Over 20 years on, Jack Nicholson's money-spinning contract for Tim Burton's Batman remains one of the biggest payouts any actor has received for a single movie. It was one of the first instances where a big-name star was paid a percentage of the gross, a trend that would become prevalent throughout the 1990s and beyond. As well as landing a $6 million salary, top billing in marketing materials and a percentage of the gross, Nicholson's contract also entitled him to a slice of the merchandising royalties (which netted him a fortune thanks to the 'Batmania' the movie inspired), as well as a set number of hours off-set per day, and the freedom to go to every home game of his beloved LA Lakers. As we all know, the movie was a resounding success, taking over $400 million at the worldwide box office. Nicholson is estimated to have earned at least $60 million from the movie, and will still be receiving royalties to this day. Adjusted for inflation, it far exceeds $100 million in today's currency. Despite the obscene amount of cash involved, at least Nicholson didn't phone in his performance as the Joker, which became the definitive interpretation of the character until Heath Ledger came along. Spare a thought for Michael Keaton; the man playing the title character who suffered unprecedented fan backlash when his casting was announced and earned $5 million, roughly one-twelfth of Nicholson's payday.
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