makes no bones about it. If there's a buck to be made, KISS will do it. They'll license anything if the money is right; action figures, lunch boxes, coffins, condoms and so on. Their unique work and over-the-top live shows were designed to draw people in and make more money. To their credit, their shows are still excellent, even at their age.
    • Back in the 70s, Gene Simmons was asked if his mother approved Simmons' demonic stage makeup and costume. His response was, "Well, I don't know about that, but I know she approves of the house I bought her, so I guess it evens out."
  • Weird Al has often said "I wrote 'Eat It' because I wanted to buy a house. It worked."
  • Johnny Rotten said quite bluntly that The Sex Pistols reunion tour in the mid-90s was for "your money." The tour was even called "Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's the Filthy Lucre."
  • Tool's song "Hooker with a Penis" is in response to former fans who accused them of selling out for the money. The song essentially states that every professional musician you've ever heard has sold out for the money, otherwise you'd have never heard their music in the first place. The most telling sequence is "All you know about me is what I've sold you / Dumb fuck / I sold out long before you ever heard my name / I sold my soul to make a record / Dip shit / And you bought one."
  • The Bowling for Soup song "A Really Cool Dance Song" lampshades this trope. The song is about a band that needs money, so they write a dance song, as dance songs are popular and sell albums.
  • Finding out your entire retirement fund has been looted by a third party is never fun, but at least Leonard Cohen could fill it up with a few new concerts.
  • Interviewer: "What does 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' mean to you now?" Kris Kristofferson: "Oh, about a hundred thousand dollars a year."
  • Averted by Swedish pop supergroup ABBA, who turned down $1 billion for a reunion.
  • Most reunions seem to be examples of this trope, but the Dead Kennedys' has been a particularly Egregious example due to the band's former anti-corporate stance. The band (minus Jello Biafra) now licenses songs for television commercials.
  • The Monkees were on a British interview program just before their 2011 reunion tour kicked off. When asked why they were getting back together again, Peter Tork looked directly into the camera and (jokingly and literally) rubbed his fingers together..
  • Sting is often bewildered at "Every Breath You Take" interpretation as a romantic song, often played at people's weddings. But the £500,000 a year, he earns from it in royalties as the most played song on UK and US radio probably helps.
    • This is also likely the reason why Sting, a devoted environmentalist, agreed to shill for Jaguar and Compaq Computers during the promotion of his "Brand New Day" album. The Jaguar deal alone brought in more than 3 million extra sales of the album, and covered the costs of promoting the album (as the song "Desert Rose" was played in the commercial). Likewise, Sting and his production team got more than $7 million from Compaq, who sponsored the "Brand New Day Tour". Sting made out like a total bandit at the end of this.


  • Unlike many fighters in MMA, UFC light heavyweight Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson always makes it clear that he's purely in it for the money, much to the confusion/amusement of most interviewers.
  • Similar to Rampage, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson walked away from his highly-successful professional wrestling career at age 32 after having a small measure of success in The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King. His film career consists of such gems as The Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, the Get Smart movie, The Tooth Fairy, Race to Witch Mountain, Doom and Planet 51. He has stated in interviews that he liked wrestling more, but making films paid better, didn't require him to travel as much and didn't take as much of a toll on his body.
  • Current TNA wrestler Kevin Nash has stated in the past year in interviews on TNA iMPACT! that he's only in TNA for the money. Listening to what others have said about Nash in real life, it's quite possible part of his gimmick is based on real life.
    • Now that he's back in the WWE, Nash admitted that he signed with WCW for the same reason, guaranteed contract and a sweet clause in his contract that allowed him to be paid the same amount of money as the highest paid guy in the promotion.
  • Speaking of TNA, there's Gail Kim. Gail hasn't been shy about mentioning how much she prefers TNA to WWE. TNA made her a star; she all but created their Knockouts division, was their first Knockouts champion, and actually headlined a main event of Impact. However, after a pretty nasty contract dispute, she decided to go back to WWE where she was basically turned into scenery. When she realized they would give her three times the money for about a third of the work, she realized she could deal with it.
  • British boxer Nigel Benn, AKA "The Dark Destroyer", would talk openly about how he was only really in it for the money, and about how there was rarely anything personal against his opponent, how he was seriously worried about the possibility of brain damage, and how he was going to quit boxing as soon as he felt able. The UK boxing press thought this was all a jolly bad show, and gave Benn a rather negative reputation at the time.

Video Games

  • Suda 51 and his company, Grasshopper Studios, will occasionally make quick and cheap licensed games to get some extra money to fund the projects he's truly passionate about, as he knows most of his original work doesn't turn a profit.
  • Treasure agreed to develop McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure for Sega only so that Sega would help them fund the development of Gunstar Heroes. Although Treasure Land Adventure finished development first, Treasure managed to complete Gunstar Heroes quickly enough to release a week ahead of the other game so they could claim Gunstar as their true debut game.
  • Red Dead Redemption-In-Universe Example- Nigel West Dickens uses this phrase word for word when he explains why he and John are selling his tonics to the people of New Austin.
  • This is actually a dynamic in Game Dev Simulator. Hurting for cash to build your new engine so you can release another self-published game of whatever you want? Snag some quick contract work or a licensing deal to pump some money into the company.
  1. (the latter was, in fact, her final film)
  2. Although Kingsley did also jump at the chance to play a vampire