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.
Spencer Lacey Ganus in “Frozen”
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.
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.
Carrie Fisher in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Both Fisher and Ford came back to reprise their characters for the first movie of the sequel trilogy, but while Ford asked for, and received, twenty-three million dollars, Fisher only got one million. While even Fisher's million overtook that of the younger actors and actresses, it still raised eyebrows.
Fisher hadn't been all that active in Hollywood compared to Ford, but she should have had the advantage when it came to negotiations – if Princess Leia hadn't appeared in the movie, fans all over the world would have cried foul. Maybe she just wasn't interested in the money.
Ryan Gosling in “Half Nelson”
While this actor might be one of the more famous in the world now, it was only thanks to an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book, “The Notebook,” that got him on his path to true stardom. So you'd think he earned big in his next film, “Half Nelson.”
He played an inner-city teacher with a substance problem who forms a special bond with one of his students. For that, he only earned a thousand bucks a week, even after the runaway hit that was “The Notebook.” Gosling was able to use the movie to continue moving up the Hollywood ladder, even if he didn't make much from it.