Well, maybe he is, but maybe only as Capt. Jack Sparrow. I’m not sure that’s how much he’ll actually earn for starring in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie (this report from the UK’s Daily Mail should be taken with at least a tablespoon of salt), but if it’s true, that would be the highest upfront payment in movie history. (As Slashfilm notes, the highest-paid movie actor ever was Keanu Reeves, who earned a total of $194 million for the two Matrix sequels, though most of that money was his percentage of the profits, not a flat fee upfront.) I’m not sure any actor is worth $56 million. It seems almost criminal to spend that much money before even a single foot of film is shot. (Remember how big a deal it was just 12 years ago when Jim Carrey broke the $20 million barrier for The Cable Guy? How quaint that seems now.) But a Pirates sequel, while it would probably suck even worse than the last two, would be an almost guaranteed monster hit, as long as Depp is on board in his signature role, a role no one else could play. Such a film would likely make at least half a million dollars worldwide in theaters and probably a similar amount on DVD. By that reckoning, $56 million for Depp would be a bargain. So, then, I’ll see you all in line at the multiplex for Pirates 4: Jack Sparrow Bails Out Wall Street.
More on star salaries:
Forbes‘ 2008 list of Most Overpaid Stars
EW examines the box office worth of Hollywood’s biggest stars
Jim Carrey’s Cable Guy payday opens the floodgates for windfall movie salaries