While Idina Menzel famously provided both the adult voice and the singing voice of Queen Elsa in “Frozen,” child actress Spencer Lacey Ganus provided the character’s voice as a teen.
She worked for one day and earned a hair under a thousand dollars. That’s not bad for a day of work, but it’s still paltry compared to how much the film earned and what the other voice actors received. She earned a little more thanks to residuals, totaling a little more than ten thousand dollars. “Frozen” made an estimated $1.5 billion, so you think even a small role would have brought in more.
Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”
This is the guy who gives Tom Hanks a menacing stare and declares, “I'm captain now.” He thrilled audiences, and his entire performance as the head of a group of Somali pirates was nothing short of captivating.
Thanks to Abdi's help, the film won Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and even a BAFTA award, but Abdi himself only earned sixty-five thousand. We say 'only' as if that isn't a full year's salary for most middle-class workers, but in the world of filming, for a lead, it's still pretty low. Of course, we did have to tell you who this man played – that never helps negotiation.
Adam Levine in “Begin Again”
Starring alongside established actors Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine knew he wouldn't have paychecks that matched either. The musical comedy “Being Again” was his acting debut, and despite the fact that he's famous in the pop music biz, no one knew how his acting was going to turn out. So...he did the movie for nothing.
He told “USA Today” that because of his success in music, he wanted to treat acting differently. He wanted to have fun doing it and take roles that appealed to him, not just because he was getting paid. He's already quite rich and famous, so being paid nothing didn't even bother him.
Bruce Campbell in “The Evil Dead”
“The Evil Dead” was a low-budget, indie horror flick that Bruce Campbell produced and starred in, and as such, there was little money to go around. He, along with the rest of the principal cast, earned just a hundred dollars a week for their work.
Bruce's stellar acting skills, his unforgettable chin, and the fun of the movie helped make it a hit, despite the $375,000 budget. While the film hadn't yet incorporated the black comedy that would become its trademark, it still led to a huge franchise that is still active today, including multiple additional movies, a TV show, comic books, and video games.
Joshua Leonard in “The Blair Witch Project”
There are lots of reasons why this indie film is famous. The original storyline had people so freaked out they thought it was real, and it earned a gobsmacking $250 million dollars against a budget of anywhere from two hundred thousand to seven hundred fifty thousand – sources are inconclusive.
While the movie blew people's minds, and it eventually became one of the most profitable independent movies of all time. For such humble beginnings, it became a media franchise, but the three main actors, including Joshua Leonard, earned only fifteen hundred dollars each.