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Reel World

News in Hollywood for the week of Mach 13, 1998

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FUNNY MONEY Adam Sandler and Chris Tucker will soon be laughing all the way to bigger banks, as they cash in on the phenomenal salary hikes now rocking Hollywood. Until recently, it was MGM’s upcoming films Ronin and At First Sight that alarmed insiders: Unsure things Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer landed $12 million (plus $2 million to pay for De Niro’s Tribeca Productions’ overhead) and $9 million, respectively. But then Tucker — who got $2 million for 1997’s Money Talks — pocketed $7 million for Universal’s Double-O-Soul. And New Line has just agreed to pay Sandler $12.5 million for a film that has yet to be written, a sharp rise from the $5.5 million he earned for The Wedding Singer and the $8 million Sony coughed up for Guy Gets Kid. ”Comedies are…less expensive than other genres,” says Robert Simonds, who is producing the Sandler and Tucker projects. ”So by paying…huge salaries, you are still only spending a fraction of what you would on action sequences or sci-fi gadgetry.” Says one agent, ”Some of these guys do deserve it, like Leonardo.” (DiCaprio’s asking price took a whopping 700 percent jump, from his $2.5 million up-front pay on Titanic to $20 million.) Even Kevin Spacey, in negotiations to join $20 million man of steel Nicolas Cage for Warner Bros.’ Superman Lives, has asked for $10 million, a 122 percent pay hike. Says one studio exec, ”It’s just crazy. We all wish it would stop.” Keep wishing.

FURTHERMORE Ridley Scott is trying his best to keep Arnold Schwarzenegger interested in the on-again, off-again I Am Legend (which has faced budget and script concerns) by delivering his new draft of the script to Warner Bros. But a sci-fi project from Universal has caught the actor’s eye. Written by Air Force One‘s Andrew W. Marlowe, End of Days depicts the end of the world on the eve of the new millennium….

At press time, Peter Guber was in high-level talks to move his Mandalay Entertainment from Sony to Paramount. The production company behind I Know What You Did Last Summer, Seven Years in Tibet, and the upcoming Wild Things, Mandalay would become one of the studio’s biggest suppliers of movies.